Showing posts with label Hope. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hope. Show all posts

Monday, January 21, 2013

Forgiving Grace

"You are my hiding place; you shall preserve me from trouble; you shall surround me with songs of deliverance."  ~Psalm 32:7

God is our hiding place!  How sad that so many feel they must hide from God...even many Christians believe this to be true.

An unbeliever has much to fear if they are defying God and His word.  They will face devastating consequences.

"If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned."  ~John 15:6

However, the believer need not fear God but take refuge in Him instead!

"For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion;  in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me;  He shall set me high upon a rock."  ~Psalm 27: 5    
God is a loving and merciful God to those who don't blatantly disregard Him.  He wants to "preserve us from trouble" and He uses the Holy Spirit to speak warnings and guidance to our hearts.

For those with addictions or struggles that need to be overcome, He wants to surround them with "songs of deliverance."

"Blessed is he who's transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit."  ~Psalm 32:1-2
We don't have to live in fear of God's judgments if we have trusted Jesus for salvation and forgiveness of our sins.  Unfortunately, many of us, when faced with the shame of our sin, distance ourselves from God because we're afraid our transgressions have changed God's feelings toward us.

Believing Christian, next time you feel that guilt that tries to push you away from God, I encourage you to come close to Him instead.  Rather than the wrath you're afraid of, you'll find Him singing over you a cleansing song of deliverance!  

Hope In Every Season is on Facebook!  If you like what you've read here, please follow me and keep up with the latest posts.

 This post was featured in Issue 98 of The Christian Home Magazine.

Linking with:
Teach Me Tuesday @ Growing Home 
Titus 2sday @ Time Warp Wife 
Tuesday Linkup Party @ Courtship Connection 
Women Helping Women @ Teaching What Is Good 
Wisdom Wednesday @ Simply Helping Him 
Wholehearted Home Wednesday 
Encourage One Another @ Deep Roots at Home 
Wise Woman Linkup @ A Wise Woman Builds Her Home 
Desire to Inspire @ A Royal Daughter 
Legacy Leaver Thursdays 
Essential Friday @ Essential Thing Devotions 
Inspire Me Monday @ Create With Joy 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Pinocchio Complex

Pinocchio Complex:  Question made to confuse, or befuddle someone.

If Pinocchio says, "My nose will grow now." What happens? A great Cretan once said; "All Cretans are liars." Is he lying or telling the truth?"

Ok, so this article actually has nothing to do with the Pinocchio Complex---but it is about Pinocchio.  I just thought the idea of the Pinocchio paradox was pretty awesome.  You can come back and think about it some more when you're done reading...

"Oh come, let us worship and bow down;  let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.  For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand."  ~Psalm 95:6-7

I've slowly been reading the story of Pinocchio to the kids over the past couple of months.  We're only half way through and it's a wonderful story---but hard to read sometimes as well.  Not only is the language translated in sort of an old-fashiony way, (it was written in 1883 in Italian and translated to English in 1892) but the character of Pinocchio is much less likeable than the cute little puppet boy we know from the Disney cartoon.
Pinocchio finds himself rebelling against his father at every turn.  The real clincher (so far) comes when Gepetto sells his own coat to buy his son a spelling book so he can go to school.  Pinocchio turns around and sells the book so he can attend a puppet show.  After reading this part and sneaking a peek at the astonished looks on my kids' faces, I took the time, of course, to point out the sacrifices that good parents make for their children.  Even horribly selfish children who break their poor parents' hearts!

Every now and then, Pinocchio's "conscience" will pop up and try to steer him the right direction, but he's pretty good at beating it back down again.  I have a feeling that conscience is going to win, though.  We just got past the part where the ghost of the conscience tries to reason with him.  That "spirit" just won't be defeated!  (Maybe it's a Holy Spirit, hmmm???)
Oh, but aren't we all just like that self-centered Pinocchio?  Instead of being grateful to our Maker and obeying Him because of His great love for us, we often toss out His precious blessings in favor of our own pursuits.

Thank God for the Holy Spirit who relentlessly attempts to guide us back home to our Father!

"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak;  and He will tell you things to come."  ~John 16:13  

Hope In Every Season is on Facebook!  If you like what you've read here, please follow me and keep up with the latest posts.

 This article was featured in the 97th edition of The Christian Home Magazine.

Also linking with:
Teach Me Tuesday @ Growing Home  
Titus 2's Days @ Time Warp Wife 
Tuesday Linkup @ Courtship Connection 
Women Helping Women @ Teaching What is Good 
Wisdom Wednesdays @ Simply Helping Him  
Wholehearted Home Wednesday
Encouraging One Another @ Deep Roots at Home 
Homemaking Linkup @ Raising Homemakers 
Wise Woman linkup 
Legacy Leaver Thursday @ Leaving a Legacy 
Essential Friday Link-Up @ Essential Things Devotions 
Desire to Inspire @ A Royal Daughter 
Inspire Me Monday @ Create With Joy 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

If You Have a Craving, I Have a Cure by Sheri Rose Shepherd --- Book Review

Sometimes I read passages in the Bible that sound so great---but I have a difficult time really putting them into practice.  Ecclesiastes 5:18 is one of those verses:  "It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life."  As one who has always struggled with her weight, the thought of eating and drinking---while still accepting my lot in life---doesn't sound as promising as it might to someone else who has a little more self control.  It seems my lot in life, thus far, has been to eat, drink, and gain weight.

Author Sheri Rose Shepherd has been there too.  As a teenager, Sheri Rose was overweight, depressed and struggling with an eating disorder.  Over time, she's allowed God's healing to change her life and put her on a healthy path.

I've been a big fan of Sheri Rose Shepherd for about 8 years now and own several of her resources.  I even had the opportunity to hear her speak at a women's conference several years ago and was very blessed.  That's why I was super excited when I was given the opportunity to review her newest book, If You Have a Craving, I Have a Cure

As soon as received my free copy of the book, I flipped through it just to have a look at some of the topics.  What I saw were tons of recipes! Yay!  I love my copy of Sheri Rose's cook book, Eating for Excellence, so I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy this one as well! 

Sheri Rose offers several "craving" scenarios:  things like cravings for rest, energy, and times of celebration---and gives her readers Biblical principles, coupled with delicious healthy recipes, to help satisfy those cravings.  

One Scripture that she shares in her chapter on rest really stood out to me and is inviting me to study and pray about it further.  Isaiah 28:12, "God has told his people, 'Here is a place of rest; let the weary rest here.  This is a place of quiet rest.'  But they would not listen."  Wow!  I really crave that place of rest!

If You Have a Craving, I Have a Cure is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to find the source of their soul's unrest and the reason for feelings of emptiness or lack in many areas of their life.  I know Sheri's godly wisdom is going to help me, not only as I battle my cravings for unhealthy foods, but in several areas of my life where I need to trust God.  I encourage my readers to visit Sheri Rose online at, www.biblelifecoaching.com, and try to pick up some of her resources---you will be blessed for sure!

Thank you to Tyndale House Publishers for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. 

Hope In Every Season is on Facebook!  If you like what you've read here, please follow me and keep up with the latest posts.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Burden of the Blessed Life

Survivor's guilt

Have you ever felt guilty for being blessed in a way that many others aren't?  Perhaps you've experienced a life-threatening situation and came out unscathed, while others suffered less desirable fates.  Maybe you've been healed of a sickness that many are still suffering from.

Many times in life, we find ourselves sitting in the good seats watching, often without any ability to help, while our friends and loved ones walk through very tough times.

This is where I'm finding myself lately.

I've got parents divorcing.  I've got extended family divorcing.  I've got good friends divorcing. Even more heartbreaking, a dear friend just lost a much prayed for baby to miscarriage.

My soul hurts for these people that I love---that I have relationship with---that are going through such a very difficult time.

What can I do to help?  I can't save a marriage...or a baby.  I want to pray.  But have I been?  Not as much as I should be.

To be honest, I'm experiencing wallowing in survivor's guilt.

Of course, everyone's got problems;  but when I look at the petty things I'm walking through right now, in light of what's happening to those around me, I see there's just no comparison.

Out of my 10 pregnancies, I've only lost one to miscarriage.  Losing that baby five years ago was the most difficult thing I've ever gone through---but I've been healed--and I think 1 for 10 is pretty good odds.  The baby I'm currently carrying is, as far as we know, healthy and strong.  So why, instead of thanking God for blessing our children with health, do I feel such guilt that they're healthy?

As for my marriage, Jamie and I just celebrated 14 years!  We've known each other since we were 13 and have been very best friends since we were 16.  We have walked through all kinds of heart breaking situations together.  At times, it's been a really rough road---but we're together.  Neither one of us is going anywhere---nor can we fathom anything that would be big enough to separate us.  Why then, instead of glorying in that, instead of thanking God every day for holding us together, do I harbor such fear that this beautiful bubble that I live in is going to pop any day now?

I feel helpless to offer prayers, advice, encouragement---especially in the situations where my loved ones are, (in some cases) so easily willing to end their marriages.  Marriages that, in each instance, began in a church, asking for God's sustained blessing.  I feel guilty talking about my blissful marriage when these others are having such a hard time.  I feel guilty sharing happy milestones of my pregnancy when one of my dearest friends is mourning the loss of her own.

Can a person who is living the blessed life really imagine themselves in the shoes of their hurting loved ones?  I say yes.  Absolutely.

The reason it's called survivor's guilt is because those who feel it are the ones who've survived.  We've spent time in the same den of lions but somehow, by the grace of God, we've come out in tact.  However, unlike the Biblical Daniel, who came out of the lion's den untouched, we survivors have not come out without scars. 

SO many people tell me that I have the perfect life.  Many see me as having a perfect marriage. Perfect children.  They say I am doing everything right to ensure a "til death do us part" marriage and children who grow into godly, law-abiding adults.  As flattering as that is, it's not true.  Nothing, outside of God and his plan, is perfect.  As much as I desire those wonderful outcomes, I'm human---as is the rest of my family---and we all make mistakes that tarnish our lives and leave scars.

The reason that people probably see me this way is that I don't share my personal problems publicly.  When I have issues with my husband or kids, I go to them.  Not to Facebook.  Very rarely do I share a personal issue with my own mother---other than that, there's no one that hears our private junk.  I am, however, very quick to praise my husband or brag on my kids.  I want others to see them in the best light possible.  Would I want my husband or kids broadcasting my flaws outside these four walls?

The problem with all of this, and the burden of the blessed life, is that others think I can't relate.  They think I have this "perfect life" because I have steered away from every possible sinful thing out there.  They think that devastating circumstances have passed me by.

The truth of that matter is very far from this thinking.  I am very much able to offer support, advice, sympathy.  I can very much relate because I have survived.  More than that, I've been healed of the hurt that many of my loved ones are experiencing right now.

I remember the devastation, self-blame, anger, and fear that come with the loss of a child.

I know the feelings of confusion, hard-heartedness, and inadequacy that follow a betrayal.

I have thought the grass was greener in someone else's pasture and have even tested the theory to find it sorely lacking in substance.  More than once.

I recognize the scary cycles of an addiction that seems impossible to overcome.  I'm still cycling.

I've experienced a depression so deep that leaving my family or even ending my life seemed like very logical answers.  Several years of it, in fact.

Many people think that those who are living the "good life" are unable to be of any assistance to them when they're going through tough times.  They think that we live in some la-la land and can't relate.  They're sick of hearing, "well, just trust God and it'll all work out fine."  (In reality, we should all definitely trust God---but that doesn't mean it's all going to work out fine.  Sometimes it all falls apart and it really sucks...but he's still worthy of our trust.)

While there are many who will read this and either relate to where I'm coming from or will roll their eyes and say, "she has NO idea", what I really want is for those who know me to read it and understand something.  I can relate.  I want to help you. 

When you're going through hard stuff, don't be so quick to make assumptions about the people around you who want to help.  There's a reason they've survived and their survival skills might be just what you need.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Invitation

This morning, I was looking up some past posts to help a new friend and found this one that I wrote in 2008. This was written about nine months after we lost our sixth baby in November 2007. It blessed me so much to read this and know that I have been healed of the heartache and anger that came after that horrible experience---the very worst day of my life. I thought I'd make a couple of tweaks and republish it. I know it will be a blessing to many. If you'd like, you can also read Hope, a beautiful picture that God gave me to give me peace about the life our baby is now living. Even though you may not have gone through the exact same situation as me, I know that God can use the words I wrote below to heal the hurts from any type of loss. Be blessed today!

Today I received an invitation from the Lord.

Lately, I've really been struggling with the loss of our baby 7 months ago. I've been desperately running after many different distractions as I've been trying to find a way to bury this pain and disappointment. Today, as I visited with God's angel in the form of a special friend, I came to realize that I've been running from the very thing that would heal me. The grace of Jesus.

I have so many questions for God. I want him to explain this to me. I want to know why he would give us a baby if he knew he was going to take it away. For years I've believed that he was the giver of good things. So, if he is the author of life, it would seem that this miscarriage was completely under God's control. It would seem that he knew about it before it ever happened. You'd think maybe he'd know how much it would hurt me and how much I'd grieve and how it would turn my entire world upside down.

For years I've believed that God loved me. That he wanted the very best for me. That he only wanted good for me. And now this...

But, the truth I've realized tonight is that losing that baby was not the defining moment in my relationship with God. It was not a punishment from him...he did not intentionally allow my baby to die so he could speak something to me. However, he is intentionally using this heartbreaking situation to speak to me.

There's a song that goes, "sometimes he calms the storm and other times he calms his child". Just because God allowed my baby to die doesn't mean he willed it to die. He is taking a devastating circumstance and using it for the good in my life. Or, at least, he's trying to.

So, here comes my choice. I have the opportunity here to be vulnerable, to give myself wholy to the Holy One. I can surrender this hurt and confusion and disappointment and desperateness and allow God to make something strong and beautiful and workable with it. Is it worth the risk?

What would happen if I said no? What if I decided it wasn't worth the risk...that I wanted to make sure I was never hurt again? I could take control over this situation, couldn't I? If I just harden my heart and stuff the pain back down, won't it eventually go away? That's what I've been thinking for 7 months now...it's still not working.

After I got off the phone with my sweet sister today, I drove in to town to pick up my husband. On the way I turned on the CD he already had out. It was Steven Curtis Chapman's Speechless. How ironic, I thought. Chapman's family recently lost their young child in a horrible accident. I began to wonder how his faith had been shaken over this terrible death. I thought that surely he must have all kinds of questions for the God that he'd devoted his life, family and career to. Then, his song, Great Expectations came on and I knew the answer.

He's grieving, just like me. He's broken and confused and disappointed and feeling like his entire world has been turned upside down. Just like me. He has all kinds of questions for this holy God who holds us in his hands. I bet he wonders now and then if God might be punishing him for something...

But he and I have something else in common. We both serve and love and are devoted to a God who turns ashes into beauty. A God who gives strength to the weary and grace to the humble (read: vulnerable). And deep down, we both know that God allowed this but he did not will it.

Me and Chapman, we've received an invitation. We've been invited to believe the unbelievable...to receive the inconceivable...to see beyond our wildest imaginations.

So, to Chapman, and all the rest of you out there who are grieving and confused and heartbroken: let's lift our eyes up...let's turn our faces to the Lord. Let's allow his grace and love and mercy and peace to wash over us. He will restore our soul and heal our brokeness.

Come Lord Jesus, we invite you....I invite you, once again, to be the lover of my soul.

Great Expectations by Steven Curtis Chapman

The morning finds me here at heaven's door
A place I've been so many times before
Familiar thoughts and phrases start to flow
And carry me to places that I know so well
But dare I go where I don't understand
And do I dare remember where I am
I stand before the great eternal throne
The one that God Himself is seated on
And I, I've been invited as a son
Oh I, I've been invited to come and ...
Believe the unbelievable
Receive the inconceivable
And see beyond my wildest imagination
Lord, I come with great expectations
So wake the hope that slumbers in my soul
Stir the fire inside and make it glow
I'm trusting in a love that has no end
The Savior of this world has called me friend
And I, I've been invited with the Son
Oh I, I've been invited to come and ...
We've been invited with the Son
And we've been invited to come and ...
Believe the unbelievable
Receive the inconceivable
And see beyond our wildest imagination
Lord, we come with great expectations

This post was featured in The Christian Home magazine, Issue #57.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Awake O Sleeper

Proverbs 19:15:  "Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger."

I've been slowly reading through the Proverbs since August (yep, THAT slow!).  I want to really take in and process what each one is saying.  I want to get these truths into my heart, so I've been reading and journaling about almost every one of them.

Sometimes I really have to think on one of them to get the full effect.  This was one of those that caused me to stop and ponder the depths of the message.

How has laziness cast me into a deep sleep?  I know this doesn't happen in the literal sense, not for me anyway.  With 8 children aged 12 to infant, I don't get much sleep at all---and I don't think I've slept deeply since I was about 19 years old!

However, laziness has caused me to be "asleep" to some things that are going on around me.  It has caused me to be in denial about certain parts of my life that need attention.  Laziness keeps me from seeing things that need to be done and changes that need to be made.  These can be things as simple as household chores, or as important as correcting my children's behavior.  It is sometimes so much easier to just let the laundry pile up (either dirty in the basket or clean on the dresser) or let the kid's bad attitude go unchecked than it is to put the effort into fixing the problem.  I am ignoring the problem and I'm ignoring the future consequences that I know this laziness will bring.  What kind of example is this to my children and other people in my life over whom I have influence?  What kind of legacy am I leaving?

Pretty soon, my laziness turns into apathy.  I just don't care anymore.  I settle in my ways and am asleep to, and ignorant of, how much better life would be if I'd be proactive.

How will I suffer hunger from being idle?  To figure this one out, I need to think about what sorts of things I'm hungry for.  Here are a few big ones on my list:

*A more regular Bible study time
*A happy and peaceful attitude
*A healthy and fit body
*An organized home
*A more consistent homeschooling schedule

Every one of these things is not being accomplished in my life the way it could be because of idleness.  I become slothful and the apathy creeps in.  Often times, it's easier to stay in the place that I am than it is to step out and change.
However, God doesn’t want me in this place of idleness and apathy!   Instinctively, I know this---but this can be such a hard habit to break free from.   When I imagine what God says to me in this place, I remember Ephesians 5:14: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” 

Just a few verses before that, I’m encouraged to walk as a child of the light and to find out what is acceptable to the Lord (v. 8-10).  How else can I do this but to dig deep into His word and to spend time in prayer, calling on Him for help?

Looking back to my list of things I’m hungry for:  we’ve all been taught that God wants us to spend time in His word.  We know that he desires for us to have joy and peace in our life.  But, did you know that it matters to God whether or not my home is organized and my homeschool runs smoothly and my body is healthy and fit?  He knows the calm and contentedness that these things will bring to my life.  God really does care about these things that we often think he’s too busy to deal with!

Ephesians gives us some practical steps to start and continue walking as children of the light.  Verse 16 encourages us to “be wise and redeem the time.”  I love what Matthew Henry says in his Commentary about this phrase.  I know this is a little long but stick with me---it’s good stuff:

redeeming the time (v. 16), literally, buying the opportunity. It is a metaphor taken from merchants and traders who diligently observe and improve the seasons for merchandise and trade. It is a great part of Christian wisdom to redeem the time. Good Christians must be good husbands of their time, and take care to improve it to the best of purposes, by watching against temptations, by doing good while it is in the power of their hands, and by filling it up with proper employment—one special preservative from sin. They should make the best use they can of the present seasons of grace. Our time is a talent given us by God for some good end, and it is misspent and lost when it is not employed according to his design. If we have lost our time heretofore, we must endeavour to redeem it by doubling our diligence in doing our duty for the future.”

How encouraging is that!  Our time is a talent given us by God.  What a great measuring stick by which to check ourselves and evaluate our days.  In another part of this section of commentary, Henry talks about the Christians who would “stir up themselves to their duty.”  I don’t know about you, but this encouragement makes me want to get up and buzz around this house, cleaning and singing and hugging my children! It motivates me and makes me want to kick laziness and apathy out the door!

It’s true that “the days are evil” as verse 5:16 goes on to say---they’re also short and time gets away from us faster than we’d like.  As Henry encourages, let’s all “endeavour to redeem it by doubling our diligence in doing our duty for the future.”  Think of the amazing legacies we could leave!

This post was featured in Issue #55 of The Christian Home magazine.

Linking with:  
L.A.C.E.  Wednesdays
A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Don't Misplace God's Glory

You know on Charlotte's Web, at the end, when everyone is singing the praises of Wilbur the pig: "He's Some Terrific, Radiant, Humble, Thing-a-Majig Of a Pig"... Well, I was contemplating that song recently, and realized something. It's not the pig who is terrific, radiant, humble, for crying out loud---it's the spider!!! The pig did absolutely nothing to make himself praiseworthy---it was Charlotte, his spider friend, who used all her gifts and abilities to make him shine. Did anyone ever think to give glory to the spider? Nope, she just gave birth to her most magnificent masterpiece...and then died. Talk about humility...

So, it got me (eventually) thinking about Hebrews 11. In this chapter, we find the Hall of Faith...all the great men and women of renown and all their worthy accomplishments in the name of faith. Not to discount these honorable brothers and sisters in the faith---but don't we see some liars here? Some murderers? Adulterers? I mean, when we look really closely, the things that make these people worth remembering are all the things that the Lord did in their lives by His power and covenant with them. It is nothing that they did on their own. They would be unmentionable nobodies---runts doomed to death---if it weren't for the Lord.

Now, I don't want to make a big deal out of what is meant to be an innocent and lighthearted story, I'm just using Wilbur's tale as an example.  We are warned about this practice of giving glory where glory isn't due in Romans 1:25 where Paul mentions the people "who exchanged the truth for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever."  

Sometimes God's glory can be misplaced and misunderstood.  The Lord does wonderful things through us and, often times, those around us see these wonderful things and begin to think highly of us.  It's fine for us to talk up our spouses or brag on our kids---as long as we ultimately give the glory back to God.  It can be something as simple as replacing, "My husband is so awesome.  He found this great job and is the best employee on his team," with something like this: "God is so awesome!  He blessed my husband with this great job and has helped him become a valuable member of his team."

Our family struggles with receiving misplaced glory a lot.  Our kids are well-behaved and converse well and politely with people of any age. My husband and I love each other and are one another's best friend---and it shows.  Our home is clean and welcoming.  Sometimes we feel like Wilbur, as those who see us from the outside tell us how great we are.  We have a responsibility to give that glory back to God, as we would have nothing and be nothing if it weren't for God's blessings in our lives.  Blessings we've done nothing to earn---but blessings, nonetheless.

I'm sure that many honorees in God's "Hall of Faith" would not have ever imagined that they would be known in history as faithful, loyal, Godly men and women.  Paul also tells us in Romans 3:23 that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  Even though we all mess up and find ourselves in less-than-honorable situations, isn't it wonderful that we have the opportunity to ask Jesus to cover us, restore us and set us up in His Hall of Faith as well!

From now on, when I think of these "great men and women of faith", I'll remember that they are only known as "great" because of the One who lives in them---the only true Great One, Jesus!

This post was published in Issue #45 of The Christian Home magazine. 

(1/18) Linking With:  

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Thoughts on September 11th --- Ten Years Later

I just got home from our church service where we discussed and remembered the horrible events that took place in the US on this date 10 years ago.  I've been mulling over this post all week long---should I be as open and honest as I'd like to be?  Do my thoughts really even matter all that much?  Am I so far removed from it all that I have no respectable perspective?  This afternoon, I think I want to just take a few minutes and get my thoughts out about this day...it's been a long time coming.

I'll be honest with you, I'm the type of person who approaches things with an attitude of "deal with it and move on".  I know that sounds heartless---more than heartless---in the context of the horrific events of 9/11/2001...but stay with me for a minute.  As the last 10 years have gone by, I've found myself more and more irritated with the memorials, the remembrance events, the moments of silence, the replays, the photographs, etc. etc. etc....basically, the reminders---every. single. year...on this date.  I've been guilty of thinking, "It's over.  It was sad.  Let's move on now."  Of course, those thoughts made me feel guilty, ashamed, heartless...but they were real.

This year has been different.  I've been reading the many stories, flipping through the countless pictures, and attempting to watch videos that became very emotionally overwhelming at times, trying to give myself some perspective and see if it may have just been my own selfish immaturity that caused me to be so indifferent to past reminders of the terrorist attacks that day.

I think the bottom line is that for me, life has gone on.  It's not that I've forgotten that day 10 years ago...it's that, in the meantime, life has happened.  I've had 7 more children since then.  I've gone through the death of a baby, countless moves and several job changes, health issues---basically, I've lived and I've let life go on.

Today, I want to take a few minutes and remember.  I want to write about that day and allow myself to work through the things that I was too young to work through 10 years ago; because the truth is, that day rocked my world to some degree.  It changed my perspective, squashed my innocence and exposed my ignorance---I just didn't really realize that until now.

Though I've not really thought about it before now, I do remember where I was when I first heard the news.  Jamie and I were living in our hometown of Baker City, Oregon and our oldest daughter, Lynzie, was about 20 months old.  I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with our second child, Michael.  I was awake but not yet out of bed when the phone rang at about 6:30 am.  My mom had been watching the news early that morning and called me frantic.  She told me to turn on the news, that "it was horrible", but she couldn't really get the right words out to tell me what was happening.  By that time, here in Oregon, both planes had hit the World Trade Center buildings and our news was showing the videos over and over again.  The news people were still pretty shaken up and no one really knew what to say.  I remember my mom saying something about this being history and that our world would never be the same.

Thinking back on my initial reaction, it's hard to believe I could be so naive.  All I could think as I watched the news videos play over and over was, "how could someone do this to America?"  It wasn't the, "how could they be so cruel..." point of view; it was the "how could they be allowed to do this?"  In my 21-year-old mind, it seemed literally impossible for someone to attack America...it was as if I believed it was not allowed by some high world law.  I was so secure in my status as an American...in knowing I was "free".  Didn't "free" mean "safe"?

The attacks happened on a Tuesday.  That following Friday night, we headed to the Columbia River to camp with my dad and his wife for the weekend.  While the guys were out on the boat fishing, Theresa and I spent hours contemplating all the changes we anticipated happening now that Armageddon was upon us.  The gas prices had already begun to rise---although I'm not sure why they did or why they're still where they are.  I can remember being overwhelmed with fear that the draft would be reinstated as we prepared for World War III.  My husband, only 22 at the time, was easily draftable.  

Over the next year or so, I remember being so scared when a plane would fly overhead.  I'd either be afraid it was a terrorist or sure it was headed to fend one off.  I can remember when I was a little kid and my mom would always say, "look at the plane, kids!"  My brother and I would get so excited and we'd watch the plane until it went out of sight---imagining where it was going and what happy people were looking down on us.  It just occurred to me that I've never pointed out a plane to my kids.  Nowadays, planes = bombs in some subconscious part of me and they're not fun anymore.

Over time, that fear has worn off.  I've experienced so much more of life in the last 10 years.  I've grown into a "real mom" with pressing issues right here within these four walls.  New York and the other affected areas in the East seem so far away---I've lived my entire life within hours of the West coast.  I still don't know anyone who lost a loved one or otherwise experienced the attacks personally.  I don't drive or walk by the three areas of devastation.  For me, it's over and done with and I've moved on.

But today, as I spend this quiet time contemplating this date and what it means for so many people, I am overwhelmed by how much I am truly affected.  I'm weeping for the 3,000 children who lost at least one parent that day.  I'm hurting for the daughter of the firefighter mother I read about who died after saving countless lives that day.  I'm thinking, if it weren't for 9/11, where would these people be now?  Would I know any of them?  Would I have met them online through BookCrossing?  Would they participate in the Pink Saturday blog hop with me?  How many marriages would have taken place or children would have been born?  How would the entire course of history have changed had these almost 3,000 people lived past September 11, 2001?

In addition to that, what would our world be like?  What would the thousands of soldiers have done with their 10 years?  What direction would our nation have taken had we not had all this to deal with?

Other than my oldest daughter, none of my other children have ever lived in a USA without war.  Despite the fact that I've been relatively indifferent with my feelings about our country, I think I have some of the most patriotic kids around.  I have to attribute some of that to their experiences as kids of the 21st century---the millenium that went to war in infancy and finds itself still there a decade later.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I sense myself turning over a new leaf in my feelings toward America.  All this talk of remembering the date and never forgetting those we lost and those who bravely sacrificed for others has me thinking:  of course we're going to remember.  Remembering is not the problem---I think the issue is that we don't grow complacent in our remembering.  We need to actively remember the horror of 9/11 so we can make conscious decisions to live bravely and to esteem others higher than ourselves.  

I want to truly be able to say that I don't live in America, America lives in me.  Tonight I'm committed:  the next time a plane flies overhead, I'll look up and, with all the excitement I can muster, I'll say, "look at the plane kids," and we'll all wave at the happy people flying above the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Linking with:
A Return to Loveliness @ A Delightsome Life
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Courtship Connection
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(Titus 2)s Days @ Time Warp Wife
Tending the Home Tuesday
Tuesday Link Up Party 
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Winsome Wednesday @ My Daily Walk in His Grace
Whole-Hearted Home Wednesdays 
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A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Homemaking Link Up @ Raising Homemakers
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