Friday, December 5, 2014

Pollyanna I am not. Confessions of the heart and the saga of the drywall

In this blog I have tried to put on a positive front, but some of you that see me daily, know that this has not always been the case with this build. I want to be upfront with that, and yes, I do try to have a positive, sunny outlook on things. The truth is I don't always, and sometimes my eyes get on me and my situation and I grumble, A LOT.  I also get anxious, nervous and impatient. Some of this comes from being completely out of control, and this has been ongoing through out my adult life. When our children were small, we had very little money. We had one income to live off of. My husband Dan was an outdoors man and I learned to do what I could with deer, which was completely new to me.  I was thankful that my parents had brought me up they way they had, I had to be creative with hand me down clothing or what my mom could sew for my sister and I, and I was NEVER allowed to turn my nose up to what was placed on the table. Picky eating were not words that were allowed at my fathers table, but it helped that mom was a great cook. As an adult, I learned to make cheap meals, shop garage sales and consignment stores. If someone gave us a bag of clothing, I learned to use what I could, and again, be creative with it. For a good long time, I don't know that I had an article of clothing that was not found at a garage sale, consignment, given to me or on the clearance rack. (This excludes undergarments) There were times we did not have money for food, money to pay bills, or anything extra. We were that dirty word that no one likes to admit to, poor. Our house had lots of issues, including expensive structural work that needed to be done. As a result I became a bit of a pack rat. I had a hard time parting with items that I might sometime need, and I still struggle to get rid of items.  I also became very anxious about money, to the point that it was and actually still can be a struggle for me to really look at finances. I am saying that today, because things, situations in life can take me back to those uneasy anxious feelings. Gods word says in Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 

As an adult when I was troubled my mom would tell me to turn on good Christian music. There is just something about listening to good music that helps settle me. As a child, our home was filled with music. I grew an appreciation for many different music styles. From Blue Grass and old time country that my Grandpa would play, to the Blackwood Brothers Christian Quartet that would play always on Sunday morning as we got ready for church, (as well as lots of other times) to Chuck Mangione and other forms of jazz that my oldest brother Rick would listen to my other brother Curt listening to heavy metal, the Beach Boys album of my cousin's Jeff and Rhonda that I nearly wore out, and then was a small amount of time that I lived in the south and a greater appreciation for country music and orchestra music was born.
But as an adult, my greatest joy in music is listening to contemporary Christian and Praise. For me it is relevant to my life and situations, and Christ truly speaks to my heart and my anxiety through song. Most of the time you will find me listening to Life 107.1, and I am touched by the stories this radio station gives of changed lives, not by the music, but the hope that this music can point you to if you allow Christ to work in your heart.
      If you are reading this and you are learning about my struggle with anxiety, that's because I don't talk about it much, if I do, it is with a select group of people and I rarely delve into it's source. Quite frankly, it is a struggle of faith on my end or lack there of, and it continues to be a work in progress. For some reason, God has laid on my heart that I need to confess this struggle publicly, and how I have learned to deal with it. First, I must say that I have come to believe we are on a journey through life. If you believe yourself to be a Christian, and you live to have Christ first, it is a journey that Christ puts you on, to mold you for his use, and not your own. For this reason, I believe God has led me down many paths I would not have wanted to walk simply because he was going to use my situation and circumstance to meet the needs of others. I have attempted to never turn away anyone that God brought to me, and God has brought some of the most amazing people to me and through this, I have been greatly blessed as the people he has brought to me have left the greatest impact on my life, just by showing his absolute love and power. Most of those people are you, reading this, I have been told I have a greatly caring heart. This is why, because I have let others impact my life, because in my lowest moments God brought us together and we walked the path together. And most of you are very special to me. God has also taken people out of my life. I have struggled with this until just very recently. As I write the next few lines, please know that anything I am about to write, and you are to read is my opinion and experience, and do not expect accolades. This is Christ in me, and if you ever see any good in me, please know that it is Christ in me, and not my carnal heart you see.

Poverty- And how it changed me- I spoke earlier about the anxiety it created, but there was some great growth I made that would have come no other way. You never find out exactly how creative you can be until you have nothing. I grew a greater discovery of sewing, cooking, gardening, canning, painting, creating, and decorating from nothing. I learned how to look at throw away items and find use of them. God changed my heart by allowing me to go through poverty, and with the people that I have been able to connect with later. Rather than look at someone in judgement who might be down in out, I have great compassion, and usually find myself  humbled.
   When I reentered the work world after my youngest was in school, I followed God's guidance that led me to education and early childhood. (Pre-K) I grew in independence as I learned that I could do anything if I determined to. I also learned that if God put me some place, he would give me the ability to perform. And he did. A few years after my first endeavor in preschool I took a job with Head Start. Head Start is a preschool program for income eligible and low income families. I was able to show great respect to many of these struggling families, mostly young, single women. I learned that all any one really wants is to be treated with dignity and respect. You don't have to agree with someone's life choices, situation or circumstance to treat others with respect, you just see them worthy of respect. I currently am friend with several of my former preschool students on Facebook, and I enjoy seeing them grow and spread their wings.

Anxiety and yes at time depression- I heard a report that indicated 8% of Americans 12 years and older were moderately to severely depressed, and that depression is more prevalent in women. These numbers do not surprise me, and I am humbled at the amount of people I have ran into that suffered from both depression and anxiety. For me, again it is usually my spiritual walk, and I need to draw close to the Lord in prayer, devotions and music. But in my times that I suffered, and times that I starting sharing myself with others, I found that most of the time I could take a look around and find about 5 people who had life much, much worse. As I started to look around, instead of my own circumstance, not only did I see those who had things worse, but I started to notice how much God had blessed me, and how much he had taken care of not only me, but my entire family. As I started looking for God's blessings, and acknowledging God's grace, he blessed me more. I still would have struggles, and would still have moments of discouragement, but I learned how to lean of Christ more and more. God has been extremely good to me, but he has allowed me to walk through some very dark moments.

Selfishness- As much as my life has been impacted by God's grace, it has also been deeply impacted by selfishness of others, and to watch the impact of my life, my families lives and the impact selfishness has played in the lives of loved ones. The pain of selfishness can be unbearable, and most of the time, the selfishness is is so denied by those guilty of it, they can never acknowledge the impact they have had on others, which adds to the hurt.

There are some hurts I hope I never have to experience, but if I do, I hope I can remember to draw close to Christ.

So enough about me and on with the house, which is why I started to write this whiny entry. On Wednesday, November 26th, the day before Thanksgiving we had the drywallers arrive. It was my first snowy drive, and a man had come out to show them where we were to have drywall hung and where we were not. He was worried about them driving out in the snow, but they made it, and had a majority of the house hung by nights end. The next morning to our surprise they were back to finish. This was Thanksgiving morning. Thursday evening, we had a call from our builder telling us that we needed to turn on our furnace so they could come mud and tape the next morning. Now let me remind you, we have no doorway from our garage, which is open, to our house, and there are three downstairs windows with plastic covering them, but no windows. And we are supposed to turn our furnace on.........So they sent someone down to put a piece of heavy plywood over the door, but Dan reluctantly turned it on. Because the furnace we have installed produces condensation, once you have turned it on in the cold temperatures, you have to leave it on, or it can do damage. But we were told they would be there in the morning, so this is what we had to do. The next one.......the next morning, no one. Day after day we were told they will be there, but they weren't. I started writing this blog on Monday December 1. Confessing what I felt God wanted me to and on Tuesday, December 2nd they started our septic system. On Thursday, December 4th they finally began to mud our walls. Today the Amish guys should be back with my three basement windows, and the door between the house and garage. By this time next week, I will likely be either cleaning, or possibly painting.....Lord willing as we say in Christian circles.