Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Change is OK

A while ago, I was talking with a friend.  During the conversation, she told me that over the past few years of trial and challenge, I had changed.  I have pondered this statement for a couple of months.  For a while, it bothered me.  I thought to myself, "I'm still Debbie-------even though my husband left, I'm still Debbie.  Even though my social life is almost non-existent, because of the demands of college and family, I'm still Debbie.  And, even though I have remarried and have a new husband and 6 new children to discover and love, I'm still Debbie!"  And, I stood by my answer!! "I have not changed!"  Until, I happened to stop by the local smoothie store, for a quick treat.  Just walking in the door, you are met with an overpowering aroma of sweet fruit and freshness.  I stood there with my daughter and pondered over the menu of slushy delights.  So many combinations and creative names, I felt healthy just reading about them.  Finally, we made our selections, and the magic began.  Fruit and veggies were gathered.  Yogurt and sherbet measured.  Juice and vitamins to top off each blender full of color and texture.  One flip of the switch and you await your treat with great anticipation.  We were talking as we waited and I just happen to glance over as the attendant opened the blender and filled the cups.  What filled our cups was nothing like what was in the blender.
 Everything came out smooth and completely blended.  Even the color had changed. That smoothie contained the answer to the question I had been pondering.  Had I changed?  Of course I had!!  How could I have survived what I survived, endured what I endured, experienced what I had experienced-------and come out unchanged?   I realized that day, that as Families Change, so do we.  And, that change is OK!  Change brings newness and freshness.  Change is healthy.  Change is inevitable!  And, change is part of our journey!  Today, I may no longer be PTA Parent Extraordinaire, but my circumstances pushed me to find a job.  And, because of my volunteer experience, the school hired me, and I have gone on to love and serve the children, as I had, though in a different capacity.   I just get compensated financially and emotionally.  And, I am expected to be there at a certain time each day.  So, that has changed.  And, that's OK.  Today, I am no longer able to just go shopping whenever, hit the yard sales, and hang out at the pool.  Life's experiences have forced me back to college, which takes a lot of time and energy.  And, I have found my financial resources are dedicated mostly to just the needs of our newly blended family.  So, I now shop out of necessity rather than enjoyment.  When I have a free minute or two, I can be found playing UNO or dancing in the kitchen with kids while making dinner, or in a quiet corner writing a research paper. Something I used to love, is no longer part of my everyday life.  My time and resources are now budgeted to the minute and penny.  My interests and habits have changed.  I have changed!!! And, that's OK!!! I went from double dating on the weekends with friends, to just finding solace and refuge at my home with my kids.  To now, blending our families, which requires time and energy.  I find myself just enjoying the newness and freshness of our family, and realizing that there is nowhere I would rather be, than home with them.  Sometimes, I have to pinch myself, as a reminder that this is really my life!!  Families Change.  And, have I changed?  The answer is a resounding YES!!!  I will never drink another smoothie or smell a freshly cut orange, without reminding myself that, yes, I have changed, and that's OK!  Life is definitely On The Job Training!!!  Through the ups and the downs, trial and error, the good and the bad and the happy and sad------ we learn to accommodate, appreciate and compensate for such change.  We accommodate by making changes, finding jobs, going to school, being willing to move, and do whatever it takes to hold our families and ourselves together, when the storms of life rage and create change.  We suddenly appreciate what we had and still have, when life robs us of our "normal."  And, we learn what it means to compensate.  Times of challenge and change, force us to compensate where others fall short and where life has short-changed us and our families.  And, most of all, we learn to rely on He who truly compensates us, He who makes up the difference where we fall short.  He who compensates us in blessings, a thousand fold, for our efforts to make the best we possibly can out of life's lemons of tragedy, trial and change.
Have I changed.  YES!!!  Will I continue to change?  YES!!  Am I the same person I was 5 years ago.  No!  I am not bitter, most of the time.  I am striving to be better!!  And, in a strange sort of way, I am grateful for life's lemons.  I would not be who I am today without them.  Change is hard!  Change brings tears!  Change happens! Change brings freshness and newness.  And, change is OK!

By Their Fruits....

A few weeks ago, I was having a really hard time!!  I felt like I was spread so thin between so many obligations, that I was not able to accomplish any of them like I would like to.  The house was sort of clean, the laundry was sort of done, and the kids were sort of happy.  I ended up with an evening with no one home.  (Which, in house with 6-10 kids, does not happen very often).  There I stood, in my sort of picked up home, with homework that was sort of done, and thought, "Forget it!!  Why bother?" If you can relate, stand up and yell, "Amen sister!!"  For weeks, it seemed, all I could see were my weaknesses........the things I did not get done, the appointments I had missed and the many things I had not yet accomplished.  The adversary truly is a magnifying glass of negativity!!  The more weaknesses I saw, the bigger they seemed, and failure and emotional breakdown was right around the corner.  As I stood there in my empty house, I decided to just walk out the door and take ride and visit my married daughter.  I just popped in and we had so much fun.
She is having a baby soon, so she showed me the crib and all it's fixings!
 They live in a one bedroom apartment, so this process did not take long.  She showed me how she had creatively organized her ever-so-small closet to accommodate she and her husband and the new arrival.
 She then, lifted up the crib skirt and showed me the diaper and wipe storage area, in bins the exact size to fit.  A small, old book shelf had been converted into the baby's dresser with fabric boxes of booties, bows and binkys replacing the shelves of books from her childhood room.  I looked around her home and found that every room had received the same tender loving care, and each item had it's place.  And, on the walls were pictures from her wedding framed in old frames that were painted from the second-hand store, remodeled within a newlywed budget, to adorn their first palace together.  Suddenly, I felt a warmth run through me like no other, and the words, "by their fruits, ye shall know them.." filled my heart!   Someone had taught this young mother-to-be, the many ways to make a house a home.  Someone had taught this beautiful new wife how to be frugal yet fun.  Someone had taught her some organization skills, and some cleaning skills to boot.  Perhaps, I had been part of such a miracle?  Maybe all those things I had "sort of done", really had made a difference?  And, when I felt the spirit of love in her home, it just quietly whispered to my heart, "all your sort-ofs, were just enough!"

That night, as I drove home to my empty house, my heart was full!  I decided that then and there, that I had given far too much power to the adversary and allowed my mind and heart to be full of so much negativity that I could barely make it through each day.  When we are weak and our energy is at an all time low, it is not a Diet Coke that we need.  We need to realize the real Rockstar that lives within each of us.  Mothers are crucial in maintaining the spirit of the home.  Because of that, we wear a target on our backs, each and every day, inviting the adversary's firey darts of depression, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, feelings of failure, and doom and gloom.  Each is a formula for disaster, and so the adversary wins!!  I realized that I need to be better, smarter and stronger.  I have started a new pattern for beginning and ending each day.  As I lay in my bed, and just prior to getting up, I think of 3 great things I have done, or been a part of.  Just three great things is enough to fill my tank with ample positivity to get through the day, and even spread a little on my way.  Sure, are all of my kids perfect?  They are all just as imperfect as I.  Have all of my kids gone on to make the decisions I would hope?  Nope--- just as I am learning, so are they.  But, there is something within each and everyone of them that is good, that is of me, and, that is of Him........and that is enough.  So, when I am down, and wondering if I have done any good, I try to remember, "by their fruits ye shall know them," then I look no further, for in each of their goodness, is a little bit of ME!!!  And, within each of their goodness........... is a part of YOU!!!
 And, suddenly, rather than the failures flourishing in your mind and heart, it is their smiles, their accomplishments large and small, it is their goodness and divinity that grows and fills our tanks of positivity to make it one more day....... and even smile along the way.  "By their fruits......."