Seriously, enough with the change already

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This year is supposed to be about looking what we have and improving on it. The foundation is set, we have what we have, and now I build.

But I am already wrong.

The “life building plans” just changed.

Last Friday my husband was told he has been put on an out of town job for as long as they need an extra man or until construction is complete. It is a large project and they’ve already been working on it for 2 months. This means he is gone every Monday-Thursday.

Every.Single.Week.Until.Who.Knows.When.

Then Tuesday he was told there would be at least one weekend involved. And it could be this coming weekend. As with all construction projects, it just depends on the stage of the project, when they can get in, and what other contractors are doing. We just don’t know.

So Wednesday morning I sat down with the girls on my bed and we had a chat of sorts.

I explained the situation. I told them it isn’t anybody’s fault, but it just is the way it is. That doesn’t mean it is better, it just is.

Through tears, they started asking questions.

  • When exactly is he going?
  • What weekends does he have to work?
  • How long is the project?
  • Does he have to go every week?

All I could say was I don’t know, dad doesn’t know, the company doesn’t know, because when dealing with construction anything can go wrong. Timetables can be tossed out within a moment’s notice and sometimes it has nothing to do with your work.

As I held them, I was reminded of the families who do this often. Of long haul truck drivers, traveling business men, and those in the military who leave for months with a tangible possibility of never returning.

And I felt slightly guilty living in my selfishness. My husband gets to come home every weekend for 3 days. My husband gets to make nightly phone calls. My husband isn’t putting his life on the line.

I made myself stop.

I know some families do this often, but this isn’t what we wanted for our family. He intentionally looked for work that would give us more family time, not less. It doesn’t seem fair.

I keep reminding myself that this is temporary, the job will end, he will be back home, but it doesn’t make this any easier. I’m tired of the change, tired of the unknown, tired of being flexible for anything that may be thrown away.

I want consistency. I want to know what is coming up.

But for now, I don’t get that.

Some days he’ll be here, some days he won’t. Some weeks he’ll be out of town, some weeks he won’t. And because he is the extra man and everything is dependent on how the project is going, we may not find out he is leaving until the day before he goes.

As Miss Crafty said, “This just sucks.”

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know I try to stay optimistic and find the positives in any situation.

So to help me prepare for his absence, I’ve been looking. I had to dig deep and search hard this time but I came up with a short list:

  1. He will get 3 day weekends. So we get one extra day a week with him home unless it is one of those rare work weekends.
  2. He is doing so well at school that his teacher has given him a pass from attending class while he’s out of town. As long as his assignments are in on time and he’s doing well, he doesn’t have to do any additional make up work.
  3. We’ll use less diesel in the truck. I’ll take him to work Monday morning and pick him up Thursday nights. This is in essence only 2 days of commutes instead of 5 plus school.  It will save us $40-$50 per week.
  4. There’s gotta be something I can build in this situation. I don’t have it yet, but I’m holding on to the idea that a part of me is going to be stronger when I’m looking back from the other side.

That’s all I can come up with but at least it is something. So today, through my frustrations, I’m trying to hold onto those 4 things because in reality I want to curl up in bed and just pretend this isn’t happening.

It’s not fair.

I want to plan my life, or at least next week.

I want my husband home with me.

The girls need their dad.

This.Just.Sucks.

~Crystal

Side note: I will get over this, and I do understand how fortunate we are. But in the spirit of Living in Green Grass I’m choosing to share this side of me too–the side that shows nobody’s life is perfect or rosy. Sometimes things happen and it is what you chose to in that moment that helps determine whether you are content or not.

When your mission field is at home

I'm not guilty doing my mission work at home

I used to feel guilty.

Guilty about what my friends, neighbors, and strangers thought of me.

Guilty because I happily lived in my house while others around me were hurting so desperately.

Guilty because I was content.

Guilty because I wasn’t doing enough to help society.

Guilty because I was selfishly focusing on my family instead of spreading God’s love with the world.

Guilty because being a missionary isn’t my calling, yet Matthew 28:19-20 tells me:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. and behold, I am with you always to the end of the age.”

Go

Make disciples of all nations.

Jesus said to do it.

So if I don’t go, am I guilty of ignoring the word of Christ?

In my contentment, in my happiness being where I am at and with what God has provided for my family, I felt guilty.

Guilty because life was so perfect.

Yes we have our struggles, but nothing compared to those in other countries who are risking their lives on a daily basis to simply pray to God.

The courage they have. The faith they have. Does that make them greater than me?

And what of those who will die before they are told of God’s great love and His mercy?

Am I guilty for wanting to spend time with my daughters in the comforts of our American home?

Am I guilty for not feeling pulled to those in other countries?

Forget about doing missions in another country. I don’t even feel called to do missions in my own country, state, or neighborhood.

I am the silent person in the background, loving and living by faith, leading by quiet example.

Guilty because I’m not openly spreading the word of God.

Guilty because I don’t knock on my neighbor’s doors and invite them to church.

Guilty because they see us leave on Sunday morning, but don’t know WHERE we are going. They assume but they don’t know.

[Tweet “Am I using contentment as an excuse to not share about the love of #Christ?”]

I am not a missionary or preacher. I don’t feel comfortable talking about my faith to strangers. To acquaintances I will discuss matters of faith if the conversation naturally flows there, but I’m not one to intentionally make it happen.

I am happy and at peace. I am content being where God has me and living the life He designed for me.

Yet at the same time, I am leaving out one important thing.

Go.

Make disciples of all nations.

And in that one little 3 letter word, my guilt faded away.

ALL nations.

Not just the village in Africa or China. Not just the inner city in Germany or England.

Not only the inner city or impoverished rural community in America.

Not even a commandment to be a missionary to those in my community.

But in ALL nations, ALL places, everywhere.

What better place to begin than to those who I am closest?

I have 2 precious souls with whom I can impact in a very real way.

2 precious souls who think I know everything for 10 years.

2 precious souls who think I know about half of everything for 3 years.

And 2 precious souls who think I know nothing for 5 years, only coming to me in their darkest moments when they are the most vulnerable.

I have been called to the mission field.

My mission field looks green. A green painted house and a green tinted roof surrounded by a green patch of weeds and grass.

And inside the green are two lively spirits who I can give a foundation to before they step out into the world. A world which isn’t always the most friendly or kind, but a world I hope and pray they are ready for.

A little outside the green but still in my heart are friends and loved ones. Those who I can encourage and pray for. Those who I can support in their dreams, goals, and struggles.

I believe God has made me content because I am exactly where He wants me, doing exactly what He desires.

Your mission field may be a different color, and even involve a different nation, and for that, I say GO.

But if your GO is to stay at home and nurture whoever God has placed around you, I say listen to that. Listen to your spirit and STAY….STAY and be a missionary right where you are.

What does your mission field look like? Are you called to be somewhere else or content right where you are?

 

~Crystal

 

Shared With:

Let’s be Friends Blog Hop, Wake up Wednesday, Whatever Wednesday, Faith & Fellowship Blog Hop, Friendship Friday, Monday’s Musings, Motivational Monday, Soul Survival

A step back in time

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This past weekend we took a trip to The Husband’s hometown. We haven’t taken a trip as a family for over a year. I can’t remember the last time we took a trip when everyone was mostly healthy so this was a real treat.

With the exception of a couple day trips, The Husband hasn’t visited his family for about 7 years. It was a long time coming. We loaded up in the truck after The Husband got off work Friday afternoon and headed out on the road.

We didn’t go simply to visit family, we went with a mission.

Last fall The Husband’s Grandpa passed away. Since his Grandma is living with others now, the family is selling the house.

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This isn’t your average house. Walking into this house is like walking into history.

The house is a large farmhouse originally built in the early 1900’s, long before days of electricity and indoor plumbing. Through time it was retrofitted to add lights, indoor bathrooms, and running water. This house has withstood the test of time. This house was built to last.

Each room has large open bay windows with sitting benches. Wood decorates the house from top to bottom.

There are hardwood banisters, molding around the windows and up near the ceilings, and built in desks and cabinets.

The house is large and open, each room naturally flowing into the next with large pocket doors if you want to close some rooms off.

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I walked around the house and noticed beautiful things around each corner. From parlor chairs to a full upright piano. From an old sewing machine to silver serving sets. This house is full of things that you see in the museum.

As we crossed the door for what will probably be The Husband’s last time, I couldn’t help but smile and remember. This is the house The Husband had lived in for part of his childhood, the house his mother was born and raised in, the house of his grandparents.

I only had the pleasure of making memories in that house for about 14 years, I can only imagine the memories others hold.

My memories were not of the house. My memories were of laughter filling the rooms, the memories of Grandpa’s stories, memories of my children meeting their Great Grandfather and his love for each precious new addition to the family.

[Tweet “It isn’t the things or location that mattered, but the #love that filled the air of that house.”]

And as we were driving 80 down the interstate heading to our own small house while listening to The Inventor sing Chris Tomlin’s version of How Great is our God in the back seat, I couldn’t help but think of the memories that I’m leaving for my own children.

Am I creating the kind of house that they will long to return to even after I’m gone, simply to walk through the halls and smell the air one last time? Not to gather items or because they want stuff, but because in each dent of the wall, nail hole, scratch in the floor, and stain on the carpet, there is a memory of love.

 

~Crystal

When the Foundation Crumbles

Jamie's foundation is her family

Jamie had a wonderful life. She was a stay at home mom to 5 children ages 7 and under. Yes, there were problems but nothing she couldn’t overcome.

Then her foundation started to crumble. She started having problems in her marriage. Her life slowly started to erode around her.

Shortly after Valentine’s Day in 2009, her husband left.

They had decided on a trial separation. Jamie desperately clawed to keep things together. She wanted to make things work in her marriage.

[Tweet “”I kept thinking this couldn’t be happening. That he could come around and come home…””]

 

“I remember not wanting to get out of bed and when I did I would sit on the couch for hours. My mom and other friends would come over to make sure the kids were okay, fix them meals, and force me to eat. I felt like someone died and I ached so badly I thought I would die too.”

Jamie’s life continued to fall apart. One night she was sobbing in her room, alone. In her pain, she cried out to God for help.

“I felt such an enormous presence. I fell to my knees, head down, but I didn’t feel low enough. I laid face down crying and praying. I felt enveloped in warmth and love. I felt such a peace.”

While Jamie’s foundation crumbled, she was not alone. God was with her to provide comfort when she desperately needed it most.

Unknown to her, her husband’s friends were encouraging him to leave and file for divorce. He listened to them.

A short 7 weeks after her husband first left, Jamie became a divorcee and single mom to 5 children.

During their separation, her husband had agreed to take care of all the bills for the house. A week after the divorce, Jamie learned that bills hadn’t been paid for about 3 months. She was facing financial ruin.

[Tweet “At risk to lose everything, Jamie’s entire foundation crumbled from underneath her feet.”]

Life began to move around Jamie.

Those that knew Jamie surrounded her with love. Some parishioners of her church found out about her crisis. Through her mom, they helped pay her bills and get her 2 months ahead. Her mom helped with other bills.

They gave Jamie room to breathe.

Jamie started to assess her new world. A flat world where new goals and dreams could be built. A reality where she had to provide for her children alone.

She realized that she needed more than a job, she needed a future.

Jamie had two choices. She could get a minimum wage job that would barely provide for her children. She could work so many hours a week that she would become an absent mother. Or she could struggle through the next few years, go to college, and build herself the career of her dreams.

Jamie opted for college. She enrolled in a local college to study Elementary Education.

That first year was the hardest. Jamie couldn’t find a job that would be flexible around her school. She pinched every penny she had, making it stretch farther and farther. She relied on the support of family and friends, including her ex-husband’s grandmother.

[Tweet “Humbled and grateful for the help, Jamie began to re-build her foundation.”]

She discovered a job placement program at her school. The program is designed to help current students find jobs in their future careers. Through this program, Jamie interviewed and got a job at a local grade school.

When working she taught computer classes for kids grades K-8. She also worked one on one with students who needed extra help in reading and other subjects. She helped in the kitchen during lunch hour and with small groups of children usually during science and reading time.

Jamie gained a lot of on the job experience.

But Jamie had her family to worry about too. She couldn’t simply go to school and work, and then relax at the end of the day. She had to take care of her children.

Her mom moved in with them to assist Jamie. For 2 years she took classes on Saturdays so that she could attend closer to home. She cut back on some work hours to focus on her studies. She missed a Christmas play and several of her children’s basketball games.

Jamie did homework whenever she could squeeze it in. She studied during lunch and breaks at work. She squeezed in a minute here and there when students were working independently on a computer project. She stayed up late into the night doing homework so her evenings were free to spend with her family–as long as there wasn’t a night class.

Jamie chose to sacrifice a lot in hopes of building a better foundation and future for her family.

And as Jamie continued to press toward her goal, she saw a brighter and better future. She relied on family and others closest to her to help her through the unimaginable.

She laid her heart heavily before God and asked for Him to help her—and he gave her strength.

“I have cried that it’s not fair. I have questioned what I have done to deserve it. But God has used situations, experiences, and even people to show me that He has provided. That every time I have trusted and put my faith in Him, He has come through for me.

I thought I was faithful before, but I have seen my faith grow to new heights. And that faith has allowed me to grow as a person, not just as a Christian. Whereas before I was a quiet, shut in woman who felt unworthy, useless and unloved, now I’m a woman who is more confident, outgoing, outspoken, and active.”

graduation

In December 2013, Jaime graduated from college. In a few weeks, she begins a job as a teacher’s aid. One day Jamie dreams of having a full time teaching position and her own classroom.

[Tweet “”God gets all the glory for getting me from where I was to where I am today.””]

Without the support of loving friends, family, and strangers, Jamie would not be where she is at today. But above all, Jamie knows that her foundation would not be strong without her faith.

 

~Crystal

 

Every Thursday I share your stories on Living In Green Grass. Sometimes they are stories of faith, overcoming, or perseverance. Sometimes they are stories of contentment and joy. Regardless, they are your stories. If you would like to share your story or nominate someone else, please click here or on the “Share a Story” tab above. Thank you! Without your stories Living in Green Grass would not be the same.

 

Shared with:

Thought Provoking Thursday

Thriving Thursday

Friendship Friday

Essential Fridays

Faith and Fellowship

Beauty Observed

Fellowship Fridays

 Wake up Wednesday

Whatever Wednesday

When a Simple Chore becomes so Difficult

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The Husband gets dirty at work. Really dirty some days. He comes home with pants and boots caked in mud.

Given that he is a plumber’s apprentice, I’m so thankful that it is only mud. I am not looking forward to the other things that he will be wearing home.

I’ve developed a routine. I let his clothes pile up for a few days and then I take them outside and spray them down with the hose. I rinse them out in a bucket until the water is mostly clear.

Before I did this, I would find dirt rings around the inside of my machine at the end of the cycle.

 

Simple enough, right?

 

Yesterday was laundry day. I gathered his pants and work shirts, my 5 gallon bucket and headed out to the front lawn.

 

The girls were playing outside with the neighbors. This isn’t unusual and I’ve rinsed his pants before while they were playing. Yesterday was just special.

I opened the door and was hit with a sound. The sound every parent that has ever had a 3rd grader dreads.

SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

Nice. Somebody is playing their recorder and practicing before the school year starts in the fall.

SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

I must complete this chore. I start filling the bucket when I feel 2 laser eyes drilling a hole in the back of my head.

stare

David-Karich / Pixabay

 

Miss Crafty learns by watching. She has developed a talent of standing behind you. She doesn’t say anything, she just stares. If she can’t see well enough, she takes a step closer, and stares.

I filled up the bucket and started to rinse the first shirt.

SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

“Mom, what happened to the other hose?” The Inventor decided to join the conversation.

“Well, it collapsed on itself and started coming apart. The hose clogged and started to blow up. I had to throw it….”

SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

First shirt done, on to number 2.

“My 2nd cousins are on their way over. They have 2 children and I’ve never met them.” This is becoming a party. One of the other neighborhood children decided to join us.

“Very nice, I hope you have fun with your family.”

Shirts done, on to the pants.

“Why do you wash his clothes in a bucket?” Yes! The recorder is silent, now I get to answer 1,000 questions. One question opened up the flood gates. Suddenly I was surrounded by curious children because I was doing the most interesting thing in the neighborhood.

“Did you see my skid marks on your sidewalk? I’m good at leaving them with my bike.”

“Can we help?”

“Why does he get dirty at work?”

“I see the water is a little cleaner now.”

“Can we eat some of your dill?”

“My cousins drive a red car.”

I should have told them to ask Miss Crafty. By now I’m sure there was a hole all the way through my head and into my brain. She could just read my thoughts for me.

chore of laundry

Nemo / Pixabay

By the time I was done, all I could think was, “Get me out of here.”

Next time I have to wash clothes I’m going to do it when all the kids are playing in a back yard. Maybe they won’t notice me.

 

~Crystal

 

Why I love my patch of grass:

LoggaWiggler / Pixabay

LoggaWiggler / Pixabay

  • Even during times like this, I love my neighborhood. It is full of kids close to the girls’ ages and they all get along. It is a rare day that they are not out playing with each other.
  • The Husband and I took a lazy day on Saturday. It was so nice to do nothing. I had extra chores on Sunday, but it was worth it.

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