Farraday Cage

Last night, the kids were brushing their teeth, and I hear Vaeh telling Lisi that she needs to sleep on the floor of Vaeh’s room because of the lightning. She further explained that lightning will kill you, and your room is a dangerous place to be, because of the windows right next to your bed.

That was when I began yelling from the other room for her to shush her mouth, because it’s NOT dangerous, and I want sister to be able to sleep in her own room, and if, after this, she decides that she cannot sleep in her room for fear of lightning, then Vaeh can have the tiny room, and Lisi the big one, and we’d switch it over this weekend.

This morning, I was telling Mr, Wonderful about my neuroses. One of them actually being that I was concerned with Lisi’s huge window right next to her bed and he looked up online about lightning striking houses. Heheh. (I wasn’t even that neurotic about it, but he’s a good man, and wanted to put my mind to rest.) He read that the lightning would follow cable lines and electrical lines in a wall, down to the ground.

Our friend put in tons of cable line in that room when we were building it, because it was Mr. Wonderful’s office. And my cousin put tons of electrical outlets in that room for the same reason. I then said, “Pshaw!! She’s OK! She sleeps every night in a Farraday Cage!!!! 

I’m not sure why a Farraday cage always makes me giggle. And this graphic I found online is downright hilarious. I wanted to label the person “Little Lisi”, but I felt that the diagram was already well-labeled.

So, henceforth, I can sleep soundly without fear of lightning striking my babies while they sleep in their beds. One silly neurotic mom-fear down, 20 million to go.

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Glad it was Us

It’s taken me a whole year to come to say this, and I’m still pretty bitter about how it all came down, but I’d like to share this from my heart:

If the evil stalker was going to pick on someone, I’m glad it was us.

Because our God was with us. He never left our sides. It’s been a heck of a year not just for us, but for the friends and family who love us, as well. It’s been a series of ups and downs, but in the last several months, mostly ups.

God has been faithful to us, and has shown our family, through faithful and loving friends and family, exactly what it means to be His hands and feet. He’s shown us ways we can care for others because we were cared for.so lovingly, and without judgment for what we were going through.

Before, I might have been judgmental over how someone acted or dealt with circumstances. Now we avoid that as much as humanly possible. Because you just never know what someone else is going through, or what’s happened in their lives that they’re not talking about.

In short, I’m not glad that it all happened. Just that if she was going to go insane and try to ruin someone’s life, I’m glad it was ours, because our God showed up and showed off through so many people in our lives. It taught me that ours is a good marriage. Not perfect, but GOOD. And that mine is a good life. And that our kids are worth the struggle. And that love is worth it. 

Hebrews 12:11 NIV 

11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

I’m not at all saying that we were disciplined by God because of something we’d done. But in this unpleasant “reset” in our lives, we’ve learned so much, and have come out better on the other side. For that, Mr. Wonderful and I are very thankful.

#3

Dear —

This is the 3rd letter I’m writing you, though I suspect you’ve only gotten the 2nd one. Sorry about that. I’m including the first one in this envelope as well.

I was not trying to say that you were lying. I was telling you that I was in a bad situation once, and was lying to everyone and hated myself and that God loves you, no matter what. It’s pretty clear that you don’t feel badly about your part in anything. So at least you don’t have guilt to contend with.

Mr. Wonderful and I love you very much.

We were talking today about when I fell in love with your cute little 3 year old self. You’d been out to Grandma’s house at the lake for your 3rd birthday party, and Mr. Wonderful and I were going to take you from your dad’s house to your mom’s house. It was pretty cold outside and I was wearing my favorite brown leather coat that Mr. Wonderful bought me for my 18th birthday present.

You were crying for your daddy in the car on the way to D—. You were so upset that you actually let me hold you in the car. I know it’s not safe, but I was a stupid 20 year old and I didn’t know that I shouldn’t let you out of your car seat. So you came to the sit on my lap in the front seat and we cuddled most of the way to Grandma’s house in D—.

And somewhere, a little more than half-way there, you  barfed up pizza on me… all over my favorite coat. And from then on, I just loved you so much.

Isn’t it funny how I can love you so much after you puked up on me? I think it wasn’t because of being sick, but trying to understand you, that made me love you. Sometimes I guess you just have to look beyond present circumstances to see the person’s heart.

I have known you for your whole life. I put a lot of work into helping raise you into the beautiful woman that you are. I know how good you can be. I know, because I’ve seen it in your for your whole life.

THANK YOU for putting us on your list. We are out of town this week, for my vacation and won’t be able to see you.

HEY!!!! Did you know we’re moving back to our old house on B—- Road? I am really excited to be taking the girls there. They are looking forward to living next to D– and T–. And their huge garden and many, many chickens.

I am starting to think about school shopping for Vaeh and Lisi. School shopping with you was always one of my favorite times… especially when we’re go out to Arby’s for lunch and just spend the whole day together.

I love you, Sweet A—. I’m glad you mentioned about family not being able to shake hands, because a family’s gotta hugggggggggggggggg.

Please tell me how I can send you writing paper, stamps, etc?

I love you.

Aunt Jenny

 

# 2

I had a great night’s sleep last night, and I feel 100% better than yesterday.

#2

Dear —,

I prayed about you and thought about you continually since Mr. Wonderful drove your letter to the post office in C– last night. I hope you’ll get it today, because I want you to know how very much you’re loved, and not just by me, but by our whole family.

This morning, I woke up with a verse that God put in my heart to share with you.

Romans 8:38-39

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k]neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

All it means is that there is nothing which can separate us from God’s love.

I know you won’t believe this, but when you were about 8 or 9, I screwed my life up pretty badly. I made some very bad choices that got me into trouble. And NO it’s not the same thing as you are experiencing but I was CERTAIN that God wouldn’t love me anymore. I was lying to everyone I knew, and I hated myself. One day, Mr. Wonderful reminded me of this verse I am sharing with you, and my live has not been the same since.

It’s not easy, but you can do this. It’s the harest thing to ask for something you don’t think you deserve. Just remember, NOTHING will make God – or me – stop loving you.

My love always,

 

Radical Love

This is the note I just wrote to a person I love, who experienced a horrid turn of events today.

Dear ——,

I’m supposed to be a mom tonight but my heart’s not in it. My darling love, my sweet baby girl. The child of my heart, but not my own child.  My heart is laid open bare, I’m completely gutted. Sweet child of God, precious girl;

I love you with everything in my heart.

Everything’s changing for you today. So very many things. You think it’s bad, but I know in my heart it’s the start of something better for you. It may take years to undo this damage, but you are capable, even if you’re mad about today’s events.

I know you don’t want to hear from me about it, but I love you and I’m not retreating. I’m not going anywhere.  And God loves you. He’s never left your side. He won’t love you more or less than he does right now..

God’s love is radical. He loves us when we’re at our worst, and at our best. He loves us when we’re in the middle of what we’re doing that we shouldn’t be. And He loves us when we get our heads back on straight again. God cannot see the wrong, because of Jesus -His radical love for us. I pray you see that love right now… today.

Meanwhile, I need to go pray over this.

You are worth everything to me, and I’ll tell you so when I see you again.

Praying blessing on you, sweet girl,

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Spoken For

A year ago our lives were changed. The enemy stole, killed, and destroyed. She tried to isolate us and beat us down… but it didn’t work. Here we are a year later and it’s not perfect. There are still heartaches, but things are about 9000% better than they were a year ago today.

Now I have a peace I’ve never known before. I find myself complete. My heart is spoken for. Oh, and I praise you. Oh, and I worship you. Covered by your love divine. Child of the Risen Lord. To hear you say “this one’s mine” my heart is spoken for. By the power of the cross. YOU’VE TAKEN WHAT WAS LOST, and made it fully yours. And I have been redeemed by you who’ve spoken to me, now I’m spoken for.”

YES!!!!!!!

I had high anxiety all day today. But God rescues my heart from defeat, every single time. I’m happy to say that, although I can still feel the sting of this unfortunate anniversary, I know that my heart is spoken for, and I’m covered in His love.

The Long Winter

We just finished reading The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The last song she quotes is one that Pa learned over the winter, while clearing snow off the railroad tracks:

This life is a difficult riddle,
For how many people we see
With faces as long as a fiddle
That ought to be shining with glee.
I am sure in this world there are plenty
Of good things enough for us all
And yet there’s not one out of twenty
But thinks that his share is too small.

“Then what is the use of repining,
For where there’s a will there’s a way,
And tomorrow the sun may be shining,
Although it is cloudy today.

“Do you think that by sitting and sighing
You’ll ever obtain all you want?
It’s cowards alone that are crying
And foolishly saying,’I can’t!’
It is only by plodding and striving
And laboring up the steep hill
Of life, that you’ll ever be thriving
Which you’ll do if you’ve only the will

 

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the day our world came crashing down around us. Mr. Wonderful lost his job, we lost our home, and in the end, many friends and people who meant a lot to us.

But today, I want to focus on the blessings that wouldn’t have happened if the heartache had been directed toward someone else. I will list them.

  1. We live close to friends and family again.
  2. I’m working a lot more. At first it was quite distressing, and even now I don’t adore weekends, but the people I see… well I do adore them!
  3. We are at our home church, and everyone is so kind to us there.
  4. Being able to walk the dog at midnight or 5 am without feeling like you have to be armed to the teeth to be safe.
  5. Taking the kids to the park and meeting kids that our kids already know from school.
  6. Walking around town, and knowing just about everyone I see… and telling Mr. Wonderful a bit about all their lives.
  7. Having one community to be invested in, instead of two.
  8. Having Mr.Wonderful around a lot more… he’s not in school currently. And he doesn’t have meetings every.single.night.
  9. So much less pressure. To succeed, to be everyone’s everything, to please the little old ladies and the blow-hards.
  10. Spending so much more time at my parent’s house. And seeing Mr.Wonderful’s mom more than ever.
  11. Parents’ babysitting for their grandkids!!!
  12. Daycare at my aunt’s!
  13. Driving around and taking the kids to places we know from living here all our lives.
  14. So much love and support… financial and emotional support from people who love us.
  15. Finding out who your friends really are… and the people who stuck with us through the process of moving. Two friends in particular. You know who you are. Were so helpful and we literally could not have moved without them.
  16. Being able and glad to move back into our old house!!!

There are many more, but I’m sleepy and not wanting to keep awake to write them. During this part of the reading, I got a bit misty:

Then what is the use of repining,
For where there’s a will there’s a way,
And tomorrow the sun may be shining,
Although it is cloudy today.

I think all along, I viewed this happening as ultimate defeat. Like we’d always be set back in our finances, and never go on to make something of ourselves, as it were. But today, the sun shone, and the breeze blew and I knew without a shadow of a doubt, that God is for us and not against us.

Winds of Change

With so many options before us, we hardly know what to do next, or which way to turn. All we know is that the winds of change are blowing, and this time, in a really good way. Things are about to take a very noticeable turn for the better, though we still don’t know exactly when or where or how.

On my heart today, is the fact that so many friends and family are heartrendingly ANGRY over what happened to Mr. Wonderful and me last summer. (The short story is that Mr. Wonderful has a stalker who is his family member and who spreads lies about him to anyone who will listen.) Mr. Wonderful and I have forgiven this person, and have given up anger and bitterness toward them. As bad as the situation still is for us, we bear no ill will, nor do we wish them harm. 

It’s hard for us to talk about what we miss about the old neighborhood or Mr. Wonderful’s old job, because everyone is so angry on our behalf. In some ways, it’s easier for us to give up the anger when someone else is still carrying the torch, but in this case, I can hardly take it any longer.

Keeping up a grudge hurts the grudge-holder, y’all. It hurts YOU if you are maintaining anger toward anyone for anything, really.

There is such a thing as righteous indignation and that is not at all what I’m talking about. And I’m not saying we should throw a party for this individual who so wronged my family and me. But there comes a time when we say, “Huh, Mr. and Mrs. Wonderful are doing pretty good. They have enough money to sustain them. Their kids are happy. Their home is OK, God has not turned his back on them. Things are looking up for them.”

And then we just let it go.

This is the link for the song, “I lift my life up” by Unspoken. I listened to it tonight on the radio and was convicted to my core. Take a look at the lyrics:

You brought me this far, so why would I question you now?
You have provided, so why would I start to doubt?

I’ve never been stranded, abandoned, or left here to fight alone,

So I’m giving You control.

 

I lift my life, lift my life up. I give it all in surrender.

I lift my heart, lift my heart up, You can have it forever.

 

All my dreams, all my plans, Lord I leave it in Your hands.

I lift my life, lift my life up.

Have Your way in me.

Have Your way in me.

 

If peace is a river, then let it sweep over me.

If I’m under fire, I know it’s refining me.

When I hear You calling out, I follow now, wherever the road may go.

I know You’re leading me home.

 

I lift my life, lift my life up. I give it all in surrender.

I lift my heart, lift my heart up, You can have it forever.

All my dreams, all my plans, Lord I leave it in Your hands.

I lift my life, lift my life up.

Have Your way in me.

Have Your way in me.

 

Take my life and let it be all for You.

Take my life and let it be all for You.

 

……..

My point is that Mr. Wonderful and I have prayed, we’ve yelled at God, cried bitter tears and have been filled with anguish, We have wrestled and not stopped wrestling since this all began. And finally, we’re feeling peace. We’re feeling free. We’re feeling like we’re going to live and not die. And we pray the same for our friends.

Was it right, what happened? NO. Do we want a repeat, NO WAY. But can we forgive? Yes. Can we stop being angry? We already have. Do we like it? Not always, but to move on, we need to shed the heavy overcoat of anger and bitterness. To move freely, to have peace in life, we need to get rid of the anger.

And honestly, it took me a lot longer than it took Mr. Wonderful. I can remember standing in my laundry room, the sun streaming in on one of those bitter cold days of early spring. I bent over at the waist, and wept on top of my dryer for thirty minutes before I could admit to Mr. Wonderful, “The anger is what has kept me going for the past several months, and if I give it up, will I have anything left?” I argued my point in bitterness for several minutes, until Mr. Wonderful scooped me into his arms and prayed with me, until I had no fight left, until I didn’t want to fight anymore.

That was a miracle, friends. That was a miracle of healing such that I’ve never experienced before.

If you’re struggling with anger, will you pray with me now? And if you’re not, will you pray for those who are?

Father God, something is on my heart today, and it’s bugging me. I have been wrestling over this and it’s making me angry. The injustice, the unfairness is threatening to overtake me and I just can’t get over it! I don’t want to harbor bitterness or anger in my heart, God, but YOU COULD HAVE STOPPED THIS, AND YOU DIDN’T! Speak to my heart, Heavenly Father. Take away this ugliness and hate. Take away my feelings of helplessness and inadequacy. Come into my heart and restore me. Help me out of this pit.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

That’s just a start. You can go on if you need to. 

Philippians 4:5 says: Let your gentleness be evident to all.

That is my driving force this week, and from here onward. May the Lord make it so.

The Burden of Plenty

When Mr. Wonderful was unjustly forced from his job last year, I kinda thought it was the end of all things. We weathered his former employer believing lies that were told, then realizing they were wrong to force him out, and then they never did a single thing to rectify the situation. Most people were non-committal, some were so supportive and loving, and at least two in that organization were nasty and brutal, hatefully shoving blame on Mr. Wonderful. (I sit here wondering what kind of horrible life this person must have, to use my husband as a sacrificial lamb to perhaps save face in front of their boss.)

We were down to very little in the checkbook, and then some loving individuals began sending money each month. Four couples, actually. Two of those couples are still sending money each month, even though Mr. Wonderful has a part-time job that is really helping out with our budget. It’s a blessing and it’s very humbling to have people (some we didn’t know well at all) see a need. listen to the Lord, and help out. There were others, I might add, who offered to help us, but we said no, and that we’d ask if we were truly in need. The fact is, we never asked anyone for anything. God provided and never stopped providing.

Back in the bitter cold of that long grey winter, we shivered in a 65 degree house and piled on the layers of sweaters and vests, sweatshirts and fleece pants. There were days we drank our glasses of water warmed in the microwave, because our insides were just so cold. Our dog and cat were never in need of food or medical care. Our kids were well-outfitted as usual, and the Christmas gifts (mostly of money) kept coming in, without ceasing. We WANTED things, but were never left wanting. If that makes any sense. God provided and never stopped providing.

Now, in this Spring, I seem to have forgotten the way He “led us out of Egypt and slavery”. As gracefully as is possible, with his former boss breathing down his neck, threatening to charge us money if we “left the house dirty and ragged looking” Mr. Wonderful found us a place to land, with two weeks to spare. We went back to the old house twice, to clean. It was cleaner when we moved out, than when we moved in. And when his former boss did a “walk through” to make sure we cleaned up after ourselves, they asked, “How on EARTH did their family shoehorn themselves into this tiny, raggedy house!” Little did they know, that tiny, raggedy house was about two steps up for this family. We loved it there. We love the people and the closeness to the park. God provided and never stopped providing.

In this week of my vacation, I’m not wanting to finish the laundry. As a mom, I utterly loathe the change of seasons, because it means changing out their wardrobes. It means every single item of clothing has to be washed and either passed on to another, or saved for Little Sister for next year. It means I spend about 2 or 3 weeks wondering if we’ll have money for new clothes and shoes, and then ALWAYS, our two angels (a cousin and a friend) clean out their kiddos’ closets, and pass it on to us. God provided and never stopped providing.

So why, today, am I burdened and fatigued? Why am I solemn? Why am I blue?

It’s because I have TOO MUCH. We have spent month after month, wondering if there was enough to go around. We’d ration out our breakfast cereal and milk for the kids, we went without sometimes, and we certainly stopped treating ourselves to dinners out and fun things from the store, new clothes, and even ice cream. Now that the financial worry is taken away with Mr. Wonderful’s wonderful part-time job, I find myself breaking down from the pressure and stress that isn’t even on us anymore, and I feel like I’m maybe crushing under the weight of what… no burden?

I wonder if that’s even a thing. Not to make light of people suffering for real, but maybe it’s a sort of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). I’ve been sick to my stomach and cold, worrying and shivering, head achy and joint achy for a month or so. And tonight I sit here wondering if maybe it’s not a ploy from the enemy, to make me feel like we weren’t really taken care of, even though we were.

God provided, and never stopped providing. 

There. I’ve said it. I mean it. He never let us go hungry. We never had a late bill during that time. I even figured out how to pay to still get my nails done (I totally stand by that decision, as my manicurist is a good friend and SHE paid for my manicures for months, until I could manage. I didn’t quit her because she’s inexpensive for therapy, and boy, did I need therapy.)

God provided, and never stopped providing.

He never left us, and did not forsake us. He seemed closer during those times than at any other point in my life. The going may not seem easy at this moment (with several job and income options looming over head), but we are not going alone. Our Lord is leading us. Our God has us in his righteous right hand. We need not be afraid. We need not scurry about, worrying about the future. 

Why? Because God provided, and never stopped providing.

Aside

Better Place Today

You know, I was freaking out the other day. I totally lost focus and I didn’t know which end was up. I’m thanking God today is a different day.

Few things are the end of the world as we know it. My favorite quote at the moment is this:

Worrying is paying interest on a debt you may never owe.

Of course, my personal desire is that we stay local, but even if we don’t, it’s still a long way off.. I’m in a much better place today, Praise God.