Friday, July 11, 2008

"Go to sleepy-sleepy little baby, and when you wake, we will have some cake, and ride the pretty little ponies."

My mom tells me that even from birth I was a morning person; waking up not with cries, but with happy gurgling, giggles. In junior high I refused to participate in Lock-In because I thought they were ridiculous. I even had a code with my mom. When I did not want to sleep over at a friend’s house for fear of being kept up, I would call her and she’d ask me if I wanted to go. I’d say no quietly and then she’d say I couldn’t, so I wouldn’t hurt my friend’s feelings. She was and is an awesome mother. In High School I still was a morning gal, always getting up in plenty of time to take a shower and make the long drive to school. I occasionally had my late nights but all in all, my schedule was fairly set.

I look back at those days with such longing. Days when I slept. I think my troubles started somewhere around the end of my freshman year in college. And my sleep depravation was not from parties (I went to maybe three of four all through college) or crazy schedule (I always had and wanted 8am classes). But I do think it stemmed from anxiety. I was anxious about who I was, my looks, where my future would be, when I would ever get a boyfriend, and how to handle the ever increasing difficulties of college. I feel like before college, decisions where never all that major and I had my parents right beside me every step of the way. But at FSU I was on my own, making choices that would have such influence on my life.

Sleep troubles followed me through college graduation, engagement, Ben and mine’s first year of marriage, and into the second. It’s a bit crazy because God has blessed me above and WAY beyond my needs. In fact, when I think about my life it is rather easy. Yet, something still creeps in during the night and stirs me from my dreams. Most nights I have no clue why I am not snoozing away like my husband. My mind is racing with only one thought: “Why, at 2am, am I awake.” I have tried numerous solutions: exercise, go to bed earlier, sleep in total darkness, put my alarm clock in the bath room, a million different pills, and the list goes on.

I’ve even memorized the verse:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guards your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7)
Yet, a head knowledge or mere memorization is completely different from heart knowledge. Truly giving up my fears to the Lord seems to be so hard. Although, He has always proven to be faithful and abounding in generosity. God has to constantly remind me that He is ruler of the Universe and must be ruler of my life as well.

However, lately I have felt that my sleepless nights are more than anxiety. I know a restless mind is a large contributor, but I think my sleep issues may also be a trial in my life. I’ve always thought of trials as the major events: death of a loved one, sickness, etc., but I’m beginning to see they are daily things and don’t always have to fall under “major” events. Sleep issues seem minor to most but I think they are one of God's ways to refine me as a christian.

My lack of sleep can definitely affect my productivity and attitude in negative ways. Much of the time it makes me grouchy or depressed. But in recent months God has been working on my heart. He has shown me that I must strive to be Christ like, not only on Saturdays when I get to sleep in but on the days when I’ve gotten 2 hours of sleep. It does not mean I won’t be tired, but I think it’s how I handle the fatigue. I’ve also started trying to pray when I wake up in the night, instead of spending that time mad that I can't sleep. On the nights that I do this I might get as little as 3 hours of sleep and my body is tired, but my soul feels much more rested and prepared to handle the day ahead.

I’m still a million miles away from handling my sleepless nights correctly. I still am grumpy some mornings, and I still get overwhelmed by anxious thoughts. Yet, I know God’s grace can cover my inadequacy and He can soothe my anxious heart. He can use my restless nights to mold and shape me so that I can glorify Him. On my own, fatigue is overwhelming but with God as my guide, it is only a season.

Monday, July 7, 2008

"First to fight for rights and freedom. And to keep our honor clean; We are proud to claim the title of United States Marines"

I’m not even sure that I will be able to finish typing this blog because it hurts just to press down on the keyboard. No I didn’t burn my finger tips baking, bruise them in a car door, or get them bitten off by a snapping turtle… I wake boarded.

My Grandparents have a lake house out in Tennessee where all my Dad’s family typically gathers for the 4th of July. Ben and I headed up after work on Thursday. We got in around 8pm eastern and waited on my parents, brothers, and sister-in-law to arrive, which didn’t happen till around midnight. Of course, we had to stay up talking and laughing with them and I believe it was around 3am before we all were soundly sleeping. That was probably the start to my “body” troubles, because your body needs rest in order to recuperate from activities and mine didn’t get much.

The 4th ended up being a beautiful but choppy day on the lake. I spent most of the afternoon working to change my rather pasty skin to a shade that wouldn’t cause blindness. And amazingly enough I managed not to get burned; I’m accounting that to the fact that I slathered on the SPF 50 after about 30 minutes with no protection. We had an offer to watch a firework show at another home and after dinner most of my relatives and me packed on the boat and headed over to another lake house. The fire works were definitely impressive but even more fun was the “caroling.” I don’t know who started the first song but we ended up tooling around the lake singing everything from the Star Spangled Banner, Yankee Doodle Dandy, and My Country Tis of Thee, to humming the theme song of Top Gun. And none of the time were we in tune. I could hardly stop laughing long enough to sing. We ended the night by playing a rousing game of Scrabble in which I managed to beat the socks off of my competitors. J

Saturday was another beautify day with a few drops of rain but mostly clear, blue sky’s. This was the beginning of my body’s battle to kill me with a slow and painful death. Since it was nice I decided to wake board, which I enjoy but don’t get the chance to do often. I only wiped out once or twice the first run but realized I was in bad shaped because I was already feeling muscle fatigue. My brother’s and Ben decided to go for a spin as well. Once they were through, I decided to go one more time but it didn’t last long because my quads would not cooperate and quickly gave out of strength. I knew I’d be sore but didn’t think much of it the rest of the day.

That evening we celebrated my Aunt Laurie’s and my Pawpaw’s Birthday. But the night got a little strange from there. I don’t know how it started but somehow we got my mom to showcase many of her hidden talents which include: shooting a bird with her toes, crossing one eye while moving the other around, and her amazing belly roll dance. (Note: if you were wondering why I’m such a goof, this is why) The night got weirder when we started trying to play one of my Grandparent’s musical instruments from Australia. It looks like a branch of wood with a hollow middle and makes quite an odd noise when blown correctly. If I’m being honest it sounds like an elephant passing gas. Needless to say, we all had tummy aches from laughter.

Sunday came all too quickly and, although Ben and I wanted to leave early, I decided to go for one more wake-board. I guess you could say I’m a glutton for punishment. After the boat run Ben and I packed up, ate lunch, and headed back to Huntsville; both a little worse for wear. I think sitting in the car for a few hours only worsened our condition. I knew when Ben merely gave me a hug and I screamed as if I’d been shot, that I was in trouble. We ended the night doing stretches in hopes to alleviate some of the pain. Yet, this morning I still woke with the feeling that my body had been put through a giant sized pasta press and would never be the same again. It hurts to walk, lie down, write, raise my arm, tie my shoe, and breathe. I don’t know why I ever thought that being pulled behind a boat a high speeds on a flat board is worth this agony, but even if I could, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Well, I guess I need to stop this ridiculously long post to avoid any further pain to my appendages. I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th and if you know a good masseuse, call me!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

So as I was reminded today is actually Tuesday. It came as a big suprise because I was under the impression that is was wednesday. HAHAHAHA. I'm such a goober. I'm at work but I can't stop giggling cause I really truly belived it was MOSt definetly Wednesday when I wrote the following post. HAHAHA I swear, I live in one big blond moment and occasionally have brunett insight. Now y'all know what my husband has to deal with :) Anywho, I just wanted to let all those know that I am back on the right day and sadly tomorrow will be Wednesday!!!

"She wears silk underwear"

“She wears silk underwear while I wear last year’s pair. That’s where my money goes, to buy my baby clothes and keep her in style.”

I meant to write on Monday but somehow it slipped into Tuesday and Tuesday melded its way into today. So, Wednesday will have to do. All the sermons Steve preaches are powerful and make me reflect on my position in Christ. They speak of sin but a grace which shall cover my deepest betrayals towards God. Yet, this Sunday I was struck, struck by a burden that has been hiding in the back on my heart, not wanting to surface.

Steve spoke a little on submission, which can be a touchy subject in an age where women have pushed the feminist movement, minorities speak constantly about equal rights, children demand their own life from their parents and our greatest pursuit is our own happiness. However, as a Christian we hear the word often referring to our submission to Christ, the church body’s submission to its leaders, and a wife’s submission to her husband. In my mind I thought submitting to Ben would be easy. That I could live by the verse:
“22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”(Ephesians 5)
My idea of submission was staying home, raising kids, cooking meals, and keeping up the house. Though I know it’s not a glamorous job, it is what my heart desires.

But Steve’s submission was something more, a deeper calling. He talked of the authority that God has established. His law is one of grace. Steve talked of submission to others being about obedience and love for God. I do not merely submit to Ben out of love for him but out of my love for God. It made me realize that so often I only submit to Ben when it is pleasant. It’s funny because I was so proud of my desire to be a house wife. The sermon gave me the realization that my pride was misplaced, as pride always is. In and of myself I am a constantly failing wife whose motives are always wrong.

I can cook the must decadent meals, clean till the house glistens, have 12 children, but duties are meaningless if my heart is not in the right place. To thrive as a wife my “chief purpose must be to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”. He can place my heart and motives where they need to be. That means submitting to Ben in the easy things like attending Church and the not so easy things like the budget.

I quoted the song in the beginning as a way to say that Ben is a wonderful provider and gives me above and beyond my needs. He is a great husband because he is trying to live for God. I must do the same. I must submit to the God who gives abundantly and accept what my husband says. This is the man who God has placed in authority over me. And He did so in grace, knowing that I would need Ben, WHICH I DO, TONS!!!