God's Girl

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary

My Knees Only Hurt on Sundays

 

I thought my husband was crazy. He scheduled a doctor’s appointment for my son to get his feet checked out. Daniel, my 7 year-old son had been complaining that his feet hurt for quite some time. I felt silly and foolish walking into the doctor’s office. I thought for sure the doctor would think I was some crazy, overprotective Mom who scheduled an appointment for every little thing. The doctor playfully asked Daniel and I many questions after he sat down across from us in the room. He was good with Daniel. He put him at ease instantly. The doctor’s casual demeanor made me think that there must not be a lot going on in the doctor’s office that day. I could not believe he was taking this seriously!

After asking Daniel lots of questions about his feet, he also asked Daniel, “Do your knees hurt?” Daniel said, “Yes, but only on Sundays!” as he began to giggle. I tried to keep a straight face. Obviously, this was getting us no where. Pretty soon the doctor would boot us out of the office and I would feel pretty stupid.

The doctor asked Daniel to climb up on the exam table. He poked and prodded on Daniel’s feet. He touched one particular area on Daniel’s foot and Daniel yelped in pain. He touched another area behind his heel. Daniel yelped again. Now I was intrigued. Maybe there was something to this. He touched Daniel’s knees. The doctor asked, “Do you knees hurt?” Daniel replied,”It’s not Sunday!” (Oh, brother here we go again!) The doctor informed me that Daniel has Sever’s disease. Sounds dark and ominous doesn’t it? Turns out it’s not dark and ominous at all. Daniel is growing very fast and it’s affecting the growth plate on the bottom of his foot and stretching his tendons, making them feel tight and achy.  Growing pains to the max! He will have to ice his feet and stretch them every night to help avoid injury.

Growing can hurt, but growing too quickly can be downright excruciating. Daniel seems to have grown two sizes in the past two months. Everything that had felt comfortable to him before just doesn’t anymore. Have you been there? You change in some way. You grow, but the rest of the world seems to stay the same.

Let’s do a quick growth test.

1) Does everything feel comfortable in your life right now?

2)Do you have the same friends you have always had?

3)Is your day to day routine pretty much the same?

4) Has life become less exciting?

Truth is you may feel as if you haven’t grown in a while.

Maybe you are on the other end of the spectrum.

Maybe you have moved.

Maybe you just began a new job.

You may have had some new insight or something sudden happen that has completely changed your perspective.

You have changed somehow.

Now how do you adjust to these changes.

I am much better at raising questions than having the answers.

Today, let me comfort and encourage you with this…when you grow…when you change…when things around you no longer fit the way they did before…there is one who never changes. God is stable. His foundation is unshakable. When you stand on that foundation you will be too.  That doesn’t mean you won’t have bad days or feel unstable at times. It does mean you have one you can always trust and depend on when life seems unsure.

I don’t know if you are growing rapidly or feel as if you aren’t growing at all, but I do know this God wants us to grow. Sure God loves you where you are. He has always loved you and always will. He just loves you so much that he won’t let you stay the same today as you were yesterday. Listen to this dear friend.

Ephesians 4:15-16

God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love-like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.

One other thing I am learning. As I grow, I need to give myself grace and I need to extend that grace to other people. I need to rest in what God is doing in me and let others feel accepted and loved as they journey through life too.

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Trading It All for a Bowl of Stew

 

Being a woman is tough. There is nothing I would rather be, but still it is not easy. DSC_9376 Some women make it look that way. I wonder how they do it. All I know is that as a woman, I feel all stretched out. Like a rubberband that sometimes gets stretched so thin that it loses control, flies through the air and attacks the nearest person with a mighty sting.

Do you feel the same?

Is it just me?

There are so many opportunities in this life. So many great things to say, “Yes” to.

My heart says, “let’s do it all!”

Time says,”There is not enough of me.”

My body says,”I’m tired just thinking of it all.”

Everyone around me seems to have so many needs, that often I forget my own.

Listening to all these parts of me gets confusing.

Can I trust my heart?

What about my emotions?

Are my perceptions leading me to the right place?

I dream of something, then when it comes, I am no longer sure if it’s what I want.

So many things seem right, but cramming them all into my busy life seems so wrong.

I pray and ask God.

His perception is really the only reality.

I ask Him to be clear. I ask Him to be very,very clear.

I wait, then I wait and I wait some more.

I doubt, then I doubt,  and I doubt some more.

Why? Because I am the kind of girl that needs to be shaken.

I need to be hit by something and hit hard to take action or to stop what I am doing.

I need whatever hits me right between the eyes to have a note attached that says,”Hey April, this is not some random event!! It’s from me!! Love, God.”

I had this happen recently. I asked God to either give me joy in a certain situation or to get me out of it. I was miserable!!

I waited and waited…until it happened, “Wham!”

Not in the way I expected.

Not at all.

It came in the form of a back injury and a confrontation.

Yes, it took that amount of clarity to address something that should have been addressed long ago.

I hope that I learned something.

That back injury healed quickly, but it reminded me that not following God hurts.

My unbelief in who He is and what He is capable of has consequences.

I hope I will just obey God  next time and not constantly question the truth that stares me in the face.

All I know is what He spoke to my heart today.

This will be my verse for the year: “Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisify a short term appetite.”

You can read about Esau in Genesis Chapter 25:20-34. (Basically the man gave away all this rights as the first born son and his inheritance for a bowl of stew.)

How about you?

Is it easy to give it to what stands in front of you instaed of trusting God?

Do you find it hard to know what God wants?

Are you quick to obey or do you need a major push?

Do you have a verse that God is speaking to your heart lately?

Do you have one for the year?

What decision are you facing that requires faith?

Message me on facebook or comment on here and I will pray for/with you.

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Good Gifts: Listening

Ahh…Saturday morning. It had been a long work week and I was ready. I sprawled (yes, I am a Southern girl. We say sprawled.) out on the couch with a good book in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. I opened my book. Chapter One. Ohh…this is getting good already. I think I’ll love this book. “Mom, can I go play at Tanner’s house?”, my son yelled though he stood right in front of me. “Yes, honey go for it.” I told him. “Ok, that wasn’t too much interruption.”, I thought. My daughter and a friend were playing in her room, but I was able to ignore the noise coming from that location. (Any mother will tell you that they have the distinct ability to shut out noise most of the time, unless it involves an emergency of some kind. This is a survival skill I believe God gave us to keep us from pulling all our hair out. Without it, we would all be bald and wigs would be the most precious commodity on the market.) All was right with the world again. I had established my warm, cozy spot on the couch. The book was getting better and better with each word. That’s when  I heard it. The door shut a second time. My daughter was stilling playing happily in her room with her friend. What could it be?
I jolted up from the couch nearly spilling my coffee. The dog! I had not yet decided if Rosebud, our Chesapeake Bay Retriever was a great dog or my mortal enemy. She is a wonderful dog, but when she gets out she turns her ears off and her nose on. Nothing else matters. No one exists. If you come close to her she thinks it’s a game and runs away quicker than a child running for the ice cream truck. Of course, this happens most often when we are running late or I am in pjs. It’s a Murphy’s Law thing.
Today I was in my pjs and my husband wasn’t home. I was mad because my son had left the door open and mad because I had to run out in the cold with just a coat, my pjs and an old pair of Crocs. Suddenly, the girls who had been playing together so well in my daughter’s room came running out to “help”. Their idea was to chase down the dog and bring her home, which meant that she would just run more. I told my daughter and her friend to keep playing and I would get the dog, but they were off, already caught up in the thrill of the chase. My daughter kept yelling, “I got this Mom!” I kept yelling, “Go back home!” The girls found her which I was thankful for, but they still wanted to chase her which I was not so thankful for. I yelled at them again, “Get back in the house!” Now Rosebud was on the playground behind our house. I was less then two feet from her, calling her name using a soft soothing sweet voice while trying to reach her before she ran. She ignored me. I jumped for her and she was gone. I began screaming at her using a much harsher tone and words like “stupid dog get back here!!” I finally went inside and got a treat. I was able to lead her home by the nose with a treat just above it. I gave it to her when she came in the house. I didn’t know whether that would reinforce her getting out in the future or not. I didn’t care. All I wanted was quiet. I wanted everyone around me to listen and no one did. My son left the door open. My daughter ran after the dog when I told her not to, and my dog acted like I didn’t exist once she got loose. I found myself muttering to myself…”Why won’t anyone listen to me?”
Listening is hard. It requires more mental energy than almost any other task. It can be epspecially tough when it involves words we don’t want to hear or opinions we disagree with. We learn 85% of what we know through listening, yet the average person listens with a 25% comprehension rate. That means even if we are tuned in to what another person is saying, we get it right about 1/4th of the time. One of the chief complaints you will find in most marriages is that “my spouse doesn’t listen to me” or “I don’t feel understood”. How many times have you heard parents say to their children, “If you would just stop and listen…”? How many times have you said it yourself? Forty-six percent of reasons listed for workers who have separated from their job involve “not being heard in the workplace.”

What we have here friends is a failure to communicate. Why? I believe it’s because we think that healthy communication involves a large dose of talking. How else can we be understood? Maybe it’s not about being understood, but seeking to understand.

We formulate our thoughts into what we will say next while others are talking all the while barely catching the words and body language a person is using during our conversation. Sometimes I think our own worst enemy lives right between our ears. Today I am going to give others a gift. Instead of the gift of gab, I think I will just lend them my ear. Random acts of kindness are important but for today, I am choosing this specific act of kindness. I am choosing the path of humility. Does this mean I won’t speak? Of course not, but I will measure my words. I will remind myself that I am not the most important person in my conversations. I will put others before myself and lay my need to be heard on the altar of my pride.  Today I will love others well, not with my mouth, but with my ears and eyes.  Who knows I might just learn a thing or two.

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