A Day Enjoyed with My Girls
Saturday was a great day that had mixed emotions that allowed it all to end in a good, confident way. Let's start with the fun and then I'll give you a warning when it's gonna get heavy (read long) if you wanna bail at that point to just stay for the easy stuff.
I was able to go ice skating with my girls, Shana and her youngest boy Sam. Although it was cold (17 degrees) there wasn't much of a wind, which is what makes Iowa REALLY cold. We rolled up all excited and noticed the Zamboni was just finishing so we looked forward to fresh ice. Walking into the little hut the kids were a' yappin'. All stoked to be going for the first time, while the adults were a bit more cautious as we remembered what it feels like to continually bounce of an ice rink. Regardless, with skates paid for and all jackets zipped up tight we headed out to brave the decent crowd in the rink and armed with a camera in one hand and Olivia in the other I was ready to catch hilarity on digital film. Thankfully the first five bounces off the ice didn't deter either Sam or Ellie and we were in business. Believe it or not, the little ones lasted a full hour and were wanting more as we pulled them into the car due to the cries of Olivia being cold and tired of only being able to watch the others have fun. Hot pizza from Papa Murphy's and Hot Cocoa made for a perfect finish. What a great way to spend a glorious Saturday and take in a little of God's gifts.
Deep Crap Coming Alert - time to bail if you're short on time as this is where it could get lengthy. Saturday and Sunday both have proven to contain pieces that have been both challenging and reassuring to me. The first part is that many of you know I had bought a vending business in the Fall of '09. This business has been an enormous challenge for me over the past year financially, emotionally, physically and spiritually. While I have spent a lot of my life working hard, tirelessly staying on task, expanding my skill sets on the fly to meet any demand, but the continual running into a wall when needing blessings by God and being met with less than desired results, this has challenged my will, my usually upbeat attitude, and in general my idea of how I relate to my God.
Before the ice skating I met with some folks I respect a ton. This past Thursday I received some news that drastically will affect my business, and in turn my home and life. The news is bad and until I have a concrete plan I'll leave it at that. I met with my friends to discuss exactly how the numbers could fall in the budget and what some possible options are. Coming away from that meeting I am facing some things that I hate to contemplate being reality, but life recently has taught me to accept it and move forward as soon as possible. That's all well and good but we surprising finished with going a bit 'deeper' into that thing called faith that has gotten me this far and how I over the past year continually tried to lean on my faith but continually seemed to come up short in my business and even in life to some extent. The statement was made that maybe I wasn't being fully blessed by God due to maybe not all aspects of my life weren't as God would like. A tough thing to hear for sure but really not something unexpected nor something I hadn't thought many times myself in recent weeks. All the praying, time talking to God, the time trying to be quiet and listen to God or looking for his presence in my everyday life just wasn't proving to make any difference. I felt like I was just pushing through a gale force winds only to find deeper and bigger waves ahead of me.
Today at church the sermon was about work and rest. Deeper than the rest we take every night or simply the work we do as jobs or what we do to help others, rather the work BENEATH the work and and rest of the soul. Many times over the past few years folks have asked me how I have managed to push forward when others say they may have not or at least as well, I'm not so sure I've done it well all the time, but I have done it as best I could. I remember even before losing Leslie and then going through the hardest years of my life that have followed, that I once pushed through life with the same determination and vigor that I believe I did immediately after her death - when my dad died, one of my best friends in high school, my grandfather and the list goes on of the lows that have surrounded me but I always managed to climb to new highs. I was never abe to put into words how or why I was able to continue on with a good attitude and seemingly not really ever get tangled up in the past for more than a short period of time, rather continue to focus on the goals and dreams I set before me. Faith was something that I continued to explore and talk with others and I look back and see very distinct people that have made huge impressions on my life and faith, but that's not what this is about. This is about work and rest. Two things that I have lost sight of over the past 2-3 years I think.
You see, work that has underlying purpose or direction is often called inspired. What the preacher this morning was saying that no mater your job albeit taking out the trash or saving someone's life, it's all capable of being inspired and the work of God if you first believe that God made it for you and chose you specifically to do it. Every moment you are doing, every day you are working and everyday He is choosing you. For me I was always working to accomplish my own goals and then Leslie came along and showed me how and where God should fit. One of the many reasons her loss was so great to me.
Back to the sermon, if work has the undercurrent of His work, than rest has an undercurrent of his grace and peace. As pastor put it, sleep has the REM sleep which we're all aware of the our bodies physically need. What then of our souls, the rest for it should get recharged when we are at our end and seemingly are tested to our extreme. My heart and soul has been there for some time. The rest of the soul is also given and received only through Christ and knowing that He paid for our eternal rest and peace. When knowing this there comes a kind of calm and satisfaction with our life that no matter what we are asked to endure, our efforts and purposes will ultimately be put to the best use. Knowing this makes rest even more calming. The ironic part about of all of this is that when you have true rest, it's easier to have inspired work.
All of this to say that in the past 14 months I have taken on the largest challenge in buying a business only to have it take the hours of my day, the strength of my will and the smile from my face in efforts to make it right and grow. I can't think of anything that I would do differently as the school of hard knocks was in session every month and I could not have learned any other way. I appreciate and thank all of those who have helped me to this point and I lean on many of the same people in the near future to continue to support and teach me. I can say that I have regained my larger perspective that although I may have lost sight at times of true work and rest in the past 18 months, I once again see the Lord as I should and hope to make my life as He would like. Not because I hope for his blessings, rather because I know my life is not as it should be nor is my work inspired or my rest truly calm. I know that the days immediately ahead of me will not be easy nor without stress, but I will persevere and be blessed because I trust and serve him first.
Come unto me, all that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. – Mathew 11:28