Thursday, October 24, 2013

Are you proud of me?

Are you proud of me?

If you're a father, mother, teacher, student, sibling, daughter or have heard or asked this question.  It is a question we all ask, even if we don't verbalize it.  We wonder if we have made someone proud with our actions.

When my daughter was born almost five years ago, I had no idea just how many times I would be asked this question.

"I zipped my pants by myself!  Are you proud of me??"  

"I ate ALL of my dinner!  Are you proud of me??"

"I obeyed the first time.  Are you proud of me??"

Now let's be honest, sometimes this is followed by a "Can I have a piece of candy for that?"  But nonetheless, apparently there is a never ending list of accomplishments, that grows seemingly by the hour.  Now of course, as we grow older, I am no longer asking anyone to be proud of me for eating all of my dinner but I do wonder sometimes "Am I being a good wife?"  "Am I being a fun mom?"  "Am I spending enough time with each child individually?"  Some of you may wonder "Is my boss impressed with how I handled that situation?"

Well, there are always things we do not need to be patted on the back for, and then there are times when it is appropriate.  Of course we learn as we grow older that we don't need to live trying to please everyone.  Believe it or not, there will be someone, at some point in time who may not like you!  (I know, that has NEVER happened to me!  *wink wink*)  And in those times, it can be difficult to redirect our focus on not pleasing everyone in the world.  But in this post I want to focus on the positives of saying those five words "I am proud of you."

The last several months have been on the more difficult side for my husband and myself.  He was finishing up graduate school, we were trying to sell our home (which didn't happen), we were preparing to move away (as in 8 hours away), we had to send our sweet 15 year old dog to doggy heaven, we were doing horribly financially (moving is expensive), my 14 month old son was going to PT for toe pointing, I had skin cancer a few months prior (thankfully not melanoma), the list goes on.  It could have been much worse, but there were a lot of things all happening at once.  Our plates were full.  Last weekend we went to my husband's parents' home (I call them my in-loves).  My father-in-love expressed how proud he was of us.  He told us that he knew how much we had been through the last several months and he was so proud of the way we handled everything.  I have to tell you that I almost cried, and that this meant the world to me.  To hear someone you love so much tell you how proud they are of you...even at the age of was incredible.  I still re-play his words in my mind throughout the week.  It still makes me smile.

We are instructed by the Lord to encourage one another.  I Thessalonians 5:11 says, "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."  Now this may come very easily to some, and be more difficult for others.  Some of us have encouragement as a spiritual gift, and others may not.  And that's okay!  So however that person will feel encouraged, just try it!  Some of us are encouraged by action, others are encouraged by words of affirmation.  But it never hurts to let someone know you are proud of them.

So when your toddler asks if you're proud of them for the zillionth time today, just remember how good it feels to hear those words.  When your husband does something wonderful, tell him how proud you are of his accomplishments.  When your wife has endured the longest day EVER with kids pulling her hair, tell her how proud you are!  When a student you have does something kind for another student, tell them you're proud!   It may make a world of difference in their day, or even in their life.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The one with the dream house...

I have to confess something.  I LOVE looking at homes online.  However, my husband and I seem to have bad "luck" in our home purchases.  We are suckers for old homes!!!  We love the character and uniqueness in old home, AND we have never been able to afford anything BUT old homes.  So, there you have it.  We have bought two homes since we've been married.  One of which we still own since it never sold.  Both of these homes have been brick ranchers, built over 40+ years ago.  We did many renovations to both of them, and made them our own.  However, when it came to selling them we have had our troubles.  The first home we had to sell at the start of the house market crash.  Yikes.  We moved out of it, and waited and waited for it to sell.  We finally did sell it, accepting a much lower offer than we had anticipated, but since it was a cash offer, we took it!  Our next home we bought, thinking it would sell again quickly once the time came, yet it sat on the market for months and months without any offers.  We still own it, and have become landlords in the process.  So, I am thinking...."God, I guess you don't want us to buy any more homes, huh?"  It just seems like something we shouldn't mess with anymore.  Yet for some reason, we STILL look at them!  WHY?!?  There is something about owning your own home that you cannot achieve through renting.  We are renting an adorable home right now.  It has a front porch, a garage, a master bathroom (WHOAH!), a back deck, open floor is nice.  However, we know we cannot do everything we would like to do with the home and the land since it isn't ours!  I want property...chickens...more dogs...gas stove...garbage disposal...LAND...the list goes on with my "needs"....okay, they are "wants."  Why can I not be thankful for what I have?  Thankful I am not living in a cardboard box?  Why do I keep looking at homes for sale and feel the need to own my own place right now?  We just moved here!!!

Several months ago, before we moved to Tennessee, we found a home...with a wrap around porch...hardwood floors...barn on the property...with several acres.  We fell in LOVE with it.  In fact, I cried when we looked at it, just wishing I could have a home like this one day.  It was a short-sale home.  There was already an offer on it.  We sadly let it go, and moved on.  Now we are here, and the home is still vacant.  The offer fell through.  It is bank owned....we think.  We still love it.  But I finally found it online and it is even more expensive than it was before!  I cried a little.  This dream home of mine is not for us right now.  We cannot afford it.  There is part of me that is confused.  Part of me that is angry.  Part of me that is just plain sad about it.  We compare every home we see to this home.  It is definitely up there in the "dream house category", with emphasis on the "dream".  It isn't a fancy, expensive, massive home.  It's a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath.  It  needs a little renovation work.  But I can't have it.  This is where being content is so difficult for me. 

Doesn't scripture say "...and he will give you the desires of your heart"??  Wait.  There is more to the verse?  I guess I better write out the entire thing.  *sigh*  "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."  Psalm 37:4

He wants me to delight myself in HIM!  So what does delight actually mean?  In this verse, it is a verb.  An action word.  Something I should be doing. tells me that delight used as a verb with an object means "to give great pleasure, satisfaction, or enjoyment to; please highly."  So my satisfaction should be in Him. 

We also need to remember that our faith is not works based.  I do not do things for God so that He will save me, or love me more.  He loves me regardless.  But as my former pastor, Dave Osborne preached, "We should love God for WHO HE IS, not what He does for us."  I need to love God because He is God.  And in being this incredible God, He has given me SO much to be thankful for, yet I continue to dwell on what I don't have.  It is so frustrating!!  I don't want to focus on the negative.  I don't want to focus on the things I can't have right now.  I have to remember to trust in the Lord.  Trust that He knows best.  He has plans for me!  Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

The deepest desire of my heart should be to follow the path the Lord has planned out for my family and myself.  I know we need to be obedient.  I know we need to wait.  No one said obedience or patience were easy.  But that is the path for us right now.  The Lord has planned to give me a future and a hope.  That's a promise.  

So I have to say goodbye to my dream home!  Trusting that the Lord is protecting us, and wants something better for us....even if we can't see it right now.  In the meantime, I am focusing on the many blessings He continues to pour out on us each and every day.  Thankful for the roof over my head and the sweet family living here with me.  In a way, I guess I already have my dream home.