Thursday December 2, 2010

{coming up for air}

… know how there’s those times when you try to get dressed while your body’s still damp from the shower and the clothes get all stuck to your skin and twisted around the wrong way? And no matter how you try to pull and turn they just aren’t going to slide on easily. But since you can’t walk around naked ;) you jerk and tug harder until the process is done.

Blogging sometimes feels that way to me….

Something so insignificant suddenly becomes complicated.

Usually it’s when I’m over analyzing or trying too hard. Like the other day I just couldn’t for the life of me get my skinny jeans on, or rather didn’t feel the effort was worth it – jeans are the worst there is to put on right after you get out of the shower – so I threw my pajama bottoms back on instead and instantly felt free-er! :)

That’s what I desire for this blog, when I write and as you read… for there to be a freedom and comfortableness about it. For others to feel they can come as they are and be accepting of where I’m at also. For us all to learn and grow and share together. Giving each other not only the space to be who we are, but also who we are becoming.

time at lake 348
time at lake 354

Sometimes when I come here though, instead of the comfort of pj’s I find the confinement of skinny jeans. ;) And I struggle trying to fit into what I want to be and how I want to come across rather than just simply stopping and being me. Wanting to dress up the contents of my heart as I know they should be before sharing them… 

And I begin line after line and stop every now and then and drum my fingers on the keys, reading over what I wrote and wondering how it’ll sound, how it’ll appear. Because yeah.. writing is a funny thing. It can be hard to interpret. No one can hear your tone of voice or know when you’re intending to be funny – unless you add a :) at the end of every  sentence. And, then it seems just like everywhere else in life there are the critics.. those who seem to be make a career out of dissecting the intentions of people they’ve never even met before, or know from a hole in the ground. So you find yourself, or atleast I do, tip toeing around to be careful you’re real, but not too much. Candid but not morbid. Honest but not rude. Open but discreet. Genuine but not overly trying. Spiritual but not forced. Contemplative but not depressive….

But worrying about what others might think of me makes things get twisted in a hurry.

And the truth is that I’m probably going to get it wrong more than I get it right. No matter how badly at times I wish life wasn’t what it is, it is! And every attempt to get it together is like pulling those tight clothes over my damp skin.

I stand in my crumpled twisted set of clothes and bite my lip wondering if I should wait until I can make it all look better, or go ahead and open the door and let others see the mess I am~

I guess this is one of those times I’m choosing to open the door.

time at lake 417
time at lake 279

time at lake 199time at lake 425

…So much has happened lately and I was planning on writing it all out here because that was one of the purposes of this blog – to document our new Canadian adventure, or whatever you call it. ;) But thinking back over the last week and a half makes me feel suddenly tired and depleted of any desire to actually spell it out now that I finally have some time to do so.

And I’m sensing myself wanting to explain – see, there I go trying to dress everything up just right again. That no, it’s not as bad as all that. I get that my life is ridiculously easy compared to some. But yes, it’s my life and so this isn’t feeling exactly easy right now.

I’m glad I’m not going to try to spell it out or explain, cause I’m not sure I really could.
I don’t think I always even understand everything that’s going on in my heart.

time at lake 300

time at lake 357time at lake 160 - Copytime at lake 296time at lake 323

It’s like I’ve been climbing this emotional mountain for some time and I’ve finally reached the pinnacle. But instead of banging my chest Rocky style and wanting to conquer, I find myself quietly sitting down… Staring out at the vast landscape of circumstances that have led me to this point. They seem to stretch out as far as my mind’s eye can see. And it’s certainly not as if it’s bad.. not at all. There’s been tons and tons of good tangled throughout the landscape too. Actually, more good than bad.

And though I said I wasn’t going to really explain, I will veer to the side of that a second and say that I can see what’s taking place in me isn’t so much about self pity.. though there’s some flecks of that in there for sure. But it’s more about coming to a place of letting go. Completely. In places I didn’t realize I was gripping so tightly. Seeing the word surrender at every turn, but wanting to turn my face quickly away and pretend I didn’t notice the signs! :)

time at lake 143 - Copytime at lake 119 - Copy

I feel I had been doing so well with everything {if i do say so myself} ;)
Shayne has commented to me countless times,

“Hon, I’m so proud of you. I can’t get over how you’re handling all this.”

And yeah, the rest of that sentence he wasn’t saying out loud was –

“Because this is so NOT like you!” ;)

There wasn’t any other explanation for that either other than grace… grace had been totally enveloping me. I could just feel it all around. As if in the very air I was breathing. And I’m not sure what shifted, but it was like when I walked back into our halfway empty house in Cincinnati, when we came home for Thanksgiving, I suddenly found myself holding my breath and not exhaling and taking back in the grace I needed.

time at lake 445time at lake 465time at lake 520time at lake 535

shayne and i slept on a twin mattress in our bedroom.
my grandma gave me that blanket and i love the words on it!
the house looks so empty, which i know is typical of moving, but still… :)
and below is a “message” that some little someone put on our door.

time at lake 477

I felt overwhelmed with everything before us – the rest of the packing and patching of things and processing of all this that still needed to be done. Feeling like my life, or atleast my stuff, was spread out all over the place with part in Canada, part in a warehouse in Detroit, part in a friends barn in Cincinnati, part in my parents garage, and everything loose, little, or leftover from one more run through McDonald’s, on the floor of my van!

And I started crying. I did. Within a few minutes of walking back into our house. I stood in my living room and leaned against the mantle and cried hot, angry, frustrated tears. And then began the toilet bowl swirl of regrets and why’s? Wondering why I couldn’t just stay and live by my family like all normal people seemed to do, instead of moving 800 thousand miles away at the 45th parallel to the North Pole! 

At this point I wish I could insert that I simply stopped and looked to God for comfort and there it was. Because I did stop and look to Him… but my heart still felt unsettled. And His voice of reassurance was faint and dim and almost unrecognizable.

I know my faith isn’t dependent on my feelings. And gee! I’m glad it’s not. His love isn’t something I have to tug at and try harder to “put on.” It covers me with no efforts of my own required. But… there are still those times in life I find myself just kinda awkwardly standing there, like one arm’s in the shirt, one arm’s out. And everything inside me is wrestling and struggling to make it all feel as I want and fit like I thought it was supposed to.  

…I think part of this path of surrender for me is also surrendering my view of God. Accepting who He truly is and not merely who I want Him to be. Recognizing in myself that I often confuse having things go my way as His way of letting me know He loves me.  And I’m learning, even though I thought I already had, that it’s often when everything is the most out of my control that His love is exemplified the strongest.Could it possibly be that in not letting me get my way He’s showing me His love the most?

time at lake 370time at lake 372  
{speaking of pj bottoms above – that’s what i’ve got on under my winter dress coat here!}

Still. In my living room that Saturday night I was having a hard time drinking in that truth. Of course when you’re holding your breath drinking is pretty near impossible. ;) And with each day that passed I felt my eyes bulging bigger and my face turning more red from the lack of soul oxygen grace provided.

I wanted to exhale. Really I did. But it’s like I couldn’t.

I wanted to make those adorable pine cone turkey’s with the kids for Thanksgiving too… the ones I had seen on someone else’s blog. To create wonderful, lasting traditions they’ll cherish for years to come. Instead, I kinda sat in a corner hunkered over my pumpkin pie, repeatedly reapplying more whipped cream!

Later, as I knelt over their pallets lined on the floor and asked forgiveness… feeling like such a failure as a parent, I saw the light of my Heavenly Father in their eyes and felt myself take in a quick gulp of that grace. But just for a second. 

Because by the next day it was back to reacting as I shouldn’t instead of responding as I should- to which grace is the only difference between the two. But when we found out we weren’t going to be able to keep our dogs, Jack and Cooper… having to tell that to the kids and to see their disappointment and know it was just one more change they were going to have to deal with and adjust to. Then, finding out too the paper work for our van that we’re trying to switch from the lease company here to one there, didn’t come through… and since we don’t want to sink another dime in rental vehicles, Shayne headed back North on the weekend and the kids and I moved in with my parents for the time being. And needless to say my reaction wasn’t anywhere near the response I knew it should be!

… I just felt like this is the move that will never end! And suddenly all the reasons we had decided to make this move in the first place seemed lost. I couldn’t exactly remember the purpose. All I knew was that I was tired of my life feeling like it’s in limbo. Tired too of the single parent role. 

And once again. There I was inhaling and holding, instead of exhaling and letting go.

time at lake 201

Tuesday morning I woke up and felt the need to get away somewhere. So I drove to the lake. Kate went with me. Cause yeah.. she’s needing to breathe too. :) And needing a little chocolate as well, so we stopped to get a hot fudge cake for breakfast.

time at lake 103time at lake 104

We walked around the lake, just the two of us there, and talked and watched the lone shadowy figure of a fisherman’s boat braving the crisp November weather. I grabbed my camera out of the van and tried to find moments I wanted to capture…

And at one point while Kate walked ahead and explored on her own, I stood and tilted my head towards the sky… feeling the warm sun and cool wind collide on my face. And in that moment the tenseness of my heart loosened and grew more relaxed.

Later, when we came back to mom and dad’s it wasn’t like I danced through the door…
but I certainly felt the breathing coming easier. by day.moment by moment.
taking in those breaths of grace.
intentional and on purpose.
because that is the lifeline that sustains our souls.   

¸.·´¸.·¨) ¸.·¨)
(¸.·´ (¸.·´ (¸.·¨¯`♥ amber

42 thoughts on “Thursday December 2, 2010

  1. DanishDoll

    Without that grace this “ol’ship” would have sunk a long time ago! I am so sorry that you are in such a hard place, but I promise you that years later, when you are looking back on this time, you will see how much you grew and how much you learned. Love to you, my dear, and grace be multiplied!

  2. clearlyhis

    O Amber dear….you hav written so beautifully about the journey you are on.  My love and prayers to you as you coninue to fight for those life giving breaths of fresh air/Grace!  You are beautiful in your honesty and transparency….no, it’s not easy to go through these valley places of life, but I am sure you will be carried by grace!

    Can you message me an address that i can stick this lil’ package in the mail for you while you are back in OH? =)


  3. Ariadone

    Sweet Amber and sweetheart Kate, you two ladies hold on to letting go..while having delicious chocolate breakfasts as often as you can…it’s good for the mood-food for women…As the lungs and chest opens to new air to breath…so will your eyes, ears, arms, your heart towards the new future…I cry a little for all you go through…remembering myself hard changes, traumatic moments…re-considering..You have written this with such elegance…out of the pain you have made beauty not lost.

    Lieve groeten

    Godeliva van Ariadone

  4. foreveranoatneygirl_n2Hisown

    tears in my eyes as i read this and feel your heartbeat…
    saying a prayer for you just now, knowing, believing that He does have a plan, He will prosper you, and He will continue to give you the grace you need, for the moments when you need them…
    love your way~

  5. ata_grandma

    Your post reminds me of when we first went to Africa with our 3 young children. I had always wanted to be a missionary. The first night I saw 9 huge cockroaches in the shower! If there had been a plane flying out that night I would have been on it. Now I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. Homesickness is real, and it takes time to get over it. Time and grace. Blessings.

  6. myhopeisinjesus

    Thank you for your willingness to be yourself — I’ve never had to move away from where I grew up, away from family and the familiar, so I can’t relate to your situation very well but I trust that each day will bring more peace and comfort to your heart as you settle in to a new home and new surroundings with your lovely family.

  7. willeywonderings

    i could sit down and cry….  different journey, different circumstances…. a lot of the same emotions. Not to sure I am being as mature as you are. maybe it will come yet. i pray it does. but i still want to just…sit and cry.  ((hugs))

  8. smilesbymiles

    Oh, I hear your heart. I hear that longing for home and for all things familiar. But even more I hear your longing for that stability and security that we get to experience until something hard comes up and we have to relinquish the little control we have over something in our lives and the unknown and uncertainty that happens because of that. The selfishness we didn’t even know existed that gets uprooted. And the strange feeling of aloneness. Of being lost out at sea charting your own course in a way no one else has quite gone before. It reminds me of the way Liam’s sickness / allergy diagnosis shook me to the core of my being. And some days I felt really dumb because I knew I was reacting the way you’d expect someone to react if you tell them their child has leukemia. Now looking back, I am finally seeing that it wasn’t just the diagnosis / enormous lifestyle changes I was dealing with but a lot of core issues in my heart that were suddenly a lot more unearthed. Of course not saying you have any issues. ;) Can’t imagine you would. But really. We all do. And in your need for grace, I see a heart that is growing and learning and reaching out for more of who God is. Wanting to find Him instead of just doing things and blocking the feelings. Praying for grace for you today and sending you love ~

  9. cojoro2

    I appreciate your “realness”… God is faithful! Moving somewhere away from my family/friends/everything I know sounds beyond huge to me…so I think you are handling it all very well. :o) There is a possible move in our future but I choose to block it from my mind currently as it is not presently affecting me. :) Something that really has helped us in the past with long-distance relationships is webcam. If you don’t have one already on your computer, they are relatively inexpensive to buy. I know gmail (google) has free video chat/calling between U.S and Canada {I think}…It is very easy to use if you have a gmail account…which is free. You may already know all of this, but I wanted to share.
    God Bless you. *praying for you*

  10. chulya

    o dear amber! how i LOVE you! and your heartwrenching honesty in sharing! feeling like you are losing and giving up all that is near and dear to your heart! being broken to smithereens!
    this is HARD stuff! i. love. you.

  11. singingrachel

    snatches of grace…. girl, i’m ok with you dealing with life like that because thats REAL and there is so much beauty in you because of your honesty.

    i think you have been amazingly strong through this all and I bless you for that but at the same time i’m encouraged (sorry, and i don’t mean that in a way of “so glad your lifes not perfect”) to know you don’t get it right all the time.

    praying grace for moments of today and just want you to know that i’m pretty sure God is dEliGhting in you…even in the midst of hard.  i’m rootin’ for you all the way. ♥

  12. houseintheprairie

    It does the heart good to write what is welled up inside…I know…that is a way of release as well as to work things out. I moved 1,800 miles from my home upon marriage 32 yrs. ago…it is hard. Grace to you each day. God is bigger than all our problems, bigger than all our fears, bigger than any mountain that you can or cannot see. Keep you eyes focused on HIM, for HE is and always will be.

  13. cherylyn_p

    I think I just wrote a blog entry here in your comments section! Sorry :-p !!!!!

    Our hearts weren’t meant to be in fragments scattered here and there. With your family’s possessions in so many different storage places, I’m sure all that you are attached to feels lost. It isn’t. There are fragments that remain within you, but it feels very disjointed. In other words, everything you have acquired in your home represents fragments of you and how you express yourself and how you have built a nest of comfort. You might need to dig back to a Bible basic, “I am the Lord, I change not,” (Mal 3:6) to find solace and a place of stability.

    The kind of move you and your family are making is difficult because:

    until now, you never knew the importance of 1) that one slow, annoying traffic light at such & such corner that was always red when you pulled up to the intersection; or 2) seeing and speaking with the older gentlemen check-out clerk at the grocery store, who talked a blue streak and was slow to ring up your groceries; or 3) the neighbor’s tree that always changes its leaves last; or *ANYTHING* else that,previously was insignificant.

    Now every single one of these comforts (suddenly *comforts* and not irritations!!!) are out of your life. You don’t care about a slow light, you would just like to find your way around this new town and find something (ANYTHING) familiar. You don’t know anyone at the new grocery store, in fact, they barely make eye contact with you. And, as far as that one tree of the neighbor’s that always lost it’s leaves last, now even the trees are different.

    Dealing with so much that’s unfamiliar and looking at an unknown future, you can’t even come home to a cozy nest you’ve made and feel sheltered from all the newness. Quite likely, you aren’t even sure where the box went that holds that good ol’ comfy sweater that has always made you feel snuggled in and safe.

    I’ll will add you back on my prayer list and pray for you daily, like I did when you carried Reese. I will pray specifically that you will found something familiar and joyful this month as you celebrate Christmas AND the beginning of your life in a new place. {{{{{{{{{{{Amber}}}}}}}}}}}}}

  14. totallycherished

    Glad you decided to open the door!
    ….and exhale!

    Keep breathin’, girl.

    One breathe at a time!

    And take the time to step back and see what you’re modeling for your daughter.
    ……Both of you recognizing the need to step away for a breather…
    I think that’s such an important thing for us to teach our kids!
    She won’t learn from your perfection, she’ll learn from you modeling your reliance on God!

  15. appalolly

    About blogging and wondering what people will think and what impressions of me they will get, right or wrong, from reading my blog…

    I just think of a couple of people who read my blog when I write and who I know like me for who I am and I pretend I’m writing just to them.

    It helps a lot.  I LOVE your blog and I “get” your sense of humor, I think, so just pretend you’re writing to me and a couple of other good friends. 

    I really feel for you and all of the changes and trials you are going through.  And I know what you mean about knowing that you need to breathe but you just feel like you can’t. Not right now.

    May God be close to you today!

  16. mytoesareblue

    Wow Amber, what a journey. I pray that things will come together and that you will be able to get all your things all together in one spot be that in the states or in ontario. I pray that the Lord reveals what he wanted for you guys when you felt he was calling you to move. I’m thankful that you were able to return to your famillies home for thanksgiving but also hard to work through all those things as well. why do you guys have to give up the dogs? that would be hard i’m sure for the kids. praying for you. what a difficult place to be on this journey, i’m glad that you and Kate were able to have this time in the sunshine and wind and water…and just relax and breathe together.

  17. redladybug18

    I don’t know what to say exactly. I can’t imagine trying to be in this limbo now knowing what will be the outcome of everything plus having to give up so many things. Grace such an easy word but man so much goes into what it means and living by it! Blessings on your week! Grace to you!

  18. kafekotka

    Loved this post and the photos… breathing in grace…. a good description … sorry things are so difficult …everyday I have to repeat to myself that God is good…otherwise I might be tempted to forget…..

  19. myall4christ81

    I just typed a big long comment on here sharing a little of my heart because for some reason I felt safer typing it here than in a blog post of my own. But then I realized I wasn’t being an encouragement to you but rather unloading my own burdens…so I deleted it. It did feel good to type it though. So instead I will say that I understand (in a different sort of way) your feeling of limbo and will be praying that God gives you calm seas ahead. I always enjoy your honesty.

  20. rugbana

    Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your heart…. I love the song by Tenth Avenue North and I thought of it as I read your blog today. If God has been pounding in my head anything more it is the need to be more a woman, as a mom, as a wife, as a friend, as a Child of Christ.

    Don’t say goodbye, don’t say hello
    We’re just standing on the surface
    Don’t say alright, don’t say I know
    I promise it’s not worth it

    I want to know who you are
    Even if you’re falling apart
    Reach in and touch your scars
    And all the shame you’ave kept in your heart

    ‘Cause it’s not enough
    it’s not enough
    just to say that you’re okay
    i need your hurt i need your pain
    it’s not love any other way

    And in this video where he talks about the song he says “It is not only ok to take our pain/problems/emotions/perfections to God, it is NECESSARY. if you want to watch it.

    Thank you for transparency and sharing your heart….Praying for you today

  21. down_onthefarm

    inhaling His grace
    with a helping of fudge cake for breakfast?

    sounds like an Rx to get through ~ to believe that there IS a through~ difficult c.h.a.n.g.e.
    Inhale 2puffs qd prn (as needed)
    unlimited refills
    by Dr. Thegreatiam
    warning: best when taken at breakfast with stomach full of fudge cake .

    love this. hugs dear friend.

  22. DawneElla

    “I kinda sat in the corner hunkered over my pumpkin pie, repeatedly reapplying more whip-cream”…now I hope that was supposed to be funny because it made me laugh out loud! The rest though sweetie…it is hard to be in such upheaval, with familiarity spread hither and yon…and hot tears will fall, they have to. I know that for myself sometimes I’ve just had to bawl…fall asleep doing it and surprisingly when I’ve got up something has washed away, something renews and I can go at it again, knowing that all the hurt and confusion hasn’t killed me and step by step the peices will come together, it might take awhile but it will happen. You know Who your strength is and you know Who provides the grace. That alone is beyond measure.  

  23. A_Full_Half_Dozen

    Even though you are going through a hard time and even said you feel like a “failure” at times, you really are an encouragement to me.  I appreciate what you’ve written.  Thank you for sharing.  Praying for you and  your family!  Love the pictures, btw. 


  24. aretheyallyours

    Oh, how I feel for you!  Going back home for the first time after we moved was so, so hard.  I will be praying for an extra measure of grace for you.  It really does get better, it just takes a while.  Aren’t you so thankful for your sweet Kate?  Girls just understand each other!

  25. baileyandme

    i LOVE your new header! especially the girl`s hair on that one picture. darling!!
    so cute that you have pjs under that fancy wool coat. i thought it looked glamorous either way. ;)

  26. Anonymous

    Funny how just this morning I was thinking about the difference between reacting and responding…and here you used the same words and cited grace as the difference. I’ll be pondering that! A precious thought to me lately, is how God does not ask us to have faith in our circumstances, ie: faith that this or that will turn out such and so. He just asks us to trust in HIM and lean not to our own understanding, and to believe in HIM. Let’s not lose sight of who He is teaching us He is. His goodness and kindness is a fact, even though sometimes it feels in disguise.
    You are most definitely not alone on this journey you are on. Just one breath at a time, rest in Him.
    My current journey is one you know. After 3 miscarriages (around the same time as yours)I am once again pregnant. Week #9 and things feel different. Sicker, no problems so far. I am learning though, to not hold my breath and live in fear, to not “Name it, claim it!” but name HIM, claim HIM! I’m learning to love Him best, and rest in His love for me. It’s a process, and one I believe He is patient with us, in.
    God bless you much today! Know you have sisters that would hold up your arms for you when you get weary, even if we’ve never met. – Janelle

  27. resolved2worship

    Don’t give up. Never let go of Hope.~ consider yourself hugged. And I’m with you about moving. I lost the reasons why 19 moves ago. :) Grace is there, He offers it always… He never let go of you.

  28. flame_of_fire

    As I read your blog, I saw myself a bit in the way I’ve struggled to be strong while my husband’s been working and going to school full time these past months. We had an idea of what was ahead and knew we needed to prepare spiritually and relationally, but it seemed like it didn’t take long for things to get hard, and for me to crack and break down. I think there is a balance between trying to support your husband in a decision and being honest about the emotions you’re trying to work through. I personally feel that God can and wants to give me the power to rule my emotions instead of them ruling me, but when they ARE overwhelming, I’m not going to fake strength. I’ve been reading it and hearing it and I believe it: I welcome anything that makes me see my need for God. I used to HATE failing. I guess it made me look bad or something [laughs]. But now I don’t mind looking bad because it can lead to God looking REALLY good! =) “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. {2 Corinthians 12:9}

  29. lifeisadance

    Amber, I could sob buckets right now. A few different events have triggered a flood of emotions/wrestlings/struggles the past few weeks for me, and in reading your beautiful, honest post, I felt as if you were taking words out of my own heart (except mine feels void of anything beautiful!).  Let me just say, THANK YOU for being honest right in the thick of it. Right in the middle of the wrestlings and tears. Because I’m still there myself… and I don’t want to hear a little nice cliche’ about “God always knows best” even though He does. I want to hear raw honesty. Raw emotion. Someone who is alive and brave enough to walk right into the struggle, without just pretending they’re okay when they’re really not. Not everyone might “get” you, and I’m sorry about that. But hopefully there are enough of us that will, and you can feel our hearts connecting with yours…. ♥

  30. ABAHM

    Dearest Amber you write so beautifully of all you are going through…reminding me of all God has brought me through. It was like standing on that dock or a sailboat and refreshing and beautiful in hindsight. Just want you to know that. May God POUR out His grace in great measure on you. Praying continuously. Much love, Jenny

  31. Anonymous

    Hey Amber! Thank you for your fragile honesty. Isn’t it truly amazing how grace gets poured out on our needs…sometimes in the least expected places. I am praying for you during this time. I know in a little way how hard it must be – but I can’t imagine some of the depth of what you’re going through. Just keep looking for that grace and beauty in these circumstances – because it can fly by so quickly! Love you! – Emily Cox (Isaiah 26:3-4)

  32. bishopskid

    thank you for sharing about grace. i love reading yer blog. so real. so encouraging. i loved yer thots on grace being like the air we breathe! i’ve been experiencing grace in my life this past wk wen i inhale as well as exhale…..thanks for reminding me not to ‘hold my breath’!

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