Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

ups and downs

In the past my ‘diets’ have  resembled a horse race. 

 The gates are opened and it is Determination and Will Power out in front.   Next it is Right Choices with Satisfaction trailing close behind.  Bringing up the rear is Crazy Schedule, Stress, and lastly Frustration

Rounding the first corner it is Determination and Will Power still neck and neck.  Crazy Schedule is coming up on the outside.  Stress is trying to keep up with Crazy Schedule.    Frustration is still bringing up the rear.

Crazy Schedule has passed Right Choices and is neck and neck with Determination and Will Power.   Stress has passed Satisfaction and is closing the gap on Right Choices

Oh my, Will Power tripped and took Right Choices down with him. 

Wait — What’s this?  Frustration is coming from behind with speed like we haven’t seen here before.  Frustration flew right  past Satisfaction and side-stepped around Will Power and Right Choices.

FrustrationStress,  and Crazy Schedule are neck and neck as they round the final corner. 

Frustration wins by a nose!!    

Over and over again history would repeat itself.   I’d go for weeks and then try again.  Only to give up in frustration.   I’d  blame my crazy schedule and stress. 

68 days ago I started what will hopefully be my last ‘diet’.  It sounded all too familiar.  Yet I had to try.

The thing that surprises me most is that I am still working the plan.   Will power and right choices are still sometimes tripped up by frustration, crazy schedules and stress.   Some days satisfaction isn’t even in the race.  Yet the race is continuing.

The difference this time is that I have stopped believing the ‘lie’ that I had to do it perfect.  This time I am trying to extend to myself the same grace and understanding I would give to someone else who is trying to overcome a weight issue.    I would never counsel someone the way I have counseled myself in the past.  I am my very worst critic.  This has been my undoing as far as eating goes. 

I’d love to say that I have lost lots of weight.  Truth is I’ve only lost 18 pounds.   On the other hand, I’ve lost 18 POUNDS!!   When I think of an 18 pound turkey … enough said.

Each day is filled with ups and downs.  Learning to walk a steady course through the ups and downs of eating is something that God wants to teach me.    I hope that I am ready to learn it this time.    It is a daily journey. 

til next time

March 31, 2010 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, relationships, weight loss | , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

hold on – things change

Suffering – trials – tests – problems – hardships  —  call it what you will, but it all boils down to life not going the way we had intended it to go.  

Although if things always went our way we would just end up being an adult with the character and conduct of a baby. 

Character is developed in the midst of trials.

I would like the tests/trials to wait their turn though.  It would be nice if problems were only allowed to come at you one at a time.  Even better if you only encountered one a week.  Ok, back to reality.

I heard a definition on the radio that I liked but as always I have to change it a bit.  Personal interpretation and all that — 

trial – a painful situation, which God allows, that will aid in changing my conduct and my character.  One purpose is to make me a better person.  However, better becomes bitter if  ‘i’ get in the way. 

“In acceptance lieth peace”   Either God is in control or He isn’t.  And I believe God!!!  He is all knowing, all powerful, and holds all things together.

Nothing, absolutely nothing is going to happen to me today that You (God) and I can’t handle. 

Nothing, absolutely nothing will take  God by surprise. 

Helen Steiner Rice penned a great poem.  This too shall past.

One of my favorite lines is “If I can but endure for a moment whatever is happening to me…”   sometimes you just have to hold on to God and wait, knowing that this too shall pass.

This Too Shall Pass
by : Helen Steiner Rice

If I can endure for this minute
Whatever is happening to me,
No matter how heavy my heart is
Or how dark the moment may be-

If I can remain calm and quiet
With all the world crashing about me,
Secure in the knowledge God loves me
When everyone else seems to doubt me-

If I can but keep on believing
What I know in my heart to be true,
That darkness will fade with the morning
And that this will pass away, too-

Then nothing in life can defeat me
For as long as this knowledge remains
I can suffer whatever is happening
For I know God will break all of the chains

That are binding me tight in the darkness
And trying to fill me with fear-
For there is no night without dawning
And I know that my morning is near.

One thing that is certain – change will come.   What looks bleak today may actually turn out to be the best possible thing that could have happened.  Even if it isn’t, God has a way of turning things around and making beauty out of ashes.

til next time

January 18, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

mink coat

God has an interesting way of doing things.  Many times I will just step back for a moment and stand in awe of what has just happened.  It has been my prayer lately to be more aware of God’s finger prints in my life.  I don’t believe in coincidences.  I do believe that God is in control and things happen for a bunch of reasons.  God is not some far off Deity that isn’t concerned about His creation.  He blesses in amazing ways.  Sometimes I am aware of His blessings right away.  It is my desire to be more and more aware of the wonders of God.

So here’s the story of the mink coat.

Before my father-in-law passed away there had been numerous challenges and situations that we were dealing with.  Life in the parsonage is not ever boring here.  In fact I was pretty much at my breaking point.  Yet God promises to not give me more than I can handle with His help.  It’s just that I really have no idea just how much I can handle.  Therefore there are  times I  think I  just can’t take one more thing.  Well, that is pretty much where I was at.  I was holding on to God tightly (Deut. 30:20 “…by holding fast to Him…)  and looking for that rainbow.

Then we get the news that Curt’s dad is at death’s door.  We begin preparations to head up north.  With four jobs that is not a simple task.  Before we leave we receive the news of his death.  We then make additional preparations as we know now that we will be gone for x amount of days.

I am more than a bit concerned about how I will cope.   It has been a most difficult couple of months.  Add to that all that a funeral entails and the fact that there would be no ‘wiggle room’.  Since we were staying with family, there wouldn’t be any alone time either.  I am most definitely a person who needs down time.  This had the makings for a disaster. 

My prayer becameLord please help me to not do anything that I will need to apologize for later.”   I prayed that a lot.  

(Due to a prior committment we took a trip to Des Moines in the middle of all the funeral preparations.  That turned out to be a huge blessing from God.  I was able to have lunch with a very special friend.  Only God could know just how important that would be.  He does make a way for us.)

cousins1After the funeral everyone but Diane stopped by the cabin.  Grandma was in her glory, going through and giving away some of grandpa’s things.  The grand kids drug out the sled and did some sledding.  It was a highlight of the week.  Curt’s brother and family are from Georgia, so it’s not like they are going to be getting back to the cabin anytime soon.  If ever again.  😦

As we were getting ready to leave, Grandma asked me if I was interested in her mother-in-laws mink coat?  I was sure it wouldn’t fit but I tried it on and wa la.  It fit!!   Her daughters are quite slender and Jan (daughter-in-law) is much taller with longer arms, so in this case I was Goldilocks and it was just right. 

It was later that it dawned on me that God had answered my prayer.  He had helped me to successfully not do or say anything that I would need to apologize for.  The mink coat is a warm (very warm) hug from God.  Now each time I wear it I am reminded that even in extremely stressful situations God is a present help and with Him I can handle way more than I thought possible.  It is just like God to go above and beyond the helping point right into the blessing point!!!

til next time

March 6, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

random thoughts

Lots of things going through my brain these days.   I know that God will not give me more than I can handle.  I also know His idea of what I can handle and my idea aren’t always the same.    It is in moments of stretching that one does grow.   Let it rain, let it pour because I know that my Redeemer lives!!

So here are just a few random thoughts.

“Life in Christ doesn’t mean you are exempt from bad things happening.  It does mean you have someone who will go thru the storm with you.  Sometimes He will calm the storm, sometimes He will calm you.  He is always right there to help.”

“Are we living proof that God exists?  Athiests say there is no God.  Others say they can’t ‘see’ God, so I will live my life in such a way that people will be able to ‘see’ God through me.  Living proof that God does exist.”

“Make the invisible God visible”  (Barbara Rainey)

“Don’t expect to know the heart of God if you don’t read the Word of God.”

“An attitude of gratitude is a wonderful thing to share.”

“It’s not all about me.  To really live is to die to self and live for Christ.”

“Everyone has a purpose.  God has a plan for your life.”  Pastor C

“”Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

“Are we fruit bearing trees or ornamental trees?  Ornamental trees never produce fruit.  They are only just for show.” 

I love license plates that ‘speak’.  I don’t like them enough to pay the extra money but if I did this is the one I would have.  PS138V8   —  Psalm 138:8 “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.” (KJV)

Not sure when I will post again as there are a few things that I must tend to that will take up any and all of my spare time.  When all is said and done I am sure there will be some huge testimonies of what God will have done through it all.

til next time

February 2, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

this warrior is a child

God is good.  Life can be hard, but God is good.  Wounds can run deep, but God runs deeper still.  Do I trust You Lord??  Do I??

I had a great conversation with a friend this past week-end.  We talked so long her cell phone battery died 🙂   At one point I mentioned that I felt I had turned a corner with the whole dttf (click on dttf which is found on my home page under tags – if you don’t know what that is).  However, with turning a corner – one never knows what is ahead and for all I knew it could be a brick wall.  I did say this tongue in cheek. 

Well, brick walls are pretty hard, and they don’t give an inch.  So if you find yourself there with me then I encourage you to take the time to listen to this medley by Twilla Paris.  It has seen me through many a brick wall.  When life hits you hard, remember that it is in the trials of life that we grow.  It is in the pain that we face things that must change.  Brick walls are not bad, just painful.

For now I lay down my sword. 

and in answer to the question Do I trust You Lord??   I join my voice with Twilla’s

“I will trust You Lord when I don’t know why.  I will trust You Lord til the day I die.  I will trust You Lord when I’m blind with pain.  You were God before and You’ll never change.  I will trust You!!”

til next time

November 24, 2008 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections | , , , | 3 Comments

when words get in the way

Talking is not usually a problem for me.   I have lots of words to use every day.    Yet there are times when words just get in the way. 

Things happen that there are just no words for.  Like when a child gets diagnosed with cancer.  What is there to say??  Words can just get in the way.  Oh, there are all the ‘pat’ answers, but most of the time those ‘pat’ answers do more harm than good.  News flash, time does not heal all wounds.  Time will find you learning how to go on and live again.  Only God can heal the wounds.

So when words get in the way, I have found that a hug speaks volumes.  Holding someone as their heart breaks in two while speaking just one word.  Jesus.  That is the one word that never gets in the way.

What about those times that it is my heart that is breaking and no one knows or no one is around.  There are times I would love to shout from the roof tops “walk a day in my shoes and then we will talk!!”   Ah, this whole dttf (die to the flesh) thing is extremely enlightening. 

Have you ever went to God and there were just no words to express what your heart is dealing with?  I have been there – way more than I want to be.  I used to wonder if there was something wrong with me.   I would find myself going to God with the broken pieces of my heart yet again.  Life in ministry is not for the faint of heart.  It has contained the very hardest things in my life.  

In looking back I think God uses those times to keep my heart tender.  God has shown me that those who love much will also experience pain much.  They seem to go hand in hand.   To really love people is messy.  After all look what happened with Jesus love.  It took him to the cross.   

We had Redeemed and Rejoicing in concert today at church.  These words from one of their songs really touched my heart.

‘… When the words get in the way, I know He still hears.  He understands my tears…”

Sometimes life can be so intense that there are no words.  God sees our heart.  He knows the pain we are dealing with.  He understands our tears. 

til next time

October 26, 2008 Posted by | Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , | 3 Comments

another lesson from the dog

Well, Daisy is still around.  Daisy is our basset hound that I have written about who was having a bit of a time figuring out where to potty.  She was finally given three chances to get it right.  To which she promptly used up two of those in one day. 😦 

Like I said she is still around which is surprising to both Andrew and I.  Curt says the dog is teaching him ‘mercy’.  I think the redeeming quality is that she is good sermon illustration material. 

Whenever I come home she is very much in my face.  She loves to go where we go and be with us.  Just try to get out the door without her.  She loves car rides especially.  She is very much a people dog.  Oh and she does love to give kisses.  Just ask my friend Cherie who upon meeting Daisy hollered, “She just french kissed me!”   Cherie did not like that one little bit.  For Daisy, it is how she shows love.

So tonight after work I am trying to get on facebook and there is Daisy.  She is all but crawling up in my lap.  Then it hit me.  What if I was like that with God?  What if I just couldn’t wait to spend time with Him.  What if I sat at His feet the way Daisy sits at mine?   What if I spent less time on the internet and more time alone with God?  Now before you start wondering about my relationship with God let me assure you that my relationship with God is good.  He is the One on whom I trust and He is what keeps me going. 

I once heard someone say though that good is the enemy of best.  Sometimes we settle for something because it is good enough instead of going after what is ‘best’.   

It seems that life has a way of draining me of that zeal that I had as a young single woman.  Trying to balance everything out and have time to fulfill all of the various obligations while still having energy left or have enthusiasm for anything,  well sometimes it is easy to fall into the trap of ‘it is good enough’. 

Yes, I talked with God today, but did He notice the same thing my dog noticed – that I was a bit preoccupied?? 

So today my dog reminded me that I don’t want to settle.  I want to be closer to God today than I was yesterday.  The good news is that I can be, it’s just up to me to seek God!

I love this song.  It is a great reminder.

til next time

October 22, 2008 Posted by | life lessons, living in a fish bowl, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections | , , , , | 1 Comment

mountain top to valley

It does still shock me as to how quickly one can go from the mountain top to the valley below.  I happen to be watching a TV show last night where a guy fell off a cliff he was climbing.  Sometimes it can feel like that when life hits you in an unexpected way.

I’ve been on the top of mountains in Colorado – Way above the tree line.  It is gorgeous.  The view is like nothing else.  The journey to get there was another story.  For me, I had trust in the person driving the ATV.  As we all know what goes up must come down.  Going down was much worse.  The thing is though, you can’t live above the tree line.  Nothing grows there and that affects the oxygen levels. One must come down from the top to live.

In Christianity there is what is called “mountain top experiences”.  Those times where things just can’t possibly get any better.  Like Elijah and the prophets of baal.  He was at a high point in his life.  God had come down and set his altar a blaze.  (Read all about it in 1 Kings 18:17-40)  

But then…..

For Elijah, one woman set him to run in fear.  One woman, after he faced 450 prophets of baal.  One woman… and he found himself in the ‘valley’.

The Christian walk for me is all about learning, growing, experiencing the awesome power of God, handling life as it happens – moving forward, dealing with disappointments, all these things done at the feet of Jesus.  There are times though that I have found myself deep in the ‘valley’.   Where it seems that there is no moving forward.  Where everything is being shaken.  Where when the dust settles, all that is left is Jesus. 

I’ve talked with pastor’s wives who have battled great depression.  I think that is partially due to the fact that they live in a fishbowl.  After all who can they talk to??  Who can they express their inner fears to??  I think that it is so sad that only after the fact do they feel like they can open up about it.   But maybe that is because the ‘valley’ is all about the person and Jesus.  When I find myself deep in the ‘valley’  Jesus is the only one there.

As I am moving forward with d.t.t.f. I find myself in the ‘valley’ more.  I take comfort in the fact that it is in the ‘valley’ where growth happens.

til next time

October 4, 2008 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, Pastor's wife | , , | 4 Comments

D.t.t.f.

It’s been over five months now.  A very long five months of my life. 

We live in a instant, drive through, consumer culture.  Have you noticed that people get a little surly if there happens to be more than two people ahead of them in line.  Just let there be a problem at the register and look out.  Hurry, hurry, hurry.  More, more, more.   

In the Bible Paul states, “I die daily.”  There are numerous references to crucifying the flesh.  You just don’t hear many sermons on this subject.   If we can’t have it right now, we certainly want to have it by the end of the day.   The flesh is used to getting what it wants, when it wants.   As long as we ‘feed’ it whatever it is that it is wanting, it remains fairly quiet. 

In April I was doing an inventory of my life.  I’m sure it had something to do with reaching midlife and all that entails.  I was on the phone with a friend and before I could stop myself I asked her to pray for me.  My request was a bit odd, in that I asked her to pray for/with me that I would ‘die daily to what I wanted, that just as Paul, so I would die to the flesh’ —  that part of me that screamed for its own way.  That I would become aware of those areas.  Thus it became known as D.t.t.f. – Die to the flesh

 It’s been five months and today I decided that I would begin to tell my journey.  It is far from over, as I am still in the process of learning what it means to ‘die daily’.   I actually have written one article from this journey.  You can check it out here.   

One of the first things that became painfully obvious to me was that I came face to face with my selfishness.  Now please keep in mind that before this process I would not have thought that I was selfish much at all.  After all I do a ton of things – some of which I don’t even want to do.  Yet, there it was.   

Today while I was debating with myself as to whether or not I would do the work that needed to be done or chuck it all and do what I wanted to do this song came on by Sanctus Real.  There is was again – selfishness. 

Just check out these words by Sanctus Real: 
Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Reevaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow Your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is You want from me
I give everything I surrender

To whatever You’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You’re up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly

 

til next time

September 28, 2008 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, Pastor's wife | , , , , | 2 Comments