As It Is…

“As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  Philippians 1:20-21

We all have expectations.  They may or may not be verbalized, understood or fulfilled but we have them all the same.  What do you expect for this day?  A list a mile long usually finds its way to the forefront of my mind, often before I would like for it to arrive (sometimes in the middle of the night)!   I expect a lot of myself, even though I might not say those things aloud or even admit to most of those expectations.  I expect to be a wonderful wife, loving mommy, faithful friend, daughter and sister, devoted ministry leader and the list goes on.  I expect my house to be clean, laundry to be done, a nice dinner to be on the table plus time to play with my kids, make it to appointments, keep us looking somewhat put together, forms filled out and phone calls returned… Are you tired yet?  I am!

While these expectations in and of themselves are not wrong, they can be consuming, even idols.  At the end of most days, I feel more fulfilled that I checked off that ridiculous checklist than met the expectations that matter most – that matter for eternity.  In Philippians 1:20-21, the apostle Paul wrote that his expectation was to be unashamed and full of courage.  Now there are some worthy expectations!  Life As It Is is not about managing expectations but striving to meet the ones that matter.  Hence, the title of my blog.  Life is meant to be lived to the full, keeping in mind truths like the ones found in the verses at the opening of this post – As It Is focusing on faith and living it out courageously in the victories and in the battles.

“As it is” my expectations are mostly silly, unnecessary and easily forgotten.  Being a wonderful wife and mother means serving, helping and loving my husband and training and teaching my children; not just doing laundry, getting groceries and picking up the house.  Will you remember next month the items on your list that are consuming you today?  Will you remember them even next week?

“As it is” God is faithful to give me just what I need for this day, and even He doesn’t expect to handle more than that!  Matthew 6:34 says, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself…”   I wasn’t created to digest my life’s events all at once but moment by moment.  Sometimes I allow myself to try to prepare for situations that lie ahead only becoming more anxious and fearful.  Let me yell this to myself: We are not guaranteed tomorrow!  Events I worry about often do not even happen and almost always don’t happen how I imagine them.  Even if unexpected trials come (and they will), I need to take ONE. DAY. AT. A. TIME.

“As it is” I need to strive daily to attain excellence in the areas of life to which God has called me.  Working wholeheartedly to love my husband and care for my children means that I should indeed be busy!   Yet my mind and heart should be focused on truth even in the mundane tasks, knowing that years from now my children will remember the lessons they’ve learned more than how tidy the living room was (“tidy living room” is an oxymoron to me)!   I am not good at this needed focus, but I know women who are.  They seem content and not easily flustered, and I know it’s because they have true peace.  Would you come alongside me and help me to stay focused on what matters?  What would our homes look like if we did this?   And let’s stop placing these expectations on each other!  You are who God made you to be – you are beautiful, made in His image, and created to fulfill the role He has you in right now!  In your feeling of inadequacy, He will equip you.

“As it is” life has a way of ruining my expectations.  Two years ago I was pregnant with our second child and teaching special education, while my husband worked for an insurance brokerage firm in downtown Pittsburgh.  (Was that all just two years ago?)  I expected a healthy child to be added to our family whether I said that to anyone out loud or not.  But God, in His wisdom and plan, gave us our daughter, Myka Joy, who has a rare genetic disease (plenty more about her in blogs to come).  She is a JOY to our lives.  God has used her daily care needs, frequent hospitalizations and need for a liver transplant to destroy my expectations.  Honestly, they’re shattered.  Some days I hate that – I selfishly want Myka to be healed and healthy.  Other days when God is gracious to give me just a glimpse of perspective, I’m thankful that through Myka’s life I expect Him to give me opportunities to be unashamed and full of courage.  I have come to expect for Him to be my strength because I have been taken to a place of having none.

‘Life As It Is” has no greater importance than living unashamed – holding fast to biblical truth – and full of courage – knowing that my strength to meet the demands of the day do not, can not, come from me but come from God.   

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The first one…

Honestly, the idea of a blog has come and gone over the years.  Usually I quickly dismissed it thinking, “Who would want to read what I have to say?”   Most likely this is true, but you’re reading it!  So here I sit, using precious nap time to jot down some of my thoughts.  If for no other reason than expressing my thoughts and emotions and striving to align them with truth, I am diving in and starting a blog.

Life has a way of catching you off guard, no matter how “prepared” you might think you are.  Some leave these happenings to chance or coincidence, but I don’t believe that for a second.  God, in His wisdom and providence, allows each moment to pass through His hands.  If He has allowed something in my life, then I trust it has passed through His divine, ultimate knowledge and wisdom before it crosses my path.

My life isn’t perfect, as God promised it wouldn’t be.  There are many joys, reasons to celebrate and victories.  Here’s a snapshot of the past decade:

  • Graduated from Cedarville University in 2007 with my Bachelor’s degree in Special Education/Early Childhood education and a minor in Biblical studies
  • Married my college sweetheart on 7/7/07 and moved to Pittsburgh
  • Taught Special Education for 7 years and received my Master’s degree from Slippery Rock University in 2010
  • Became a mommy to Alivia in July of 2011
  • Became a mommy to Myka Joy in January of 2015 and began the journey of being a mama to a child with significant ongoing medical needs

Funny how you can list out your life like that.  Each of those bullet points represent years and years and include joy and sorrow, trials and triumphs.  In reality, those events really are just a bullet point – a mist on the surface of time eternal.  The mist of each dash can leave just a spritz or the mark of a flood on our canvas of legacy to future generations.

How do I respond to events in my life?  Do I internalize them and wish they were different?  Do I hold bitterness and regret closer than the lessons I learn?  When trials overwhelm me, as they often do, I can choose my reaction.   This blog is where I plan to write through the happenings, knowing God has a bigger, more elaborate and far better plan than the one I would so “perfectly” devise in my mind.  My heart is broken and wicked without the redemption I have in Jesus.  So hold on, my friends.  You’re about to see the ugly.   May God take that ugly and shape it into something beautiful to leave the mark of a flood on these pages: marks of the battle we face, the tears we cry, the shouts of joy we will exclaim.