Five Minute Friday: Plan

blog_642262_2683366_1425671999{ image source }

7/14/15: I may have written too hastily. I wish I could say more, but I am in the process of attempting to gather some information. I don’t have the answers to some of my questions at this point. This isn’t an attack on Jen Hatmaker, but I’m no longer sure that I can wholeheartedly recommend this book. I’m leaving this post as-is for now, but may remove it soon.  Sorry for the vagueness.

Gentle Reader,

I didn’t plan to turn on my computer tonight. We’re experiencing a lull in our relationship. I just need a break.

But I also love my FMF tribe.

I planned to lurk.

Instead I quoted Chandler Bing.

Kate. The ladies. We: plan.

Go.

Last week my blogging/Voxer/all things online buddy Rebekah mentioned that Jen Hatmaker was looking for people to be part of the launch team for her new book, For the Love, releasing in August. I’d never even heard of the concept of a launch team, let alone imagined myself being part of one. But because Jen has blessed me with her humor and her straight-shooting, I filled out the form, shrugged my shoulders and went about the day.

I didn’t plan to be chosen.

The notification sneaked into my inbox on Tuesday and my toes curled with excitement. I get to read a book before everyone else does! I get to support someone! I get to help promote the Gospel and some truly witty quips! Sure, it’s a PDF download, a dreaded electronic…thing that this bibliophile has made passionate arguments against. (Patrick, if you’re reading this, I don’t want to hear a SINGLE. WORD).

I can’t stop scrolling. I can’t stop reading.

I didn’t plan to get hooked. I didn’t plan to laugh out loud. I didn’t plan to tell myself, “Just one more chapter.” Two days later and I’ve only got a third of the book left.

For the Love is a something I needed to read right now. I didn’t plan on it. I didn’t even really realize that I needed to be reminded of the richness of grace. But God knew.

God planned.

Stop.

I can’t say much more about this fabulous book until the official launch this summer, but reader – get thee a copy. Request it at your local libraries. Make For the Love part of your plan.

My journey to faith. (15)

Five Minute Friday: Visit

{ image source }

Gentle Reader,

Chit-chatting with Kate and the crew about the sacred, the mundane and the in-between. Tonight we: visit.

Go.

I’m fascinated by the Myers-Briggs personality profiles. As an INTJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging) person (and a female one at that, which is apparently rare), learning about the different types and how everyone navigates the world is right up my alley. I love seeing how things interconnect. I’m fascinated by both patterns and differences.

Yet as much as people intrigue me, they drain me. If you imagine a turtle pulling himself deep inside his shell, that would be me. I like alone time. I cherish alone time. I jealously guard alone time.

And then all of a sudden I pop out and go, “Where’s the party?”

I got to do that this past Saturday. The hubs and I invited a few friends over for a visit, something I haven’t been able to do since before I had surgery. I don’t dive into friendship quickly or easily, so I’ve had the same core group for about 10 years. Three of my dearest relationships stretch back to high school. When we get together, in whatever combination, the banter flies fast and heavy – and then turns abruptly to matters like politics and theology.

There’s such joy in that.

Such sweet comfort in the bouncing from the silly to the serious, knowing that the jests are made with a gentle heart and the thoughts shared have been weighed and considered.

I may not speak to any one of my friends on a daily or even weekly basis, but there is a love that connects us. If one of them needed a kidney and I was a match, there’d be no questions about it.

My heart swelled with warmth as I sat on my little corner of the couch and looked into those dear faces squished into every nook of the tiny living room. I was tired and sore. I’m always tired and sore these days. But I was so very glad to have arranged that visit.

Stop.

My journey to faith. (15)

What I’ve Learned

{ image source }

Gentle Reader,

Sitting here in my sick chair, surrounded by pillows with a dog sitting on my feet, I’m thinking about 2014. I’m trying not to think too deeply about it because thinking deeply while laid up only results in being sucked into a dark vortex of, “Why am I here?” and “What is my purpose?”

Not good.

I do have good stuff to think about. I’ve learned some things this year. In no particular order:

God

This year has tested my faith – but day after day, God has come through for me. Every time I swallowed the nausea, felt pain as the tumor grew, woke up in an anxious sweat or wiped the tears away, He was there. Every day He found new and special ways to reveal Himself to me.

He is real. I have no doubt.

Writing

Twelve months ago I jumped on the “one word” bandwagon – and never thought about it after that post. Throughout the year I flirted with planners and outlines – I printed out several cool-looking calendars and schedules but they sat unused in a folder. I thought about hosting a giveaway of some sort – but money runs tighter around here. I tried to remember that I have a Facebook page just for this blog – and failed.

I’ve learned that I am not a typical blogger. There’s nothing wrong with choosing a word for the year or planning out posts weeks in advance. I just don’t operate that way. I post twice a week, whatever’s on my mind. It works.

After a few false starts and rolling an idea around in the back of my mind for two years, I started writing a novel. It may never get anywhere, but it’s a creative outlet. That’s the most important thing about writing, anyway.

Relationships

I really believe in the truth of James 1:5 –

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (NKJV)

I’m not as smart as I like to think I am sometimes, and so a constant prayer of mine is that God will grant me wisdom, insight and discernment. I learned this year that He truly does grant those things to His children with extreme generosity and often pours them into our souls before we even know to ask.

As a naturally cynical and pessimistic person, I do have to battle myself when it comes to relationships. I have to be careful not to write others off without a second thought. But I also need to pay attention to warning signals. They come from the Spirit.

Family

It’s not perfect. Never will be. But it’s worth the occasional battle. It’s worth working through misunderstandings and personality conflicts. God plopped me into this family for a reason. I’ll stick by them forever.

Work

I love being a library clerk. Seriously. I think that libraries are an important, essential community service. Despite my largely Libertarian political slant, I truly believe that one of the best things that government can do is fund libraries. Nowhere else can you go to find books on any topic imaginable (and if it’s not there, we’ll order it for you), free access to the internet, discussion clubs where you can connect with new people, programs about everything from genealogical research to essential oils.

Libraries are so much more than silent halls full of dusty books. They are community centers. I watch my coworkers pour their hearts into storytime hours for the littles, collecting books for nursing home residents, keeping up with the latest technology. My bosses listen to complaints (sometimes ridiculous ones) and do their best to respond positively.

We work hard. For you.

Marriage

This has been a hard year for Chris and I. We’ve spent months dealing with my health issues. The stupid, broken-down truck that I will hate forever has eaten up huge amounts of money. Chris lost his grandmother unexpectedly. During a men’s retreat he wrecked a four-wheeler and came close to serious injury or worse.

Yet here we are. Tonight we’ll celebrate the 10 years we’ve been together with Chinese food eaten straight out of the cartons because it makes us feel cool and we’ll drink sparkling cider from fancy glasses. He’s my best friend, plain and simple.

I’m not sad to see this year go, but neither do I look back on it with nothing but dismay. And in that, I think, is the biggest thing I’ve learned: Whatever happens, there is plenty to be thankful for. Joy can be found even in the thickest clouds.

My journey to faith. (15)