Sunday, July 26, 2015

Leap of Faith- Part two

As we began to look at stress in our life, I was once again humbled.  I just don't seem to be able to handle things other moms can.  Busyness stresses me out- like REALLY stresses me out.

We purposefully have kept our kids activities to a minimum.  We do very little by comparison and I realized I often feel guilty because the little we do sometimes feels like too much.  Though logically I know better, I constantly battle against what culture pushes on us.  Are my kids missing out?  I know in my head that activities alone aren't what's best for kids, that we want our kids to play and imagine and have free space in their lives to just be kids, but when few around us seem to be doing that, I find myself feeling like my kids are missing out.

This summer though we knew we just couldn't, I haven't felt well enough.  So, our kids went to VBS and one week of theater camp.  Chloe is taking three gymnastic classes this month and Phin tried basketball on Friday mornings for a month.  That was plenty.  We've spent time at the pool, played, they've Konmaried with me.  We're happy, we have more energy for others! 

We read a book by Archibald Hart called Stress and Your Child.  Hands down the most helpful book I've read in a long time.  We have a kid with psoriasis.  She has stress.  As we looked at simplifying our lives, we wanted to decrease stress for everyone, compare ourselves to no one.  It's easy to look at others and say, "well, they are busier so we must be fine".  We just asked God to show us what was best in this season.  We laid our entire lives before him in surrender.

Our two most stressful times of day are bedtime and morning during the school year.  Every holiday and summer break, I dread the return to school.  We've gone to a private school 20 min. away.  Marc works 45 min. away in the opposite direction.  I have to leave the house with four kids fed and ready to go by 7:30am.  Because of this we try to do bedtime early, starting 7-730pm.  Marc gets home at 615.  Trying to fit in dinner and dad time, is crazy.  We try to make it calm.  Eating and rushing to bed when you haven't seen dad all day is just hard for kids.

Homeschool was put on the table.  I didn't want it on the table.  It's too hard.  I don't know how to do it.  I am supposed to be decreasing my stress not adding things to my plate.  Yet with time and tears and prayers and research God began to reveal that this was the path for us. 

As I journaled, I began to realize I DID have dreams of motherhood that I am not fulfilling.  During the school year, it's hard for me to help with homework and teach kiddos anything about cooking or caring for the house.  Family devos are rushed or pushed aside.  I started journaling what was appealing about the silly Christian fiction books I'd been escaping to- it came down to SIMPLICITY.  I love reading about settlers.  I realized how much I love the idea of families working and being together.  I WANT to teach my kids to cook and care for the house.  I want to work more again as a family, to play more, not just on summer break and vacations.  Ava is nine and I feel behind on what I think she is capable of learning to do.  I still have some fear, after all, I have never done this.  But as we have prayed, I really feel like God is going to help me become the mom and have the home I dream of having.  I realize I do have more dreams for us...and I don't have to ignore them. 

This decision is scary for me.  I like safe, sure decisions.  This feels anything but safe and sure and yet the more time that passes the more excited I feel for the journey ahead.  So we are jumping into this unknown...

I am now a homeschooling mother. 

I am now a homeschooling mother!  I still cannot believe it and yet I have not felt this excited and joyful in a long time.  I am facing fears about my own inability and trusting God's provision.  The kids are excited.  Marc is excited.  It feels like we have been fighting for two years to stay out of the fast lane of the expressway here and it's like God just pointed us to exit the road all together right now.

We don't know anything past this year, we just feel like God is calling us to a season of rest.  I am looking for someone to help me a couple days a week so I can focus on school.  We will be doing little else but school.  We found a homeschool community nearby and are excited to start Classical Conversations with them.  I am still figuring out our schedule and trying to leave it fluid enough to learn.  We'll be starting in Sept. and I plan on spending the month freezing extra meals with the kids to have them on hand.  We'll be taking every Friday as a catch up or field trip day.  I have many friends who homeschool and I know there will be really hard moments; we also know there will be joyous ones.  I am so thankful for their advice and authenticity as I prepare.

Marc is putting new boundaries on his work.  He was promoted in April and has a great job, but it will suck the life out of him before we know it.  So he is prayerfully asking God for wisdom in balance.

I want to be very clear that we are confident that this is where God is calling us right now.  We do not think this is the only way.  We do not think this is the only right way.  We LOVED the kids school and the teachers there.  Nothing was broken except it's not a fit for us right now.  The school itself is great.  Our neighborhood school is great, as well, we just didn't feel like public education is where God would have our kids right now.  We DO know God has built each of us differently.  I am so thankful for the mom who are rocking activities, rocking public school, rocking private school, and rocking the crazy various methods of homeschool out there.

This is our leap of faith.  This is my freefall.  I cannot even express the utter amazement I feel over the fact that we actually jumped!  I really believe though there will be many more moments where I feel unsafe, where I feel afraid or incapable, that as we seek the Lord, we will fly.

Leap of Faith- Part 1

In the spring, I read a book called Freefall to Fly by Rebekah Lyons.  For reasons I could not articulate, I cried through much of the book.  I didn't expect too.  I couldn't even decipher why?  She talks about fear and surrendering to God's call for your life.   I really felt like God was preparing me for something but I had no idea what it could be.  I ordered the journal and began a somewhat frustrating few months of trying to decipher what I was missing.

In the book and journal, she takes you through identifying neglected dreams.  I couldn't find any.  I tried.  I literally asked myself everything I could think of: "Do I wish I'd pursued music?", "Do I want to go back to work?", "Should I pursue a job dealing with adoption or Haiti? (passions of mine)"  Nothing resonated.  Nothing felt right or nothing felt like a dream neglected.  I certainly didn't have obvious discontent with my life or feel like I'd neglected something God wrote up on my heart.  Still the nagging nudge that God was preparing me for change continued.

I was uncomfortable with the nudge.  instead of dreams surfacing, fears began to run rampant.  I had to confront fear about moving again (I think I am still having some PTSD from moving two years ago and then the immediate transition to child number four!).  I began to worry He'd  ask us to have more children and I am barely hanging on with the four I have;)  Why is it that we always assume God is going to make us live our nightmare?  I started out exploring if I had neglected dreams and ended up assuming God was going to push me into the worse things I could imagine.   The unknown, unsettled feeling was a bit overwhelming.  Looking back now, I can see I felt so overwhelmed by it, I just shut off.

I found myself reading ALL the time.  That seems like a healthy hobby.  It's a socially acceptable form of escape and yet I knew I was escaping ALL the time.  Nothing in my reality is inherently bad, I just felt overwhelmed.  I was shutting off to God and truly to my kids, if I am honest.  They were stressful so I was pulling back emotionally.  Funny, how we've never talked about it, but they knew.  They were acting out, desperate for my attention.  We'd have good days.  Days I felt alive again and then I'd feel that nudge in my quiet time with God and I'd find myself retreating to the safety of fiction book in my kindle, to fictional worlds with predictable, always happy endings.

I knew something was off and the Holy Spirit was nudging me, drawing me gently, reminding me that God is a God of love and grace.  I knew I was letting the enemy deter me from whatever God's plans were and I know his plans are for my benefit.

Simultaneously, this has all be complicated by my struggle with Hashimoto's disease.  I was diagnosed last Sept. and I have had some times I have felt good, but it's been a struggle.  I knew what I was feeling was not all just emotional and spiritual.  This is an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid.  I gained 8 lbs in 5 weeks between April and May.  Sure, I was eating a bit of sugar but nothing crazy, this was obviously physical proof the thyroid isn't functioning, that my meds weren't right.  It can feel almost like a depression and the exhaustion is something I can hardly find words to describe.  When it's bad, I feel like I can barely lift my arms and legs.  I knew I had to return to the doctor.  Four kids really ARE too much when you can't find the energy to get downstairs;) 

I just felt God call me to pursue him despite my fear and to take care of myself so whenever he revealed whatever this unknown was, I would be ready.  I joined weight watchers to help lose the weight cuz it's hard without a normal thyroid and I know progress will be slow, so I knew I needed support.  That step was life changing for me.  I cried going in and leaving.  It was so humbling.  I realized how terrible I am at admitting I need help.  T.E.R.R.I.B.L.E.  Let me just tell you, now its the highlight of my week.  It's fun, the ladies are awesome and I feel encouraged every week in just taking steps to take care of me.

I started purging and organizing the house using the Konmari method.  Again, just life changing to get rid of anything that doesn't add joy to our lives.  Simplicty, freedom from clutter.  I felt like I was getting rid of physical, emotional, and spiritual clutter all at the same time.  My heart felt decluttered, as did my mind.  I found myself able to enjoy stillness and trust God with the discomfort.

I found a new doctor.  I'd started having migraines that were unspeakable painful and that affected by vision (temporarily when having them, nothing permanent).  The underlying disease process has worsened over the year (the antibodies attacking my thyroid have increased 200%)  She increased my medicine and has made me go gluten free.  Again, tears.  Who knew giving up Dunkin Donuts and Panera triple berry scones was so emotional;)  I prayed.  God is good.  It's been four weeks and barely a struggle.  I never had digestive issues, so I don't feel any differently so I'm so grateful it's not been a struggle.  She said it's worth a try; it sure is.  I have four kids- that's my incentive. 

She also said to manage stress.

That visit began our journey of how we can more effectively manage stress and it's been the journey that showed the elusive unknown.  It's been a journey of confronting fears and we finally decided to jump.  This is my free fall....

Monday, April 13, 2015

Thankful for each moment

Last week on vacation, we had quite a scare.  Our little man followed his big brother and sister toward the deep end of the pool.  They had no idea he was following them.  I saw him head after them from my lawn chair and I immediately got up to bring him his arm floaties.  I called, he didn't hear me.  By the time I got to the side of the pool, I saw him panic and go under right before my eyes.  I've read kids drown silently and now I know exactly what that means.  I literally saw him reach the point where he was over his head, he bobbed up with the most panic look on his face as he realized there was no one near to help and he just went almost flaccid and went under.  There was no call for help, no frantic splashing. I jumped in immediately of course and pulled him out.  He was fine; there was not even choking or gagging.  He's been in swim lessons for over a year and he held his breath instinctually as he went under.  He's been taught to reach for the side if he falls in, infact, he actually had enough ability to swim there, but he didn't have the confidence and he absolutely panicked and frozen.  I grabbed him right out, He clung to me and cried.  It was so frightning, we had to tackle some fear to get back in the water.  I don't think he'll go out after the older kids again.

I had nightmares all week.  What if I'd waited just a little longer to get up? He'd been told not to go past a certain point, what if I waited to see if he'd obey and turn around?  What if I was reading and missed seeing it all together?  I am one hundred percent confident that God prompted me to get up immediately.  I literally got there with no time to spare.  I just couldn't shake what a close call we endured.

I realized one morning after many restless nights and bad dreams, I had to release my fear.  It was consuming my nights and any quiet moment.  I just kept seeing the panicked look on his face and the way he just went under so quickly.  The truth is though that there are probably a million close calls with my kids that I am unaware of.  God is so gracious in his protection.  He sees things I miss ALL the time.  I am imperfect and there are plenty of times I am too laid back about things, plenty of times I DO wait just a moment before acting.  Each day I have with my children is not evidence of my awesome protection but God's.  I had to sit before him and surrender my fear and the what if's.  I cannot protect my children all the time.  I'll miss things.  It's the awareness of my own weakness and inability that ultimately was paralyzing me.  I had to recognize that God DID prompt me to get up immediately.  He DID protect Christian.  I fail daily and no matter how hypervigilent I become, no matter how much sleep I lose, or how many scenarios I prepare for, I may still fail, because I am human.  They have plenty of cuts and bruises to prove that!  I have to surrender and trust my kids to God.  I have to trust him with me.  I have to trust that even if something ever does happen to my kids  or to me or Marc(entirely possible as we live in a world with a gazillion and one dangers), he'll be enough.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed to any of us.  Death and pain are no respector of age or ability. I can live my life paralyzed by what if's or release them and rejoice in what is.  I can waste moments with them frantically fearfully or embrace the gift of each day.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ava's Spy Birthday

Ava turned 9!  She really wanted to Spy birthday party this year.  Initially she picked that theme thinking it could include boys and girls but as we set out a guest list, I quickly realized to have fun, we needed to pare things down.  She agonized over having to chose classmates, but alas, we need to start realizing we can't have 40 kids at every birthday party;)  With a guest list of 10 finalized, I had a blast putting together a Spy Mission thanks to some great ideas on pinterest and a little of my own imagination.

While my sister usually designs my invitations, I went with an ETSY shop this year because she already did such a fun job of putting this spy party package together.  The invitations were personalized for each girl.  I had such a fun time coming up with every one's spy name and a secret password for entry.

The kids had to say the secret password (Ava is a Spy Kid) that they had deciphered from the invitation.  Then we used a hand scanning app and had then state their spy name.  The app can be set to say "truth" or "lie" we had it confirm "true" that they were who they said they were.  We made sure to have it say "lie" with my parents and sister, which the girls enjoyed watching;)

Once confirmed, each girl was given their lanyard with name tag and had their finger prints taken.  They then sat down at the table at Mission Headquarters and I had Spy Themed Mad Libs for them to work on until everyone arrived.  I don't think anyone of them had done Mad Libs before, but once they figured it out, we had some pretty hilarious Spy stories to share with one another.

I then explained pulled out a file marked Confidential and read our Mission to them:  "Last night a top secret love potion was stolen from a science lab in Washington DC.  This potion makes boys girl crazy and girls boy crazy.  Our intelligence indicates that the criminals currently in possession of this potion intend to begin making large quantities of it and plan to give it to girls everywhere, age 8-10, to make them boy crazy.  We mus find the vial of love potion and destroy it so girls everywhere can just enjoy being little girls.  You will be trained especially for this mission."

They all agreed to accept the mission so we went into the "outfitting room" to dress up in our spy attire.  I had a black T-shirt, black hat, and black sun glasses for each girl.

They were informed that their training would be done by expert field agents Marc (code name: Mr. X) and myself (codename: BigMama).  We went outside for step 1: Physical Training and Agility

They were deemed able to successfully disarm their opponent physically and agile enough to maneuver around lasers.  They were ready for Step 2: weapons training.
They had to first learn weapon assembly.  You cannot travel around the world with a weapon after all!  They needed to assemble them and personalize them according the the instructions.
Once assembled they received their bag of ammunition (mini marshmallows)

We went over how to use the gun and we received our next piece of intelligence. "Headquarters has received intelligence indicating that the suspects have hidden the love serum near this very headquarters.  The suspects believe we will look around the world, so they chose to hide it close by in effort to deceive us.  You have been well trained for today's mission.
Our sources tell us there is a young weapons dealer with information as to the serum whereabouts.  We are told he plays regularly in the yard in front of headquarters.  Bring your weapons loaded and ready for battle.  He will not give up information easily and is never found alone."

 Phin, Christian and some younger brothers of other party attenders were waiting and ready for the marshmallow battle.

I think I saw as many marshmallows consumed as were shot...

Turns out the young weapons dealer was just protecting his grandfather, who had the clue we were looking for!  "The serum may be found underground.  Access to this area is through a door said to be located near an electric piano.  Be prepared to disarm a body guard and navigate lasers and bombs. Rumor is that a bomb guards the details of the serums secure location.  Birthday Girl (Ava's codename) will be beneficial in deciphering this clue because of her in depth knowledge of the area surrounding headquarters.  Be safe and Good luck"

 Because of his vast experience with explosives, Mr. X accompanied them on this part of the mission.  

They each had to give two punches or one punch and one kick to this robotic body guard (otherwise known as a stationary punching bag that Marc uses for his morning work outs;)

The laser maze was a git.  Marc and I used white yarn and black lights that they had to navigate to get through to a ton of bombs.

The black balloon bombs had to be popped to be disabled.  All of the contained red foil shreds except one, which contained the final clue.

The final clue red.  "The serum is blanketed where Old Money sleeps."

 It took Ava a minute but she figured out the "Old Money" was indeed referring to our dog.  When we rescued him last may his name was "Money" and we changed it to Ollie.  She got to excited and up the stairs our little spys ran.

Indeed, the serum was confiscated from where it was hidden in the blanket within our dog's crate.


Our little spies had worked up their appetites so we ate;)

Our water was "truth serum", we had magnifying glasses made from round cheese slices and pretzel sticks, baby bombs made from mini donuts and Twizzlers, detective dogs (mini pigs in the blanket), energizers (fruit and veggie trays), explosives (Cheetos), on the Trail Mix, Invisibility tablets (Mike n Ike's), and secret messages hidden in Jello (girl power messages like "Be yourself, no body does it better", "You are beautiful", "Kindness is what makes one beautiful", "Be your adventurous, courageous, wonderful self every single day"  cuz these little girls get enough negative messages;)

Then was the cake.  Ava wanted Ice cream cake and I wanted to do a miraculously it worked!  I lined a bowl in saran wrap and layered in an ice cream cake.  When well frozen in the bowl, I turned it out and set it on my cooling wrack.  I took three bottles of Magic Shell and emptied them into a smaller bowl and then dumped it all on the cake at once.  I had a mess under my cooling wrack as expected but it worked!  I had my bomb!  I froze giant marshmallow and dipped it in magic shell for the top of the bomb and then instead of a candle we used a sparkler! (Thanks, Bobbi, for having sparklers around your house in March!:)

Full disclosure...this beast was hard to cut, had to get out the electric knife and use my husbands muscles;)  But it tasted AWESOME;)  Cookie dought ice cream, then layer of fudge, then chocolate cupcake ice cream, then layer of Oreo Crumbs mixed with chocolate syrup, then vanilla ice cream...I mean it was "DA BOMB" (I am so punny!)

 Our little spies are a great group of girls from different walks in Ava's life and they blended together with ease.  They are all a bunch of sweethearts and I feel grateful they are in her life.

Mission Completed: 9th birthday of my sweet girl celebrated and thoroughly enjoyed.  Her heart was full and that makes this mama smile.  She is the most grateful little gem and I am so proud of her and honored that she is mine.

Happy Birthday to the little girl who made me a mama and brightens each and everyday of our lives with love, creativity, and intelligence.  I don't know what you'll grow up to be...but I know you'll only continue to brighten the world.

*Thanks to Roxanne Engstrom for some of these pic's (probably everyone you think has good lighting is hers;)

My Outrageous Courageous

We started a new video series in my Tuesday morning bible study called Outrageous.  The first week's subject was on Outrageous Courage and the subject was Esther.

I love the story of Esther: love that God put her in a place of influence for the perfect time, love how her femininity is an important part of her role, love her faith and obedience despite her fear, love that despite what she did or did not consider qualifications, God used her "for such a time as this."  I also love that when she expresses fear upon initially being called to speak up, Mordecci (her cousin) reminds her that if she doesn't, God will use someone else to do his will, but she won't escape the fate of the rest of the Jews just because she is sitting in her ivory tower (my own description- I actually have no idea if there was a tower;).

God uses us and that is a gift, he doesn't NEED us to do his will.  I find that a profound and humbling privilege and it grieves my heart to think of times I've squandered opportunities because of fear and missed out on experiencing God's glory being revealed in my weakness.  But alas, that wasn't the focus of this week's study.  The focus was on stepping out of our comfort zone and being outrageously courageous.  It was also our assignment and we have to email a courageous act we do this week to a partner in the group.

Can I just say this is a terrible week for this assignment?!  Isn't it funny how that happens?  I don't have any exciting stories to share.  For me, I've been in a real funk much of the week- I've not mustered the courage to tackle my life responsibilities let alone do anything outrageous.  My laundry is piled up, we've had more than our normal consumption of restaurant food or frozen entrees.  I just don't "feel" like doing much of anything except maybe take a vacation and that isn't on the agenda!  I certainly wouldn't call taking naps every day very courageous!

I don't have great reasons for this.  I have a good life and I know it.  I am just in a funk.  Perhaps is simply the let down after running on adrenaline for 6 weeks with sickness cycling through our children and then my sweet Ava turning 9.

My hubs has also been extremely stretched thin and stressed with work and it's taking it's toll on me.  Initially I was geared up to serve him, but being the "only one serving" (from my perspective) I kind of petered out.  I kind of reached a low on Wednesday.  I felt empty, unhappy with him for not being enough to meet my needs.  I felt like my love tank was empty.  I decided to "get over it" and mustered up my strength to plan a fun evening and low and behold he didn't exactly handle things the way I expected and I became angry, sad and withdrawn.  I went to bed so disappointed in him and the lies about what a horrible person he was and how unattractive and unlikable I must be were swirling.

I spent Thursday sad.  Amidst the sadness, I also struggled because I know I am more fortunate than most.  I know Marc is a good husband.  But he wasn't enough...and I was disappointed. I didn't call a friend cuz I didn't want everyone to tell me how wonderful he was; I was ticked that he was a jerk sometimes.  I didn't want to hear about all the times he isn't! I struggled with whether I was having a pity party or whether my concerns were legitimate and valid.  We've gone round and round with this same scenario over the years.  The same conversation seems to happen in times he's stressed and I feel he becomes self absorbed and feel neglected.  I struggled with if I'd truly been giving grace in the past and should I now or should I be angry and make him realize how he was failing me.  I was feeling hurt so part of me want to say something to hurt him to his core too...and part of me knew I'd regret that forever.

It was admittedly hard to process throughout the day with kiddos around my ankles so he came home and I, obviously down in the dumps, told him almost immediately I was going off duty and went in my room to journal.

Have you ever not wanted to pray cuz you don't really want God to change your heart?  I was there.  I wanted to sit in my anger, defend my rights to be taken care of and poured into and defended and pampered and adored.  I just knew God would call me to lay down my life and I just didn't want to.  Ever been there?  "I just don't feel like laying down my life today, Lord.  I don't want to pick up my cross.  I want to sit here and be mad.  I want to make my husband be who I want him to be.  I want him to grovel and apologize for failing me."  Except the truth is, I knew even if he apologized I would say something really wonderful to him, like, "If you are really sorry, you'd have changed and you are still self-absorbed." cuz I am a super gracious wife.

So I just told God how I felt.  He can handle those things.  Quickly, God showed me my hubs wasn't self-absorbed.  He was work absorbed because he has a ton on his plate and these seasons pass.  Quickly, I was reminded of the dishes he'd done over the week and the fact that he hasn't complained about the  Trader Joe's frozen meals I've served him for dinner or the McDonald's receipts that have popped up in our budget.  He hasn't complained that his clean laundry has been sitting in laundry baskets all week because I hate putting laundry away.  No complaints.  No judgement.  Sure, he said the wrong thing on Wednesday.  He didn't meet my expectations.  He failed me just like he's done hundreds of time in our marriage and just like he'll do hundreds more.  He'll fail cuz he's just Marc.  I didn't need to start recalling my failings...the are numerous this week alone.  What I needed to confront is would I live the wisdom I would pass off to anyone else in this situation?  Would I put my money where my mouth would be? Ugh, how many times have I told others that we cannot rely on our spouse to be God.  Our spouse isn't supposed to meet 100% of our needs, only God can do that.

Would I accept and surrender my rights?  Would I just let myself mourn the fact that my dreams might never be 100% fulfilled this side of earth?  Would I just accept my husband for who he is, weaknesses as well as strengths?   Will I continue to set a bar higher than a human can go because I've read too many romance novels or will accept that my Knight has fought in some battles and his armor has some dents?  Will I accept that not all the battles he has to fight are for me?  Will I accept that I am his priority but not his only one?  Will I surrender my needs and wants and release him to be broken and make mistakes?  Will I chose to forgive even when I may not be 100% understood?  Will I surrender my "need" to be RIGHT?

On paper the answers are easy....but in my heart they are not.  I struggle.  I struggle with unreal expectations and pride.  I struggle.

I realized sitting in my chair that my outrageous courageous this week wouldn't been seen or recognized by anyone else but the One I am supposed to please.  My outrageous courageous was surrendering and remembering that God alone can meet all my needs.  My outrageous courageous was telling my husband of my struggle with unmet needs, but instead of making him feel guilty, I would be confessing and releasing him from unfair expectations.  My outrageous courageous was admitting to myself and to him that I may not be right and my feelings are not always fact.  My outrageous courageous was from this day forward putting a stake in the ground that I will accept that my husband doesn't always handle life well when stressed and it is not up to me to fix that.  My outrageous courageous was choosing to keep pouring into my husband even if work stress continues (to be fair, I know it won't, but in emotional moments these things become mountains instead of mole hills;).  My outrageous courageous was recognizing that the role God has called me to isn't one others will write books about.  Most people won't recognize or see it.  But I have been placed in this marriage with this man for such a time as this....for stressful times when my husband is stretched thin and exhausted.  I have been placed here to pray for him and hold him up.  To make home and my arms a soft place to fall....not a place that stretches him even more.  I have been placed here to lay down my life and love.

I am married to an amazing man.  This post in no way is meant to indict or tear him down.  This post is about me.  I had to decide anew that whether my husband is wearing his superhero cape or seems weighed down with kryptonite, I will lay down my life and love.  I won't just stay and mope and manipulate to get things to go my way...I will love and give.  When I muster up my own strength, as I did on Wednesday, with my own "good ideas" that are really round about ways for me to get my own needs met....I will fail, be disappointed and quickly find myself weakened.  When my needs are met by the One who Satisfies, the stores of strength are unending.

In my pity party, I didn't feel very outrageous and certainly not courageous, but God met me and reminded me that he didn't call me to risk death by going before a king.  He called me to lay my life before the King of all Kings, whose assignment is to daily lay down my life for those around me.  My actions will likely never save an entire race of people, but they might save my husbands day and bolster his heart.  In a world that screams for us to put ourselves first, this surrender was hard fought.

My outrageous courageous is small, but my God is big and the work he did in my selfish heart is one he and I know is miraculous.