Wednesday, December 31, 2008

525,600 Minutes

January 1 has always made me a little giddy; like getting clean notebooks on the first day of school. This year though, I'm awed by the possibilities and eager to write something that matters, on the fresh pages of my life. There's 525,600 minutes stretched out before me; I can't wait to get started!

Do you make traditional resolutions? I used to, but I never stuck with them. Losing weight and getting organized are still on my list for 2009, but they're not at the top. They will come as the priorities align. My top 5; I need to:
  • stabilize my children, and get them healthy.
  • find a Spirit filled church to plug into and read the Bible cover to cover.
  • get a job, an apartment and make a budget.
  • learn to trust again, especially myself.
  • make my children smile more often and take more pictures.
Of course I'd only be giving you half a list without including things like getting rid of my gray hairs and vowing to find a sense of style that all is mine. I need to find the whole me. Thank goodness there's over half a million minutes; I'm gonna need every single one.

525,600 minutes, moments so dear; how do you measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee, in inches, in miles, in laughter - In Love. 525,600 journeys to plan; it's time now to sing out; the story never ends. You know that love is a gift from up above, share love, give love, spread love...
measure your life in love.

Happy New Year,

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Out of Egypt

I am being taught not to worry. It's different than being told not to worry; it is humbling. Over and over again this week as I have cried out to the Lord, He has reminded me He does not need my help... and then exceeds my expectations.

Christmas night I was on my knees, face on the floor, praying, crying, begging for help. I only had 2 people lined up to help me load the U-Haul and a house full of stuff that wasn't even going to fit into it. A dear friend came out to help me sort through the wedding totes and baby clothes, both of which I'd dreaded doing alone. Bright and early I called U-Haul; not only did they have a bigger truck, it cost less money than my smaller one. A friend from choir came to help me get the truck I had no idea how to drive... unbeknown to me, he drives trucks for a living.

And then, people just kept showing up! Never in all my life have I moved so smoothly. There were people packing, people loading, people cooking, people cleaning. Don't worry, Carolynn, I got this.

My family was delayed a day from coming up to get me because there was too much fog. There was too much fog because of a freak heat wave! It was 40 something degrees while the truck was being loaded. May not sound that warm, but it was a seventy degree difference from the week before. You can not tell me He was not there. He was showing off! Showing off His love and provision for me.

We got the truck down to Wisconsin, unloaded it and I turned around and went back to Minnesota for my children. I was so fearful X wouldn't give them to me without a fight. But he needed them picked up early, so he could move the rest of his things out of our old house. So what if I had a 6 hours drive in the snow? We came HOME today.

Home, to family. To Chex Mix and Cake. To grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. Home to My Father's House, in so many ways. I cannot describe how exhausted I am, but I haven't been this happy in a long, long time.

I've got a to do list a mile long for 2009, but I'm excited about every bit of it. The only thing to wrap up from '08 is signing the decree. We are so close to true freedom. The Lord has brought us out of Egypt and into the promised land. Now the key is not to wander around for the next 40 years.

Who the Son sets free is free indeed. (John 8:36) When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (Isaiah 43:2)

Nothing Is Impossible For Him,

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Can Only Go Up

This is, by far, the worst Christmas I've ever had. But you know what? I'm ok with that... can only go up from here; if I flip it maybe it's my best Christmas. And I'm still doing better than half the world. It is almost 2 o' clock in the morning and I still can't sleep... time to count my blessings.
  1. I am saved. I know Jesus. He is with me.
  2. I have 3 amazing children who I'm just crazy about.
  3. My family has their arms wide open for me.
  4. I'm going home to Wisconsin in 2 days!
  5. I live in the best country in the world.
  6. I was a part of the best Christmas Eve service of my life.
  7. I have friends, good friends, for the first time in years.
  8. I am being carried through the valley.
Did I cry like a baby after I dropped my children off with X for the next 6 days, this afternoon? For Sure. But getting them back and being together next Christmas will mean so much more.

Did I have Burger King for dinner, alone in my car on Christmas Eve? Yup. But next year when I sit down with my family to a pretty table with a whole smorgasbord I will savor it.

Am I just gutted about leaving my church? You Bet. But when the Lord presents an opportunity for me to come along someone the way Celebration has for me, I will joyfully serve them.

My heart is hurting, breaking, all over again tonight. A dear friend told me that if I give all the pieces to God, He will put it back together. I wear a necklace that says, "If your heart is open it can never stay broken." Right now I'm handing the Lord a broom because I can't see through my tears to find all the pieces.

But. He will use my mess for His message. I will have a testimony from this test. More than all this, I found the real Christmas this year.

Trust me when I say it was not, for one second, about the tree or what was (or wasn't) under it this year. It was not about a bake-a-thon, traveling or photo ops. This Christmas I met my my Savior at His birthplace, a lowly manger... and I have been blessed.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9:6)

Merry Christmas,

Thursday, December 18, 2008

There Will Be Cake

The kids had their first visitation with X tonight. I simply could not sit home and chew my fingernails off worrying. So I saw Four Christmases. It was funny and I desperately needed to laugh. It was a practice run; he gets them for the whole weekend too.

Deep Breath.

The child support thing is still a mess. Just this morning he agreed to everything that was best for our children and fair, then he talked to his lawyer and called the whole deal off. His attorney gives lawyers a bad name. Who in their right mind would advise a client Not to pay child support? Cold hearted idiot.

Times like these I wonder what's taking God so long to answer me. Then I remember Isaiah 55:8-9, For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. He may answer at the 11th hour, but He will never be late.

Tonight I'm clinging to the hope of Daniel 10:12-13; an angel came to him and said, "...since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom (the enemy) resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes (angels), came to help me, because I was detained there..." Maybe the angels are still fighting their way through to answer my prayers.

I'm going to pack all weekend; it needs to be done and it will keep me busy. Hour by hour, day by day, we're stepping closer to the end. No! To our new beginning. There will be cake my friends, oh yes, there will be cake.

Start The Countdown (13 days)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Festive: The Quick & Confused Version

Do you know Christmas is in 10 days? Ten days people. And I'm just getting started!! We lost a lot of festive ground last week. You know, I always say if you want to hear God laugh... tell Him your plans. Last weekend I planned to put the tree up and decorate the house with my children. Bake cookies, make snowmen yada yada.


So this week, I am rushing to be festive. Kinda feels like this...

Up A Pear Tree,

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Be Kinder Than Necessary

My sister's favorite quote has always been, "Be kinder than necessary for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

Last Friday night the police were called; X broke into my house and made serious threats. I had to wait out the weekend before I could file for an Order For Protection. We stayed with friends but by Sunday he found us. Monday came and he beat me to the courthouse; filing his own OFP, alleging me as the abuser and gained legal emergency custody of our children. Dear God.

I rushed my children into a Safe House just in time. My lawyer met with the judge who ordered the children were to stay with me in lock down at the shelter. X has 5 guns, 2 tazers, a night stick and is, how do you say... unbalanced.

My Dad and my Sister came up to testify in court on Thursday. Life in a shelter is a whole 'nother story, but suffice it to say going to a restaurant with my family was it. Watching my children eat pancakes and laugh for the first time in days... there's no words.

As we were leaving the waitress smiled and said, "Enjoy the rest of your evening."

Six nights before, the police officer, after taking my report and speaking with my children said, "Enjoy the rest of your evening."

One day later I left court a free woman. After I hugged my lawyer she said... "Enjoy the rest of your evening."

I can't explain how those same words, spoken at different times, by different people in the same week, impacted me. One thing's for sure, each of the players were kinder than necessary.

I'm making a conscious decision to pay it forward and will try hard to remember every stranger I meet is fighting some kind of battle. It may just show them Jesus, the way I was shown this week.

For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endureth forever. (Psalm 117:2)


Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Willow

Ron at Troubled Ramblings wrote this for me last night after my first post. It is so perfect, so true, it must be shared.

My Willow
Years ago and miles away
There was a special tree
At a special place
Where I would find love near
Where I could share
My joys and sorrow

In the shade of the tree of tears
With its willowy branches
It shared its serenity
And I shared my chaos
I cried and laughed
Both, in the comfort it gave

Time has taken me far from that tree
And added miles as well
But still there were joys
And there were sorrows
And I looked another comfort
To fill that void

It has taken some time
To come to this realization
Though I loved that old tree
It wasn't the tree that met me
And the one who shared my life
Is still there, as He has always been

Like the faithful willow
He waits when I was sad
For me to come to Him
He waits when I was happy
For me to come as well
And He shares His strength and courage

Far from the tree
I still have my comfort
I still have my gentle breeze
I still have my sunshine
I still have my safety

And He still wraps His arms around me

...I'll wait while you get a kleenex... I KNOW! So perfect. So true. I am awed that God has connected me to so many powerful prayer warriors, to so many kind, talented and beautiful spirits here in the blogosphere.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever He does prospers. (Psalm 1:3)

Rooted In Him,

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hello My Name Is

You knew me as Whitney, because my husband mandated fake names. We've journeyed too far together to keep up the facade.

Hello, My Name Is Carolynn.

Thank you for your prayers, your support and your love over the last 6 weeks. You have impacted my life in ways I could never put in words. I know for sure your reward in Heaven is great.

I'm not intending to post again on the other blog; it is watched... and I am Free. My children and I are moving home at the end of the month to Family; to Wisconsin! I am still in humbled shock that God gave me a do over. I intend to earn it.

When I was a little girl, my Grams had a weeping willow tree in her backyard. My "Happy Place" is there, in the shade of the Willow Tree, surrounded by love, refreshed with a breeze that filtered cool air and sunshine inside the safety of it's branches. I'm blessed you've come to sit a spell with me.

Much Love,