Yesterday, I was invited to speak at a Delta Kappa Gamma meeting. My topic was “Surviving Life’s Ups and Downs”. I was extremely honored to be the invited speaker and I worked for several days on what I would say during my speech. I knew most of the ladies who would be in attendance and I was a little nervous because a couple of them had been my high school teachers.
As I entered the room I noticed several familiar faces. The tables were set with red table cloths and there were little paper trays filled with candy on each table. The president welcomed me and invited me to take an agenda and make myself at home. I quickly scanned the agenda and noticed that right after the welcome and fellowship time there would be a discussion on “Making Choices and Why”. Each lady was asked to take a slip of paper from a basket that had a choice to be made on it. We were told that we would not all like the two choices, but that we must choose one or the other regardless of how we felt about it; then we must tell why we made that choice.
Guess what my paper said….
“Read a Book or Watch TV”!! The whole room laughed because I was there to discuss my book, and everyone knew it!
Soon it was my turn to speak. As I talked about my passion for reading and writing and how my first book came into being, I was thinking about choices in my head and the huge one I had just made earlier that day.
I have attempted to write fictional stories numerous times over the years and each time I have tried to write one I have failed. I did not realize until after Greg died that God did not call me to write fictional stories because He wanted me to write my own true story. That’s why He allowed me to write my whole first book in 48 hours. That’s why He allows me to write blogs in less than 30 minutes. That’s why He gives me so many crazy “Ups and Downs” to survive! There is not a story or word that I have written that I didn’t feel God calling me to write.
Writing and sharing my real life with the world does not come easily for me. I have been called “a narcissistic, judgmental, gossip that doesn’t fact check”, the “furthest from real”, “most attention seeking Jesus do-gooder”, and “fake” person on the planet.
People don’t hold back when they don’t like what you stand for and I guess in a world where anything goes…that’s ok.
Not one time have I ever pretended to be or acted like I was something that I was not. I just obeyed what God called me to do. Some people appreciate it for what it is, and some don’t. I could care less either way. I just care about God’s opinion. In today’s world, that’s tough. Doing what He asks me to do it tough. But, you know what…Him sending His son to die on the cross for my sins was TOUGHER and I can never praise or thank Him enough for it. So, even when it is hard I will do what He has asked me to do.
Looking back, I believe I have been somewhat even in sharing my successes and my failures in life. I take big risks and usually jump headlong into whatever new adventure comes my way. Being so eager to live life to the fullest doesn’t always have a story tale ending. Today, I am here to tell you about a risk I took that failed. And, it is a pretty big one. The lesson and the story!
Heath and I have debated for the past few weeks about our quick decision to move back into my old house. We love it and we love the fact that we were offered the chance to move back into this huge house with all the pretty features. We do love it. We just don’t want to keep paying a house payment when we don’t have to, I mean seriously…what were WE thinking?!
We both work hard for every penny we make and that’s the way it should be. We have also gotten to the point in our lives where we realize that a house does not make a home.
So, we sat down, and we asked ourselves if paying to live in this house was worth the price we are paying by making sacrifices in so many other areas of our lives. Why are we giving up so much of what we like to do when we have another great house right next door to this one that is paid for? We decided that no it is not worth it to give up so much for just a house and a two-acre piece of land.
I have put off having my “cabin” appraised because every time I even think about it I am overcome with anxiety. It makes me want to vomit just trying to imagine that hill without me or my children on it. Right now, my kids run freely all over this place because it is their land. If someone bought that hill it would no longer be their land. I am not ok with that at all.
I have even shown the cabin to three different couples who were interested in buying it and after each couple left I had the same sickening feeling inside. There is just no way I can let someone else have my “cabin”.
After much discussion, and number crunching we have decided that we are going back up the hill where we can breathe again. We are going back to the “little” house where all six of us are stacked on top of each other, but we all have fun. We are turning this ship around while we still can, and we are doing it because it is the right thing to do. We don’t need this big fancy house to be happy. We need each other and if that means saying, “We made a mistake” then so be it.
Life is full of mistakes.
Mistakes mean you had choices.
Some choices are good, and some are not so good.
I am just so thankful to be in a place where God allows me to make choices. He allows me to be the perfectly imperfect human He created me to be. He allows me to make big mistakes. You know why? Because that’s how He teaches us to listen to Him.
I know that I can never make a mistake too big for God to handle. He loves my every flaw…and He loves your every flaw as well. All He asks is that we humble ourselves before Him when we mess up. We ask Him to forgive us for messing up, we accept Him at His word that He has forgiven us, and we stand back up again.
That’s what Heath and I are doing now. We are saying, “Hey, God we messed up… please forgive us for making this mistake. Thank you for loving us enough to show us a better way and thank you for the blessings you have continually poured out on us even through the mistake itself.” And, we realize that He does forgive us!
That’s Grace y’all…and there’s nothing else like it.
Before too long Teresa Dobbs will once again place a FOR SALE sign in our yard. Heath and I will do our best to make the house look clean and presentable when people interested in buying it come to look at it. Please notice that I said, “Heath and I”. These four kids we have may or may not do their part of that deal so well.
If you know of anyone looking for a nice, big house on the edge of town…let me know. We are currently leasing to own, so it is move-in ready as soon as the ink dries!
And, I hear the neighbors are pretty good folks who live for adventure and tend to fall flat on their faces every once in a while…but they do try to always have fun no matter what!