Thursday, May 19, 2011


I have boxes on my mind today, both literally and figuratively...

Don't put God in a box.  That's something my pastor has said before and it's not always on my mind, but it's always in there somewhere, ready to come back to my thoughts at any given time.  I think of it now because there are times when I have prayed very specific prayers.  I know that He will answer my prayers, but I'm learning not to limit his power.  His power is limitless, unending and unimaginable.  He always surprises me at how my prayers are answered.  A few years ago, I remember being so busy with my family, church activities and a sick husband that I prayed very specifically for just one day where I could spend all day in bed, doing nothing but resting my body and my mind.  I got my day in bed but it wasn't exactly how I imagined it...I spent an entire day in a hospital bed, getting a blood transfusion after my iron level would never get above almost nothing.  I remembered my prayer when I was there in that little room, and I laughed.  I got exactly what I asked for.  I put God in a box and told him exactly how I wanted to rest and He didn't fail me.  Lesson learned.  I try to tailor my prayers now to be more general, pray for rest, renewal, strength, without telling Him how I expect to receive those.  

The same way people put God in a box, they also put other people in a box.  This is a little harder to explain because my most recent example is very personal and could offend someone if they happened to read it.  At this point in my life, I'm not terribly concerned about offending someone with the truth.  So here goes...yesterday marked the anniversary of the death of a beloved young man who was very special to us and to the community.  As the day went on yesterday, it became apparent that those of us that loved and mourn him had been put in a box.  We were expected to act a certain way, to say certain words, to memorialize him in a certain way.  I chose not to follow those expectations.  I do still mourn him and marked the anniversary privately and prayerfully (the way I do most things these days), but I also privately rejoiced because I have no doubt that I will see him again someday.  There is now some passive aggressive criticism going around because we didn't memorialize "correctly."  Part of me just wants to tell people to grow up and quit being petty.  Then I settle down and admit to myself that some people linger in certain stages of grief longer than others and that's personal and specific to everyone.  I'm no expert but I remember a few stages of grief from psychology...anger, resentment, blame, acceptance, and that's all I can remember.  I don't think "peace" is a formal stage of grief but that's where I am now.  I'm at peace with it.  

Now for happy boxes.  We're moving!  The owner accepted our offer on a house yesterday and we should move in July.  I am beyond excited.  We have lived in our house now for a little over a year and initially, it was our dream home.  We truly felt that God had put the owners into our life and our "rental with purchase option" was exactly what we wanted, and it was.  I now realize that this house was temporary for us.  At first I struggled to accept that when the owners attempted to back out of the contract and wanted to fight for what I felt God wanted us to have.  And then it hit me like a ton of bricks.  Actually, it hit me like buckets of rain...flowing through the walls of the house.  Yes, the rainy season revealed several gaps in the logs and allowed water to pour in.  Notice I didn't say "seep in."  It really poured in like a faucet in several places.  We had begun to suspect that it would not pass a home inspection but were willing to put work and money into it.  When the owners started going back on their word (and contract), it was more than I wanted to handle.  So we're giving it up, happily.  We found a house, actually next door to the house we lived in before.  It's in town (which I love), close to school and Boy's and Girl's Club (which I love), has a fenced in yard (also love), and is about half the price of our current home (double love).  I'm very, very excited to get out from under the negativity that has consumed us the past few months.  I'm very thankful for the opportunity to live there and learn the quirks of the house before sinking my paycheck into it for the rest of my life.  Now to collect boxes.  Before and after the military, when we moved ourselves, we discovered that boxes from the liquor store were perfect for moving.  They usually hold glass bottles so they are sturdy and they usually have handles.  Perfect.  We are downsizing slightly (about 25%) so I may need to get rid of some junk, um, things.  And the girls will be sharing a room again.  That's not high on their wishlist but we explained to them that as a family, we spend most of our time in the common areas--the living room, kitchen and dining room.  The bedrooms are reserved for sleeping, for the most part.  Surely they can sleep in the same room.  Most nights, they do anyway.  And most nights, the boy ends up in our bed or on our floor.  I'm not entirely sure why he needs a bedroom at all!  He's content with a blanket and an empty space within 10 feet of us.  Surely he will grow out of that...

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