Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Was Wrong

The day I graduated from high school was one of the happiest days of my life. I don’t think I had ever felt that kind of joy. I hated those years and for some reason, I just never thought I would make it to graduation. It’s not that I thought I would flunk out or that I wouldn’t be alive… it was that I didn’t think high school would ever end. I never thought it was going to happen, but I was wrong…it did. Thank the LORD! I do still have a recurring nightmare occasionally and it is about being back in high school. I usually wake up in a cold sweat.

I never thought I would ever have a healthy relationship with a good guy who treated me well. I just didn’t think that was in the cards for me. Back then, I guess I didn’t think I deserved to be treated well and I’m sure it didn’t help that I had an assumption that every relationship I was in was going to fail. Basically, I thought every guy who was willing to spend time with me was doing me some sort of favor and it was only a matter of time before he realized he was too good for me. Real love would never happen for me. I was wrong though, God crossed mine and Ryan's paths in 2001.

I never thought I would ever get addicted to alcohol. In fact, right before I became the most active in my drinking, I decided I hated alcoholics… all of them. I thought not being able to stop drinking was an excuse. I didn’t believe alcoholism was a real thing and I surely didn’t think it was anything that could ever happen to me. I was never going to fall victim to another supposed alcoholic’s issues. I was wrong… I fell victim to myself, a gallon a day alcoholic who realized in 2007 I couldn’t stop, even though I wanted to.

I never thought I would ever have a book published with my name on it, but I was wrong. It turns out that anyone can get their name published on a book if they have enough money, regardless of talent. After realizing what a bad writer I was, I never thought I’d be able to write well. I thought my desire to be a writer was just a dream, another thing I would never accomplish. I was wrong… as soon as I let God start driving my writing … my writing improved and now, I’m pretty good at it (even though I’m a terrible speller and suck at grammar).

I never thought I would ever be a good enough artist to have anyone use my work for anything important. I flunked art school, mostly because I stopped going to class. But I stopped going to class because nothing I did was ever good enough for my teachers. I’d never succeed, I sucked. Little did I know, I was wrong about that too. In 2008, God gave me the opportunity to do digital graphics for Him in a modern church environment. I did this for two whole years. He also connected me to a professor who asked me to do some artwork that ended up being published in a college text book.

I never thought I would be able to stand in front of a group of people without being completely self conscious and on the verge of peeing my pants. When I was in school, I dreaded giving oral reports. One of the classes I flunked in art school was art history and I stopped attending because I was required to stand up in front of the class and give a speech. I knew I could never do that. I was wrong… I was the guest speaker at a women’s retreat in October 2010. I have spoken in front of many, many groups since 2008 and haven’t pee’d my pants yet (almost though). Just yesterday I stood in front of over 50 people and shared a 25 minute lesson about how we can give to others the way God desires us to. I’m going to stand in front of a group next week and share my personal testimony. I love being up front and it turns out, God has given me an incredible gift for it. Who would have ever guessed?

I never thought I’d get married, never thought I’d own a home, never thought I’d be pregnant, never thought I’d have a child, never thought I’d have good friends, never thought I’d go to Grand Cayman, never thought I’d live overseas, never thought I’d become a Bible thumper, never thought I’d be able to forgive my ex-fiancé, never thought I’d pay-off my car, never thought I’d be a good sponsor, never thought I’d swim with dolphins or stingrays, never thought I’d enjoy reading to a class of Kindergarteners, never thought I’d enjoy eating fish, never thought I’d have arthritis, never thought I’d believe I’m beautiful, never thought I’d weigh less than I did in high school, never thought I’d have more than 600 Pez dispensers in my collection, never thought I’d be able to accept God’s love and grace… but…

I was wrong. All those things have happened.

We moved to Texas in January of 2003. I was so glad to leave the cold weather of Delaware behind. We had a really bad winter on the east coast that year and because I worked as a payroll tax accountant, I didn’t have a choice about going to work or not on really bad weather days. People still needed to get paid, even when it snowed. Getting to work was such a hassle on those days, especially since the little town I lived in didn’t plow the streets. My Mazda Protégé had a really hard time getting over 4 feet of snow… and my stress level was out of this world. Once in Texas, I vowed I would never live in a cold winter weather environment again… never. My husband is from Wisconsin, so the cold didn’t bother him, but the heat doesn’t bother him either. He never complains. I knew I would never get tired of Texas weather, it was perfect! Hot, hot, hot… one day of fall, one day of winter and then right back to hot. PERFECT!

My husband (did I mention that he never complains), began complaining the summer of 2010. I think it was the day he got in his car after a long day of work and the interior of the car was so hot that the rearview mirror came unglued and dropped to the floor. Now that is hot… and he came home disgusted.

The summer of 2011 has been a beating for most of us Texans. I never thought I’d enjoy being in the 104-106 degree heat working in the yard all day everyday, but I was wrong… I did it all summer. I never thought I’d have that kind of endurance or be able or even willing to work so hard at manual labor but again, I was wrong. It turns out, I’m a good little worker bee and I can push myself really hard when I want or need to. I never thought I could be tough, but I was wrong, with God’s help, I can.

You’d think by now I would know that "never" is a word I should delete from my vocabulary but yesterday, something I never thought would happen, happened. Our beautiful home in Bedford, Texas that we love and adore went up for sale. I cried when I looked out the window and saw the “For Sale” sign out there. We are attempting to sell our home so we can do something I swore I would never do… we are planning to move to Wisconsin. Can you say cold winter weather environment? I guess I was wrong again!  God had actually laid it on my heart long ago, but I didn’t want to face it. But as with all things, God’s voice gets louder and louder the more we try to ignore Him. All these things began happening in our lives and God’s will for us to move seemed undeniable to me. Finally, it came out of my mouth. Ryan almost fell out of his chair when I asked him how he would feel about us moving back to his hometown. He has wanted to go back, but has always very graciously accepted the fact that I would never be willing to live someplace cold.

There are only two things holding me here… our church family who I love more than words can say and the Celebrate Recovery group that I am a part of in my area. If it weren’t for those two things… leaving would be so much easier. I have developed some really great relationships in the last year as a result of those two things and if I’m right, and it’s God’s plan for us to move… it’s going to be really hard to say goodbye. Looking back, I can see how God has been preparing me for this for quite some time. Looking forward I know He will give me exactly what I need to fulfill His desire for me and my family. If that includes Wisconsin, I’m confident He will make sure I have a heavy enough coat.

It’s in God’s hands now, the house is fixed up, the price is set and we have our first showing scheduled bright and early tomorrow morning. I suppose I better get off the computer and go wipe the doggie nose prints off the front windows. I guess the moral of the story is this… when God’s involved….never say never.