Just Being Real
“Strength isn’t a place of perfection, but a place of perseverance.” Nicki Koziarz
“It’s where our own abilities and efforts end that God can truly shine through us in a way that impacts those around us.” Kim Sorgius
“If you feel unclean, unloved, unhappy, unworthy, or unwhole; Remember ‘all this is unfair about life can be made right through the atonement of Jesus Christ.’ Have faith and patience in the Savior’s timing and purposes for you. Be not afraid, only believe.” Elder Timothy J. Duches
“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” Romans 12:12
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
“So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“She who kneels before God can stand before anyone.” Romans 8:37
“My daughter, you are worthy of being loved – not because of the personality, charm, or sense of humor that I have given you, but because you are so precious to me that I died for you.” God, @littlethingsaboutGod
I have spent the last week reflecting on my life and to be real, to be honest with God and myself; and in an effort to be transparent and real, I am just going to put what I have learned about myself out there. This blog is titled, “She Who Kneels Before God, Being Real” and that is what I have found myself doing a lot of recently. Kneeling before God and being honest about my weaknesses and strengths, and my relationship with God. I realized this week by learning and recognizing these things about myself I have grown in my relationship with God. It has also given me the opportunity to accept myself the way I am and to know that God made me, He loves me, and He has a specific plan for my life. His plan included the events that have happened over the last week and His plan included the insights I have gained because of those events. He knew I would come to these realizations at this point in my life. I will admit that at the age of almost 65 it seems a little late in life to come to such important realizations, but just like the old adage, “Better late, than never’, I am thankful that I realized these important things before it was too late for me to change and grow.
Here it is, me being real . . .
- I am not Wonder Woman, even though I have been called that more than once in my life. I am strong in my faith in God. I am strong mentally, emotionally, and with confidence. I will do all things within my power for my family. I can multitask like crazy, but physically I have limitations. My God gave me strength emotionally and mentally through many experiences. He also provided me with many opportunities to gain physical strength, but in my selfishness, I ignored those opportunities. Unfortunately, because of that selfish attitude, I was unable physically to help a family member that I love. Physically I was just not ready to give her the care she needed, and disappointed myself and other family members. I may be Wonder Woman in mind, emotions, and multitasking abilities, but physically I am not Wonder Woman.
- I am stubborn! I am determined to do everything for my family by myself. I do not ask for help easily! I do not even ask God for help often. I am stubborn, hard-headed, and determined not to be dependent on anyone. Being this stubborn is a weakness, not a strength. Reflectively, this character trait started in January of 1987. I did not realize how dependent I was on someone until the sudden death of my first husband. He was killed in a helicopter crash on January 8, 1987. In a second, he was gone. After the shock cleared, the fear set in. Everywhere from banking and finances to putting gas in the car to budgets to hanging a picture on the wall was handled by Mike. Suddenly, he was not there anymore, and I was left to handle it all, even raising our son by myself. The fear was overwhelming, and I decided right then that I would never be that dependent on anyone again. I had no idea where to start with banking and budgets, or how to raise our son without his father. Yet, it is not even that I will not ask a family member or a friend for help, quite often I will not ask God for help, assistance, or guidance. I see it as a weakness to ask for help, I need to be strong and independent. Yet, I have come to the realization that this stubbornness also prevents me from seeking God’s guidance and direction when I need Him most. God is always there, He wants me to come to Him, and it is not a weakness to seek His help, His direction, and His guidance.
- I love God, my family, and my country. I will never be embarrassed or ashamed that I fiercely love God, my family, and my country. Do not ask me to hide my love for any of these, do not expect me to be ashamed or embarrassed. When you walk in my home, you will notice several things. First, you will see the bibles of loved ones, my father’s bible and my father-in-law’s bible, both hold a place front and center in our home. Both of our fathers held a strong faith in God, and they lived that faith. Their bibles should hold a special place in our home. Second, you will notice pictures of family – our children, our grandchildren, our parents and siblings, and grandparents. Memories of those who have left us, and memories of special times in our lives and those we love. Last, but not least, you will see the flag of the United States waving proudly on my front porch. It will wave there every day! How could it not wave proudly every day? My daddy was a veteran of WWII, Steve’s father was also a WWII veteran. Steve’s brother was a veteran and so is Steve. I was raised to love my country, to respect the symbols of my country. I will stand for the National Anthem, and I will stand for the pledge of allegiance to the flag with my hand over my heart. I will love and respect my country and all she stands for.
- I am perfectly okay with being retired and being available to my family 24/7. That is not to say I do not miss teaching, because I miss the students, the ‘aha’ moments, the smiles on their faces each morning, hearing their laughter, and hearing them call my name. I used to tease my students and tell them I was going to change my name, and not tell them my new name. They would just laugh because they knew I did not mean it. Yet, now I find myself just wanting to hear a student say my name one more time. What I would give to hear my students say my name, “Mrs. Murrell, Mrs. Murrell” just one more time. I miss the camaraderie between teachers. I miss watching my students grow and learn. What I do not miss is the multitude of tasks they add to a teacher’s life. What I do not miss is the putting undue stress on students to score that ‘score’ on the state test. What I do not miss is the undue stress they add to a teacher’s mind and heart for every student to pass those state tests and she is considered a failure if they do not meet ‘that standard’. What I do not miss is the constant change in mandated programs and curriculum, when the old tried and true methods worked well for all ‘those’ making the decisions now. I could go on and on, but I will end this part with this,
- I love being retired.
- I love spending more time with my husband and family.
- I love being able to write.
- But I do miss being in a classroom filled with students, their voices, their laughter, their smiles, their growth, and even hearing them say my name 14,000 times a day.
- Then there is the final realization, and it occurred this morning in church. Isn’t God’s timing perfect, and doesn’t he have the most perfect sense of humor, it is as if He was sitting in heaven this morning saying, “Lynne, this is it! This is the moment. I saved the best for the last part of this journey you have been on this week. You are either going to laugh or cry, maybe both, but with either of those emotions, you are going to grow again in your relationship with me. I cannot wait to see your face and feel your heart.” Another weakness of mine is I hold grudges. It is not a pretty side of my personality, and it is one I am not proud of. But it is there – I do hold grudges. I have not watched an episode of 60 Minutes or 20/20 or even Barbara Walters since 1987 because of a grudge. I am not sure if I can ever get rid of this grudge but after this morning, I know I need to. This will be one of those moments when I throw away the independence and go to God for help and guidance. On my knees! There is another grudge I have held for about 10 years, I will not go into details, but just know that this grudge has caused me to be unsettled with a church family and being involved in church life. But that is not all, holding these grudges, holding onto the anger and resentment has kept me from God. These feelings have prevented me from putting God in the center of my life, where He is supposed to be! Here is the lesson God saved for this moment. His timing is perfect! We walked into church and there was a visiting minister. His message was “Full House: Remember the Lord” The sermon was presented by a minister I know very well. He was the youth minister at our former church, and someone Steve and I worked with very closely for about 14 years. He is also one of the ones I have felt resentment towards and held a grudge against for the last 10 years. The message of his sermon was all the things we let in our lives that push God to the margins of our lives, all the things we let into our hearts that keep God from being the center or our lives. “Okay, Lynne, are you listening?” As he began to speak and continued with the message God laid on his heart, I was reminded of the strength of the relationship we had when we worked together to guide the young people of our church family. I was reminded of how involved we used to be. He spoke directly to Steve and I and talked about how valuable we were in the student ministry. His words reminded me of the days, weeks, months, and years that because of the work we did to build God’s kingdom, God was front and center in my life. The message was about “Counting our days we have been fully with the Lord! Count your days in the Lord! Always remember Him! Count the blessings He has given you! Keep God front and center by serving others, by building His kingdom!” God used one of the people I never thought I would hear preach again, speak words God placed on his heart. He spoke God’s words eloquently, and whether he realized it or not there were many words he spoke this morning, that God intended specifically for me to hear. The minister looked right at me when he spoke the words God really wanted me to hear. God moments! God’s plan! God’s timing! I do not always hear God clearly or maybe it is I choose not to be still and listen, but I listened this morning. I opened my heart and started letting the resentment and anger go! It is time to place God back in my life front and center. It is time to serve Him with gladness and to serve Him here in this community. It is time to set about building His kingdom. It is time to kneel before God and be real with my relationship with Him!