Friday, May 10, 2013

My first car..






















There's moments in life when you have to step back and say "You're right."
Though it's sometimes hard to do, it shows humility.
My car, would be no exception to those times.

I've never been a ridiculous person, one who wants superfluous things. Still, an old, beat up, not at all in it's hay-day 1995 Honda Civic was NOT my dream car, or first choice. (My dream car at that time, wouldn't have been much better.. but you know)
However; when it was just inside my budget, I wanted so very badly to be free and with a little of dad's coaxing- it was mine, and more of a blessing than I had thought.
It took me awhile to get my money saved back up. After buying my car, and fixing stuff on it.. I was seriously broke, and taking on more hours at work, and odd jobs to not be held down by debts. I know now that it wasn't really anything to whine about. Even in its iffy condition, it's hard to find a car that will get-up-and-go for $1550..
Dad had told me that it was a "good starter car" he continued with, "one you can make all your mistakes in." And it was just that, at times. The part I have to tell him now, He was right about. Sure, at first I was washing it every weekend, driving under the speed limit.. But that didn't last too long. I got comfortable, and started making those mistakes. Still, more than just an old, beat up car- it was all mine.
No way of forgetting that.. I bought it, with all my savings, paid insurance, tags, put gas in it, checked the oil.. I learned to drive a stick in it. There were times it left me stranded, or I abused it. But that's not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of it.
It was my first "adult move" saving up and working for something I wanted. Being responsible for taking care of it. And whoever rode in the passenger seat.

It was sad to see it go today.. lifted on a forklift, with one swift move, as I was given in exchange 2 $100 bills.. Not that I'm complaining. It was more than critics had me anticipating, for it's beat up shape. I still held out hope that they were wrong. But knew it was probably just me finding sentimental value, and pointing out the few things about it that were left to hold in esteem. "Look, the windows.. no cracks. The tint is perfect.. and what about..."
 a hand-shake to seal the deal. And my scribble of a signature on the title, I handed over the keys.. and watched it disappear, in the rear-view. As I drove away. With my customers receipt and $200.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Opportunity knocks..

After my recent post about being a serious Control Freak.. and asking God for an opportunity to choose His ways, over mine; I was given just that. An opportunity.

Recently, our church gave the youth these gifts to hand out at school.
Called LifeBooks. Put together by Gideons. They are designed to be easily related with teenagers. And sort of a loophole. Recently, with all the political issues (separation of church and state) it's been decided that teachers or anyone in an authoritative position at schools cannot persuade a child in any way, or hand anything religion affiliated out.
However, students, still have the right. One that will taken away soon, I'm sure. But for now; we have every bit of freedom to share these gifts with our school. This past Wednesday, we were given 25 each, to start the LifeBook movement in our schools.

We watched four quick tutorials briefing us on how to hand them out: Don't force them upon people, or try to make them feel bad- they are JUST gifts. Be prepared to answer questions, or explain what they are to people. Hand them out in person, outside of class. Don't go against authority's wishes about handing them out....ETC.

Towards the end of the night, we were asked to pray silently to ourselves and think of people to give these LifeBooks to. I just sat there, I did pray but waited until I got home to make a list of the five people I would hand them out to every day. I began writing personal messages and tucking them in there, along with how to contact me, should anyone have questions.

So, I went to hand them out before a trip I had with school. I hadn't given out but two and I was in the middle of briefly explaining what they were; when someone approached me and asked if they could have one.
That's when it hit me. My list.. I was doing it, again. I had taken control of a God-Thing. I was trying to turn this into another list. What was I supposed to say..
 "So, I know this is totally about Jesus, and it's a free gift and everything. But you aren't in black ink on this piece of notebook paper.. so I'm gonna have to go with No."
I quickly and discreetly took the note out of the book and handed it to the young man. "Of course you can" I said, with a smile on my face. Then I finished explaining what it was, all-the-while, the same guy stood there listening intently.
The next day, I saw him walking around school, reading it. Which was one of the most touching things I've experienced in a little while. I'm so glad that this happened.
 Another reminder that God really is on top of things. And his ways are SO much higher than my own. The holy spirit moves, in a beautiful way, that is sometimes evident to only us. I doubt he noticed that I took a piece of paper from the book, or that it wasn't intended for him. He doesn't know I had a list or anything other than he has a book to read. And that's the beautiful thing about it. This wasn't about him, it's about God showing me, and tugging on my heart strings that He is in control, not me.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

His Ways are higher than my ways.... The Diary of a Control Freak

Sigh...
Yes, that's the opening statement I'm going with. Pretty solid.. Not!

Recently, I was reminded of a verse that doesn't usually camp out in my mind (Probably because the campground would be called Guilt Ledge.. where you can plummet onto the not-so-soft landing; known as depression!) Okay, That's probably a little..lot dramatic.
Seriously, though.. this verse kicked me right in the feels, bro!
 it says: "His (God's) ways are higher than my ways."

Pretty basic stuff. You wouldn't think that it would be such an eye-opener. It probably shouldn't be. But the sad reality is, it's completely applicable to my every day life.
I've always been a planner.. even when I was a kid. I would write a script for my barbies to follow..
 Yeah, my cousins would get SO mad.. "I'm going to make Kim say WHATEVER I WANT, Tamara!" so.. yeah, enough spilling about my childhood. That's totally embarrassing.

I like to know where I'm going, what I'm doing, when it needs to be done, how it needs to be done.. etc. I have it all mapped out and organized long before it's ever going to happen. The down side to that, being; I'm often let down because plans don't go exactly as I had hoped. 

 And this is where the verse comes in.. 
Little things in life, unexpected occurrences, believe-it-or-not, can often be a blessing in disguise. We have absolutely no way of knowing or planning everything. 
So wouldn't it make more sense to just let it happen? obviously, if it's happening and it was outside of the plans scribbled on paper, or memos in our phones- it's bigger than us, and out of our control. 
The more time we spend fighting against plans and/or trying to change them, the less time we have to enjoy what's going on.. beyond our tantrums about wanting things our way.
You would think after many meltdowns about my plans not going as I had hoped.. Or, times of not wanting to do things, and actually enjoying it, (after I got over my pouting.. Ahem) I would accept that God knows what He's doing. Everytime.
I have trouble with things I can't see/touch.. online learning.. Yeah, not for this girl. I guess sometimes I treat God the same way. Though I believe that He's real, and I've for sure felt His presence before- Like I said, it's hard to accept that things are just happening. I like to talk through change and have an outline of what is happening before it does.. So I can be prepared.

Lately, a lot has been happening that's SO much bigger than me. I'm trying to fix it, as always.. devise a plan of action and stick with it. A back up plan. Consider how all parties would react to me doing this.. The best things to say, what to avoid saying..etc. Sadly, it doesn't always work that way. Others involved have their own way of handling the situation, and it's not always in agreement with mine. I love to control my own thoughts and plans. But I'm not one to control anyone else, or pressure someone into doing something. So it feels like one step forward, two steps back.. I want it to happen a certain way, and it doesn't.. so I have to accept it and try to move on.
I think another frustrating thing would be that at 18, I don't even  have as much control over my life as I'd like to. 
I don't feel like I have a say in anything that is affecting my future. I don't know almost anything I was sure of just a week ago.. Life is really rocky.. And upside down, backwards.. Every direction but the one I'd like it to be.  I feel like I'm just standing on a little island all by myself, trying to see past the sun setting.. writing messages in bottles, sending them off- knowing deep down inside no-one will find them. At least, no one that can help. Still hoping something will come of it.

The thought has crossed my mind that maybe God is bringing me to rock bottom, again. To show me I CAN'T DO IT ALL ALONE.. No amount of planning or organizing, will amount to anything as wonderful as His plans for me. I've learned this in the past. But I guess it didn't take me too long to revert to my old self. I'm a creature of habit. No matter how much it hurts.. as of late, I've realized;
I have to let go of the control I love having..
I need to ask Him what He has in mind, before I do it.. ask permission, not forgiveness.
I have to stop stressing over every detail. Planning every moment- to watch it all fail. Because it wasn't meant to be. And I was too stubborn to even consider asking if it was in the first place. 
And that's only the beginning.. There's so much to do. But, I'm not in it alone.

God, 
help me, please.. to let go of my fears that keep me holding tight to the say I have in every little detail, the details that cushion me. And help to distract me from the big problems that I don't want to handle.
 Help me to pass the baton to you. I have plenty of history with you; Enough to know that you want what's best for me. And won't leave me to suffer, not without your peace and comfort.
 I can't handle all this pressure I put on myself.. the stress of life at moments like this. I need your help. I always have. I've just been too stubborn to ask for it. Or let go, when I do ask. 
There's only one boss here. And it's you.. Always has been. I'm trying, but I know I'll never fill your shoes. And I don't want to. Just 18 years of living my life has almost done me in. I can't imagine your burden. Bearing everyone's sorrows, forgiving and knowing their every sin. 
Still, you welcome the pathetic cries of me, and others like me. You still call me your child. When I don't understand myself, you remind me I'm made in your image. I am precious to you.. No matter my need to be planning and trying to take over what's rightfully yours.. 
Thank you. For not giving up on me. And for welcoming me back, when I give up on you.. Help me to let go. To give you my anxiety. It won't be easy. But rarely do good things come easily. And you know I'm not the kind to give up. Just help me to not get discouraged along the way.
I love you