Friday, July 30, 2010

List time

I am a lister. I list when I'm stressed. I list when I'm relaxed. I list when I'm happy, depressed, anxious, excited, tired, bored, get the picture. For example, I listed things that made me happy on twitter today.
Here's a sort of continuation:

10 reasons I am alive:
1) To serve the Lord
2) To be silly with my sister
3) To always have my friends' backs
4) To learn what the word L-O-V-E means
5) To run til I fall over from endorphins and exhaustion
6) To appreciate good music
7) To cook my favorite healthy foods
8) To play in the sunshine with my kiddos
9) To pick out pretty things like new blog layouts and apartment decorations and blouses.
10) To worship at all times.

I thought you should know. :)
Til then,

Monday, July 26, 2010

Only the Lonely

Titling something before its written seems a bit premature. This time especially, since I have no inspiration or even an idea about what is about to be said. So....don't expect greatness with this blog post.

Almost every emotion possible + a huge cup of joe + too much sugar + a stressful day and sleepless night = a rather uncomfortable Molly. These things are jumbling around in my poor stomach, which is feebly attempting to digest it all. I I'm closing up. My walls are becoming airtight and I'm so afraid that this time no one's ever going to break in. The fact that I have nothing to say about these emotions says volumes. It means I'm distancing myself from...myself, and when that happens I become a fake shell of a Molly and I feel helpless to do anything about it.  It also makes me feel farther away from God, which I KNOW is the last place I need to be. He has given me all the tools I need, made straight my path, and shown me exactly what he wants from me. Why then is it so hard to accept and move on while remaining open and whole-feeling?  Why are the right choices sometimes the ones that break me?

I've been on the verge of tears all day. Some part of me knows that in the loneliness I can come closer to the Father, but that sounds easier than it is actually put into practice. Is a drama-free week too much to ask for? Seems like it.

On a lighter note, I have decided to work strength training into my routine. Muscle burns more than fat, so I come. Its a little bit fun to be a health nut. I WILL wear a bikini without reservation at some point in my life. Mmmm thats probably a vain thing to say. Although maybe I'm a totally vain and shallow person altogether and thats why I don't feel torn apart by all the emotions.... yeah, we'll go with that. At least if I'm shallow it means I'm not a complete mental wreck.

My puppies are so sweet and serene right now. They love to sleep in my bed with me when no one's home to reprimand them. Its actually hard to type cause I'm concentrating so hard on not disturbing them.  Penny Anne is biting something in her dream, and periodically I'll feel a little growl-type-noise from her stomach as it reverberates through my thigh. What a cutie. Even devil-Buddy is saintly as he sleeps. Aw and when they sigh all contentedly it makes my day so much better. I want babies so much. *sigh*

Til next time

Thursday, July 22, 2010

This is my time-out for the day. :)

  In all my dealings with children, I find myself learning how to be a parent more and more, and at the same time learning more about myself and God's relationship with me.
  I try really hard to follow my own advice, the most significant of which being "Make good choices." I tell that to my kids aaaaalll the time, and they know when I say that it means they should think before they act in a way they know I will reprimand them for.  If I tell one of my kids not to scream in the house, and they go right back into the living room and let rip an ear-piercing squeal, its immediately obvious that they have made a wrong choice. When it comes to my own, more adult actions and decisions, however, things get messy. My brain tends to rationalize my actions and make right and wrong seem complicated, blurring the lines so most everything is grey; but if I'm honest with myself, sometimes I just flat out make bad choices. There are days when I have to say, "Mol, you're not making good choices today. You need to straighten up or go to time-out." It comes down to self-control, which I can tell you is a skill that can be applied to most of my life's issues at this point. Needless to say, I'm working on its development.
  Something you learn really quickly when working with kids under age 10 is to keep the directions SIMPLE. The kids are not going to get much more than a snooze if you try to give them a paragraph-style lecture on how to make their craft.  You have to take things one step at a time, one simple task at a time, and while its often easy for the kids to see the end result, sometimes they can't tell what the whole picture is going to look like, and in their ignorance they try to jump ahead. I feel like this is exactly how God works with me sometimes. He can see what the finished product of my life is going to be, and He gives me simple tasks and simple instructions to help me get there.  Too often I play the independent 6-year-old and want to skip ahead; but continually He reminds me that I am nothing and He is everything, I am a servant to my Master, and He will lead me through each step of the process if I stop over-thinking everything and let Him take me. This type of patience is very hard to come by, and I can see more clearly than I'd like to that God is veeery gradually teaching it to me in all its forms.
  Patience and self-control. I'm getting there.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Its been awhile

So it has been awhile since I've updated. Quite awhile. Almost two months? Weird. It got to the point in Peru that I just didn't have time to think of a witty way to put my thoughts in order, and I just prayed when I needed to vent. I think my parents were the only ones that read it anyway....and I think I Skyped them enough to keep them well-informed.
Here's what I'm thinking: I'm going to copy and paste the letter I'm sending to the people that supported my trip to Peru and that way you and I can both have a nice concise wrap-up of the last three weeks in Lima. Enjoy.

Dear friends,
                First of all, thank you so much for the support you have so generously given me, and the trust you offered me so readily.  I don’t have the words to describe how much the trip to Peru meant to me personally and spiritually.  After a few weeks of being home and being able to relax with my family, I felt it was very much time to send you all an update on the adventures I had this summer in Peru.  As you know, the trip to Lima was organized by the Spanish department at Harding University, specifically Ava Conley, department chair.  She and her husband Bill, along with Bob Brown who visited for ten days and led a conference at the church, have been some of the strongest Christians and most influential examples in my life. Their leadership and calm guidance throughout the trip was a learning experience in itself, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to work with them.
 The most important lesson I learned about missionary life was the necessity to be flexible and patient at all times. Your work depends on your relationships with the people, and a lot of times we had to change our expectations to fit other people's needs. Our team trained for about 16 weeks to prepare ourselves for presenting basic Bible studies to Spanish-speaking non-Christians.  We came to Lima with the expectation of following up on 22 World Bible School contacts that had been previously established, and then hopefully creating more connections and studies with the help of the members of the church.  However, once we got there, it soon became clear that our plans needed to change drastically.  Very few of the contacts responded to our invites, and of those that did, even fewer came continuously to study with us throughout the 5 weeks we were there.  After initial discouragement, our passion was renewed with the arrival of Bob Brown and the beginning of the conference (very similar to a gospel meeting) held the 27th through the 30th of May.  Bob is one of the most dynamic people I have ever met, and he preached with such an inspiring passion that we had a baptism on that Sunday, a man named Julio who had been studying and worshipping with the church some months before we arrived. 
Bob and Ava had many discussions about what we as a mission team were going to do next; few of us had reliable Bible studies in the evenings and it left us feeling like we should be doing more.  They made a decision to refocus the goal of the trip, and we shifted our objective to the teaching and revitalization of the congregation.  They seemed to have few practical tools for evangelizing, so rather than conduct the Bible studies ourselves, we began to teach the Peruvians what it had taken us a semester to learn.  They loved talking about the Scriptures and learning what questions were appropriate to ask, and how to broach tough subjects like infant baptism.  We prayed a lot about this shift in focus, and came to the conclusion that it was much like the old saying, “If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day, but teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”  Our hope is that the San Isidro congregation will continue to reach out to the community around them and grow even more in the love that we saw demonstrated so graciously during our stay.
It may be common for a missionary to feel this way, but I saw my own personal spiritual life grow and be positively affected by this mission trip almost more than I felt I had affected others.  I know we made an impact and did the Lord’s work with a spirit of humility, but simply being in an environment where everyone’s focus was God’s purpose and God’s will 24/7 was more uplifting than any experience I have had until now.  It’s difficult to explain the strength of the relationships that were formed, both within the team and among the members of the congregation, because the time we spent together was so unique.  Even at Harding, where the vast majority of people believe similarly and have God’s will in mind, you can’t get the same experience as I have had being in such a different culture with what seems like few allies, away from family and friends and our familiar comfort zone.  We expanded our horizons in so many ways, through visiting museums, trying a fraction of the enormous variety of food (a month is not nearly long enough to experience all the types of Peruvian food), shopping in Inca markets, taking pictures by the ocean, and just hanging out with people of a different culture.  I wish I could take up more of your time telling some of the anecdotes and interesting things that happened along the way, but I’m sure you don’t need a novel.
Thank you again for the chance to experience this wonderful country, and see God’s glory in a whole new way.
Que Dios te bendiga, y muchas gracias otra vez!
In Christ,
Molly Brooks