The road will go on . . .

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I spend a lot of time in my car.  My job and my home are 50 miles apart, so my round-trip commute is approximately 2 hours long.  I also live a half-hour away from my church.  So I spend a great amount of my week behind the wheel of my little car.

Ever since I got my drivers license my car has been my ultimate me-time refuge.  I can get behind the wheel of my car and hit the highway.  The hypnotic hum of the tires on pavement is better than any new-age meditation music or nature sounds.  It just me and the reflectors that keep me in my lane.  In the drivers seat is where I do some of my best thinking, praying, or just being quiet.  It was in that very seat that a realization fell in my lap that in the past several months I was unable to see.  I was blinded by my own anger and feelings of abandonment.

Life is a series of roads.  Those roads twist and turn.  If we follow God’s directions those roads will take us to where He wants us.  Too often, though, we choose to take navigation into our own hands.  We detour.  We make the road more difficult.  We take exits that we were never intended to take.  We get lost.  It is only with God’s direction that we can get back on the right path.

For the last several months I have tried to take navigation into my own hands.  In some aspects I am right where God wants me.  I teach an amazing class of kids on Sunday morning at church.  I am in school pursuing a degree in Social Work.  My marriage is strong.  But lingering in the background of all of that is the fact that over the summer I detoured and got lost.  It is only recently that I have been able to recognize that where I am is not where God wants me.

I lost a very dear friend over the summer.  He didn’t pass away.  Circumstances at the time simply brought the friendship to an end.  It hurt.  I was angry.  I blamed God for taking away a friendship that I felt I desperately needed.  That friendship was as important to me as breathing.

I am codependent.  I base my opinion of my myself on how others see me.  When this friend needed me I felt important.  I felt valued.  I had worth.  Yet the only one we should look to for our importance, our value, our self-worth is God.  I was looking to the wrong person.  I had detoured from God’s path.  I put the importance of that friend in my life higher than I placed the importance of God in my life.  I’m not saying that God ended that friendship as a punishment.  Please don’t get me wrong.  It was just time for that friendship to end.

Just as life is a series of roads, so are relationships.  Sometimes people in our life travel the same roads as we do, but eventually all roads come to an end.  Eventually every road leads you to a destination.  The same is true about relationships.  Some are only meant to last for a small part of your journey through life.

Such is true with the friendship that ended over the summer.  God brought us together as friends many years ago knowing that we would need each other to travel the same road together.  At times he kept me from getting lost, and at times I kept him from getting lost.  And in that time we both found our way to the true guide on our journey.  We both found a relationship with Jesus Christ that will lead us through the remainder of our days.

So while our roads traveled together for 7 years, over the summer it was time for our roads to take different directions.  In those 7 years he and I experienced a lot of curves, hills, and road construction, but we left behind a trip that was full of beautiful scenery.

And now finally, after months of mourning a lost friendship, after months of feeling lost, after months of trying to navigate the road on my own, it’s time to put the navigation back into hands that I should have never taken it out of.  When I navigate I get lost.  I have no sense of direction.  But when God is navigating I will never get lost.

He will heal my heart.  He will direct me on this path.  He will light my journey one mile-marker at a time.  He will lead me to where he wants me, and the road will go on.

Until next time . . .

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Endless Winter (poem)

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Winter started long ago
Ushered by the summer wind that blew
No more bright days of warmth
Only a fragile memory or two
While summer burned so bright and hot
Snow suffocated all that gave life
Ice hardened everything it touched
A broken heart in eternal frozen night
While summer burned like an inferno
Winter left a path of death
Destruction that can’t be repaired
Cold wind blew in hate in a silent breath
When will the heat of summer return?
Will the desolation of winter ever end?
Will a frozen heart ever thaw?
Will a new season ever dawn again?

Heather L. Flood
11.22.16

Overdue confession

It’s been a long time since I have written a personal post.  I could easily say that I don’t know why I have allowed that drought to occur.  But the truth is that I do know why.  So much has happened over the last several months.  Things that have left little time for writing, things that have left little emotional capacity for writing.

I started this blog 3 years ago as a way to release emotions that I could not always vocalize.  Yet, sometimes it’s just easier to shut down and not even try to put anything into words.

I started back to school in August.  Right now I am working on an Associates degree.  I am doing well in my classes.  I enjoy my classes, even if my writing teacher is a bit odd.

My grandmother passed away in October.  It was expected.  But what was not expected was the way some of my family members reacted to her passing.  Her death got overshadowed for me by the way some of my family members turned into vultures.  It made me sick to know that I have to call those people family.  But . . . silver lining . . . on the trip home for her funeral I had an opportunity to visit with a family member I hadn’t seen or talked to in almost 4 years.  So, out of death came reconciliation.

The last few months have seen me struggling in my walk with Christ.  I know he hasn’t left me.  It’s me that has put distance in the relationship.  I make excuses as to why I haven’t been able to get into my bible.  I have too much homework to do.  I need some “me” time.  I have class or have to work.  I’m tired.  I’ll do it later.

Aside from Sunday mornings at church, I have not cracked open my bible in months.  My pastor always says that you make time for what you truly want.  It’s not that I don’t want to grow in my relationship with Christ.  I think maybe I am a bit angry at him right now.

That’s the first time I have admitted that to myself.

This has been a crazy year.  In January I was feeling good about removing a toxic person from my life.  I was seriously considering starting back to school, something that had terrified me for years.  Things were going well at work.  Friendships were secure and continuing to grow.  But then everything that I held as positive in my life started falling apart.  My secure foothold turned out to be of nothing but sand.

Building on a Solid Foundation

24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27, NLT)


I was a foolish builder.  I put my faith my myself.  I put my faith in friends.  I took control back from God, despite having finally admitted last November that I was incapable of controlling my own life, that I needed God to take control.  I can see now though, that little by little I took it back from him.  I replaced my firm foundation of stone with my own weak foundation of sand.  Little by little that foundation was worn away, and now I feel lost as sea with no land in sight.

Medical problems plagued the station over the summer.  Unrest was rampant in two coworkers, which led to the abrupt departure of both of them.  The one I expected to not get a goodbye from forewarned me of his exit.  The one I put so much faith in, the one I expected a goodbye from . . . nothing.

I’m pretty sure that I am blaming God for taking him away from me.  I got to see that friend come to Christ a year ago.  I was beautiful to see how he blossomed into a strong man of God.  Then just a few months later that man was gone.  It hurt.  I was angry.  I felt abandoned.  I felt worthless.  I have blamed God for letting me give so much of my heart to this man, and then stomping on my heart like a piece of garbage.  But that kind of thinking is not of God, is it?  Nope.

Satan is the only one that would want me to think like that.  He knew he had lost me to Christ, but still found a way to try to keep me from being an effective tool for Christ.  Sadly, it worked.  I have not been the disciple that I could be.  I have been distracted by my own thoughts and feelings.  Heartbreak made me weak.  Anger and self-pity distracted me from the only person I should have looked to in that situation.  Instead, when I should have been looking to God to heal my heart, I turned away from him.  When I should have been searching for healing in God’s word I was not searching for healing at all.  I was allowing anger to harden my heart.  It happens too easily when the heart is weak.  And Satan knew where the weak spot of my heart was.

My heart is still weak.  My heart is still hardened.  I am still hurt and angry.  I still miss my friend.  A small part of me wants to reach out to him so badly.  But then fear steps in . . . what is he rejects me again.  Could I handle it?

I am weak, but my strength lies in Christ.  I just need to turn back to him.  I need to be ready and willing to lay down the hurt and anger that I am holding like a shield.  I need to forgive the man who I always said I could forgive for anything.  I need to forgive myself for turning away from Christ when I needed him most.  I need to ask for forgiveness for trying to control what was never in my control to begin with.

Until next time . . .

Learning how to be angry was the easy part . . .

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Anger.  It’s an ugly monster.  It creeps in and steals the peace from your mind.  If left to fester, anger turns into bitterness.  For some, anger is easily shed like dirty socks.  For others, anger hangs on like a like-sucking leech.  I am among the later group that struggles with anger.
My anger flares when I feel powerless and out of control in a situation.  I recognize the trigger, but have yet to be able to stave off the anger when I know it’s coming.  My anger issues have their roots in my childhood.
My former stepfather was an abusive alcoholic, and he frequently used the phrase, “I’ll give you something to cry about.”  Because of him I had to learn to repress my feelings, because I didn’t dare talk back to him, or express any kind of anger towards him.  I had to swallow it.
My father’s temper is the stuff legends are made of.  Screaming.  Threats.  Demanding control.  The coping behavior I had to learn to exist with my stepfather had to be employed with my father also.  When he went on a tirade everybody around him did best to keep their mouth shut and not exhibit even the slightest hint of wanting to argue back.  He would get up in your face and, with his fiery temper as his weapon, beat you down into submission.
My father’s father (my biological grandfather . . . I never met him.  I was 10 before I learned that the man I knew as my paternal grandfather was actually my dad’s stepfather who adopted my father and his brother when they were children.) was an abusive alcoholic.  My father is a recovering drug addict.  Thus far in life I have not perpetuated the cycle of chemical addiction that seems to dominate the paternal figures in my life.  Instead the cycle that I continue is the cycle of anger.

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Generally behaviors learned in childhood carry over into adulthood.  Similarly, as adults we seek out those kinds of relationships that we knew as children.  Abused children end up as adults in abusive relationships.  I did.  Romantic relationships.  Even one friendship.  That kind of relationship was what knew,  so unconsciously it was what I sought out.
For the most part I am generally a pretty happy person.  The joke is that I poop glitter and vomit rainbows.  People would (and have) described me as perky.  The problem is that not everyone is in a good mood all the time.  When my good mood turns sour it’s as if someone flipped the switch between noon and midnight.  I swallow my feelings and turn everything inside myself, because that’s what I learned to do as a child.  A person can only swallow so much negativity though, before it starts oozing back out.
When I get like that what I desire, what I need is for someone to recognize that I can’t reach out for help or comfort.  I don’t know how to reach out.  I was always taught not to reach out for help, that reaching out is a sign of weakness.  So I need someone to come to me and do what I can’t do own my own . . . give me permission to get the feelings out before they turn toxic.  But rarely does anyone do that.
I asked a friend recently why I am so unapproachable when my mood turns bad.  It turns out that there are a few reasons.
1.  People are so used to the “glitter-and-rainbows Heather” that they don’t know how to react when that changes.
2.  I apparently poof up like a threatened animal and become very intimidating.  I scare people away.
3.  My anger voices itself in sarcasm and negativity.  Nobody wants to hear that.
People just feel it is best to leave me alone until I calm down.
I am determined to break the cycle that keeps repeating itself through my family.  I don’t want Nathan to grow up to repeat the behavior I learned as a child and live with as an adult.  I don’t want Nathan to grow up and not be able to reach out for help when he needs it.  I don’t want Nathan to feel shame when he reaches out for help if he falls victim to negative thinking.
Last December I finally admitted that my anger was beyond my control, and that it was holding me back in life.  I went to Celebrate Recovery, picked up my blue chip, and drew my line in the sand.  The cycle of anger will end with me.
But it doesn’t happen overnight.  It took years for my issues with anger to form.  It will take time to work past those issues.  But I have a wonderful support system that holds me accountable, doesn’t shame me for reaching out, and cheers for each baby step that I take away from that cycle.
But recovery is not always a constant forward motion.  There are setbacks.  When those setbacks come, you just have to pray your way through them, and employ the tools you have learned to handle the situation differently that you used to.
I hit a setback a week ago.  I have not handled it differently that I used to.  I have fallen back into old habits.
I am in the process of getting enrolled in classes for this fall at my local community college.  The first thing I did was fill out my FAFSA.  I contacted the school to find out what my next steps needed to be.  I followed those steps, but each department I had to deal with at the school had no idea of what the other departments were doing in regards to my enrollment.  It was a complete lack of communication that sent my anxiety through the roof.  I felt completely out of control.  Then I found out that my FAFSA had gotten flagged for verification.  I sent in the extra paperwork, but the school was delayed in getting it.  I needed answers, but nobody could give them to me.  I was completely out of control in a situation that I feared anyway, because I am a 39-year-old returning student.  My anxiety translated itself to anger, and I let it happen.
The anger was fueled by the fact that I found myself in the middle of a fight between two friends.  Accusations were made.  Hurtful words were said.  Threats were made.  Things were shared with me that should not have been shared.  Emotionally I felt like I had gone back in time, that I was again that little girl under fire from my stepfather’s or father’s anger.  I couldn’t do or say anything.  I had to swallow everything I wanted to do or say for fear or making the situation worse.  I felt hurt by one friend, and betrayed by the other.  I still feel that way.  I need to confront the betraying friend, but I know that at this point I will just spew accusations of my own, and that will make it all worse.
I need to take this to the accountability team I have at Celebrate Recovery.  I need to pour it all out, empty myself of the toxic negativity that my anger is turning into.  I need to admit to God that I have hurt people in the past week because of my anger.  I need to ask forgiveness from those people.  I need to open myself to the growth that God is working to establish in me.
I don’t feel that Satan has gotten a foothold in my head.  I feel that God is using these situations to grow me.  But I am resisting the growth, because changing old habits is sometimes scary and uncomfortable.
I may have grown up with anger as my security blanket, but things of childhood can be left behind.  God has greater plans for me than holding onto the hurts of my past.
Until next time . . .

. . . but we can be broken together

Expectations are dangerous.  We get and idea in our head about how a situation will play out, or about how a person will be.  Inevitably the idea that we have held to so strongly  fails to become a reality.  We are instead faced with a situation or person that is less than what we wanted, what we dreamed of, what we pictured so perfectly in our head.  We are faced with expectations that are not met, and the result is disappointment.

When it is a situation that fails to meet our expectations then we easily adapt.  We work with what we have to make that situation as successful as possible.  But when a person fails to meet our expectations, we find it much more difficult to adapt.  We become disappointed.  That disappointment turns to anger.  That anger festers and turns ugly.  We say hurtful words, do stupid things . . . we damage a relationship because someone didn’t meet expectations that we had.

People are not perfect.  We are not the infallible creatures that we like to pretend that we are.  We do stupid things.  We say even stupider things.  We set unrealistic expectations that others are somethings not at all capable of living up to, and then we blame them for not living up to our expectations.  People are, as a rule, broken creatures.

Do not try to say that you are not broken.  To say that is to carry unrealistic expectations of yourself.

Too often we seek out people that will fix our brokenness.  We seek others that we think are not broken, and then we expect them to put our pieces back together.  Again, there is that work “expect.”  We expect others to fix what is broken within us.  But that person is too busy trying to fix what is broken in themselves to fix you.  When others can’t fix our brokenness, our expectations of them are not met.  We become disappointed, we get angry, we give up on the relationship.  We throw it away.  We do this because we expect more from others than we are capable of ourselves giving.

People are broken creatures, with all the baggage that we carry with us through life.  We are not meant to seek out others that can fix our brokenness.  We are meant to seek others that will inspire us, and show us how, to fix ourselves.  Even God doesn’t magically **poof** fix us.  We give our brokenness to Him.  In return He gives us the strength to fix ourselves.  He shows us what is broken inside of us, and then guides us to what we need to put those broken pieces back together.

When I hear of relationships that have come to an end because one of the people gave up on the other, it just breaks my heart.  Usually it’s because each person had unrealistic expectations of the other.  Each person wanted the other to fix their brokenness.  But, again, we are not meant to seek out others that can fix our brokenness.  We are meant to be broken together (Casting Crowns kinda knows what they are talking about).  We are meant to inspire others to fix themselves.  We are meant to give our brokenness to God, and he will show us what we need to do to fix that brokenness.

We are all meant to be broken together, not run from each other.  Running away just breaks people even more.

Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together
If you can bring your shattered dreams and I’ll bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us
The only way we’ll last forever is broken together

Those may be the best few lines of a song, because they are so truthful . . . but we must drop the unrealistic expectations that we hold each other to.  We must look at each other for what we really are, and not for what we want others to see.  I don’t want to look at you and see someone who is broken.  I want to look at you and see someone who is working each day to fix the things that are broken, to grow into the person that God planned for you to be.

You are broken, but I am broken, too.  The good things is that as long we trust God to show us the way, we can be  . . .

Broken Together

What do you think about when you look at me
I know we’re not the fairytale you dreamed we’d be
You wore the veil, you walked the aisle, you took my hand
And we dove into a mystery

How I wish we could go back to simpler times
Before all our scars and all our secrets were in the light
Now on this hallowed ground, we’ve drawn the battle lines
Will we make it through the night

It’s going to take much more than promises this time
Only God can change our minds

Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together
If you can bring your shattered dreams and I’ll bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us
The only way we’ll last forever is broken together

How it must have been so lonely by my side
We were building kingdoms and chasing dreams and left love behind
I’m praying God will help our broken hearts align
And we won’t give up the fight

(lyrics courtesy of klove.com)

Until next time . . .

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 26 – Things You’d Say To An Ex

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My mom once gave me a wonderful bit of wisdom after a break up:  “Boyfriends are like jeans.  You have to try on several to find the one that fits perfectly.”
I had my first boyfriend when I was 13 years old.  His name was Dave McFall.  I’m friends with him to this day.
I married my husband, Rob, when I was 28 years old.  We just celebrated our 11th anniversary.
15 years of trying on boyfriends like jeans in the world of dating.  Some were very wrong.  Some were almost right.  Some were just meant for partying.  Some were meant for adventure.  Some were meant to teach me and help me grow.  Some broke my heart.  One tried to take from me what I didn’t want to give him.
Over the years I have made peace with my dating years, and can look back on them fondly (for the most part).  But there are always things that go unsaid when relationships come to an end.

Day 26 – Thing you say to an ex
Some of these things apply to more than one person in my history.  And in some cases, several of these apply to just one person.  I won’t use names though, because I know what needs to be said to whom, and that is all that matters.  I will simply put these statements out into the great big void the things that were left unsaid in my years of dating . . .

“I’m sorry that I took you for granted.”
“I forgive you for cheating on me.”
“I’m sorry I wasn’t the girl you needed me to be.”
“Thank you for showing me where I needed to be.”
“I’m sorry I smothered you and pushed you away.”
“I wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for you.”
“I forgive you for that night in my truck.”
“I forgive you for your mental and physical abuse.”
“I forgive you for lying to me.”
“I forgive you for using me.”
“Thank you for your patience.”
“Thank you for putting up with all of my baggage.  I’m sorry I dragged it into our relationship.”
“Thank you for your support.”
“Thank you for the adventure.”

Until next time . . .

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 3 – Your First Love and Your First Kiss

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Today’s writing challenge topic is actually something I covered, in part, a few days ago.  Today though requires a little bit of expansion on that previous post, and requires me to delve into dusty but sweet memories.

Day 3:  Your First Love and Your First Kiss

Young love.  It’s a beautiful and magical thing.  Feeling your heart race at the sight of the cute boy at school.  Hoping he’ll notice you.  Hoping he’ll ask you to the school dance.  You have no fear of the future or the relationship because you have never experienced the pain of a broken heart.  A first love is like the magical first days of Spring when everything is warm, colorful, full of life, and full of possibility.
I met Bill in the Spring.
I was 13 years old, in 7th grade, and the new student in school.  It was April, 1990.  My best friend, Molly, was going out with a boy named Bill.  I had been hearing about him for months, and he seemed nice enough when I finally got to meet him on my first day at Kirby Junior High School.  I quickly developed a quiet little crush.
He and I did not get along though.
Bill was blonde, had beautiful blue eyes, was a good boy, and was smart.  He was the kind of boy all parents love.
It took several months for he and I to become friends.  By then he and and Molly had broken up in typical fleeting teenage relationship fashion.  We got to where we talked on the phone everyday after school.  We wrote notes to each other.  I fell in love as much as a 13 year old girl is capable of.  All of our friends knew I liked him, and suspected that he liked me as well.
In February, 1991 glitter rained down on my world, angels sang, clouds parted, and the most monumental event in my entire 14 years old life happened.  Bill asked me out!  We were dating!  It was official.  He and I were TOGETHER!  I was sure that nothing would ever top that moment.  I was also absolutely positive that Bill and I would be together forever.
Our relationship was filled with teenage drama.  His parents didn’t really like me.  They tolerated me for a short while, but eventually made him break up with me.  We got back together, broke up again, got back together again, and broke up again.  All of that took place over 6 months.  Finally his parents begrudgingly let Bill and I remain friends.
During those 6 months we were as cute as any teenage couple could be.  We held hands in the halls at school, kissed between classes, wrote notes to each other all the time, talked on the phone all the time.  He was the first boy I slowed danced with.  It was during the Valentine’s Day dance in the school gym.  Romantic!
A few weeks after he and I started going out (the first time) I threw a surprise birthday party for a friend.  All of our friends were there.  There was music, laughing, and everybody had a fun time.  As any teenage party will do, it eventually calmed down.  Music was still on, but lights got turned down.  People found comfy lounging spots on couches and the floor, and we sat around talking and giggling.  At one point somebody said something to got me very embarrassed.  I got up and ran out of the room and hid in another.  Bill came to find me.  We stood in that dark room, alone, talking for a couple of minutes, and then he leaned toward me.  Before I even had time to think he kissed me.  It wasn’t a little peck on the cheek or anything.  It was a kiss.  A real kiss.  The kind of kiss that you never forget, ever.  It was sweet, beautiful, tender, and loving.  It was amazing.  It was perfect, the most perfect kiss I’ve ever had in all my life.
When it was over I was speechless, which never happens to this chatterbox.
That night was the first time I said “I love you” to Bill.
We stayed friends throughout high school.  We even went to the Homecoming dance together our Sophomore year.  We continued to write notes to each other, and to talk on the phone.  We talked about what we each wanted to do with our respective futures.  He wanted to be an engineer.  I wanted to be a writer.  He had such faith in my writing that he was positive that I was going to famous for it someday.
He went on to date other girls, and I went on to date other boys.  But for me, nobody compared to the first boy I loved, the first boy I kissed.  Nobody compared to the boy with blonde hair and beautiful blue eyes that I fell in love with when I was 13 years old.  Nobody compared to Bill.
Until next time . . .

Looking for neon and blinky arrows

Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking and praying about my career.  I can’t shake the feeling that the career I feel in love with so many years ago is not the career that I am meant to retire from.

I fell in love with radio when I was just 9 years old.  I would lay in bed late at night listening to the d.j.’s on all of my local radio stations in awe of them.  At 14 years old I saw the movies Pump Up The Volume and Good Morning, Vietnam for the first times.  When I saw those movies I knew without a doubt that radio was what I wanted to do with my life.

Radio d.j.’s always seemed to me like the coolest people on the planet.  They got to play great music for a living, give away prizes, and let’s not forget the perks like free concert tickets and free c.d.’s from the record labels.  I wanted to be one of them!  I enrolled in broadcasting school when I was 24 years old.  I wanted to enroll much sooner, but I let myself get talked out of it by someone who thought I wouldn’t be able to do it.

The day I walked in for my first day at broadcasting school I knew I had finally found what I was meant to do.  I had found my dream career.  I had classes in announcing where I worked on diction, presentation, and news writing and delivery.  I had classes in radio advertising sales (not my strong suit).  But my favorite classes were in commercial production.  To be able to take a few informational points about a business and write a commercial for them, then to voice it, find the perfect sound effects, and the perfect music . . . I fell in love.  I could easily spend two or three hours on one commercial, not because I was slow but because I wanted it to be absolutely perfect.

My instructors loved me and I excelled in that school in a way that surprised everybody in my life, including me.  I was never one to excel in school, until then.  My placement director had such faith in me that he started very early on at working to find me a job.  I still had about two months left in the 10-month program when he sent me out on a job interview.  I ended up taking that job and technically never finished the program at school.

Thirteen years ago I walked in for my first day at a real actual radio station.  My dream had come true.  I was going to have  a cool radio name, play great music, and give away prizes.  It was all I had ever wanted.  There was never anything else. Never!  I never even made a back-up plan or considered that one day I might want to hang up the headphones and leave the airwaves.

For the past few months I have been considering just that very thing, and now I feel a bit lost.

I have been talking to a friend for the past couple of weeks about what I’ve been thinking.  Today he asked me what I would do if I were no longer in radio.  I have no idea.  I have no other skills.  I could do office work, but I would be miserable.  That same friend then asked me what I would do if I could do anything I wanted.  Immediately a picture popped into my head of notebooks and ink pens laid out in front of me.  I would want to write . . . poetry, short stories, the next great literary masterpiece.

There are a few problems with that idea though . . . One, there would be no income from me while I was writing my masterpiece.  My family can not survive on my husbands income alone.  Two, I love writing.  It is one of my favorite hobbies.  But that is exactly what it is . . . a hobby.  The moment that I decide to make a career of it then it ceases to be a hobby.  It becomes work.  It will no longer be something that I get to do for fun.  It will be something that I have to do to pay the bills.

Writing is my passion though.

Radio used to be, but people grow and change.  Moving to a new radio station would reignite that fire temporarily.  Just as it did when I came to the radio station that I am currently at.  But eventually the need, the desire for change would come out of hiding and settle in again.

I’ve been praying a lot lately about all of this, about what direction God wants me to go, if he wants to leave the airwaves in pursuit of something else.  A few weeks ago an idea fell into my lap like a ton of bricks to put together a magazine-style publication for my church.  I was talking to my husband about it on Saturday night when the idea grew to publish it for free through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service.  Inspirational and uplifting poems and stories from children of God . . . imagine how many non-believers that could reach and possibly (hopefully) lead to Jesus.

Two years ago I wrote a poem about having faith in God no matter what.  I published it on a poetry website a few months later.  I have gotten requests for permission to use that poem on three separate occasions.  One was by a woman who was putting together a collection of inspirational writings for her church.  Another was from a woman who was indie-publishing her story about her fight and victory over cancer.  The other request was from an author who wanted to use an excerpt of my poem in a novel she was writing.  I gave permission to all three requests.  How could I not give permission?

God gave me the words to write that poem even when I had still not opened my heart to him.  He then sent 3 different people to me who wanted to share those words.  That poem was not mine to hold on to.  God put the words in my heart.  I was merely the holder of the ink pen.

Tonight the novel author sent me a message on Facebook that said she is putting together a collection of poems and short stories.  She asked if I wanted to submit anything.  Earlier in the day my friend asked me how I could support myself as a writer until my masterpiece hits the bestseller list if I got out of radio.  Freelance writing gigs, of course.  But I want to write what I want to write, not what someone else wants me to write.  If I submit a piece to the author then I will get to write for me, not for somebody else.  That will be writing that I am truly happy with.

I prayed for guidance in all of this.  Is this God’s way of saying, “Hey, Carrie, here is your opportunity.”  He gave me the love for writing.  He gave me the ability to write poetry and stories that entertain others.  Now I am being given the opportunity to share my writing with more than just friends and loved-ones.  Is God sending me an answer to my prayer for guidance, or am I just seeing what I want to see?

I am terrible at reading subtle signs.  I need neon, flashing lights, blinky arrows, bullhorns, and sirens before I see what is right in front of me.

I will write a piece for the author.  I will submit it to her.  I will continue to pray for guidance.  Everything happens in God’s time and the way God wants it to happen.  I am just here to be his servant.

Until next time . . .

Deliver us from evil . . .

Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering.  Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.  You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.  So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.  For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.”  And, “But my righteous one will live by faith.  And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”  But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
Hebrews 11:32-39
(Text courtesy of BibleGateway.com)
 

Today was a rough day.  I heard from the drummer last night.  Part of me knew that I would hear from him.  It was Tuesday and he is nothing if not consistent.

The drummer is my weakness.  If I were an alcoholic he would be my Bud Light.  Having recognized this I sat down with him a week ago and told him that I need some time away from him to get my head and heart straight.  It didn’t go well.  He got angry.  I lost my temper.  A week later (yesterday) I told a friend that I finally felt completely positive that the conversation I had with the drummer was the absolute right way to go.  I finally felt at peace with myself.  The first few days after the fight I was riddled with guilt and shame because I had hurt the drummers feelings.  I never doubted God and his leading me to rid my life of the temptation that I subjected myself to with the drummer.  I am a people-pleaser and to hurt anyone eats me up.  I wasn’t thinking that the one I needed to worry about not pleasing wasn’t the drummer.  I needed to worry about not pleasing God.

Yesterday I finally felt the weight of that guilt was gone.

And then BOOM!!!!

My phone vibrated last night with a text from the drummer.  Satan saw that I had reached a place where I was able to let go of that temptation and he threw it back in my face.  I was weak.  I took the lid off the proverbial bottle of Bud Light.  I responded to the drummer’s text.  He said that we need to get together for dinner soon.  Hey, Satan, do you really need to put the flashing neon on the sign?  I know what you are doing!”  I never said “yes,” but in my weakness I also never said “no.”  I texted him back with my schedule over the next few days in the hopes that he would see that I am too busy and lose interest.  He just texted back one of the most annoying messages that anyone can ever send . . . “K.”

I was completely distracted the rest of the evening.  I told my husband about it as soon as he got home.  Today at work I was still distracted.  It was so bad that it was actually interfering with my airshift.  My show was terrible today.  That was how much I had let this get into my head.  The thought actually crossed my mind a couple of times to throw in the towel, to get together with the drummer like he wanted, to give into temptation.  That was the moment that  I recognized that I was under attack.  I couldn’t see it last night.  As soon as I was done on the air I grabbed my purse and ran to my car.  I drove to a local park and found a picnic table where I could be alone.  I opened my bible and Hebrews 11:32-39 was the first passage I came across.

I read it and then re-read it and then thanked God for giving me just the words I needed to hear.  God always gives us what he knows we need when we need it.  Today he reminded me of that while I was sitting in the park.

Temptation is always around us.  We all have a weakness . . . mine is the drummer.  Yours might be shopping, or cupcakes, or work, or Facebook, or anything.  We all have something that Satan uses to try to distract us from God.  Last night and this morning I faltered.  God took my hand and lead me away.

“Thank you, God, for your unending patience with this sinner.  I am weak, but you give me your strength.  Through you I am made stronger.”

Until next time . . .

Temptation (poem)

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
1 Corinthians 10:13
 
Temptation or fate
Sin or purpose
A heart that is so confused
Faith in God
To not lead me astray
But too mixed up to see how he wants me used
An addict facing the urge
A pull so strong
Unable to walk away from what I don’t need
The taste so sweet
A high so strong
One more time won’t hurt me
Praying for recovery
Strength to sever the ties
But weakness leads the heart forward
A test of my faith
A lesson in letting go
Can I make it through a battle so hard
But what if there is a purpose
What if he is my way to serve
Is he my downfall or can I fix his heart
He is so lost
I am barely found
Bring me closer, God, before he tears me apart
Your fight is already won
Lead me through the battle
Strengthen my heart and guide my way
My sins will lead me down
An urge I can not ignore
Give me the strength to make it through the day
I am weak, God
I am yours
Take this broken girl and rebuild her for you
Your love is in my heart
But temptation is so strong
I need your strength to be who you want me to
One more taste will kill me
One more time will drown me in dark
Deliver me from the evil at my door
Blind my eyes to the need
Close my heart to the sin it craves
Help me fight the temptation so I see it no more
 
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Matthew 6:13
 
By:  Carrie Leigh
03.19.14