joy

Bus Ride

Fight For Joy 2012

I know it’s been almost 2 weeks, but I’m still here- promise! I don’t even know where to begin, so I’ll see if I can get everything out in an orderly fasion.

Last week I had a wonderful time spending 5 whole days with an amazing group of people. My good friend and former pastor, Jesse Carbo, asked me a few months ago to come and lead worship for the Cross Pointe Orlando youth group in Panama City Beach.  I love how every time I imagine in my head what an event will be like, it always turns out to be so much better. It only proves that God delights in doing us good.

The few days prior to leaving for camp were awful. I shared in a previous post about Abram’s high fevers and my realizations of deep rooted idols. It was a perfect time to get away and be renewed, and that is exactly what happened.

I’m not gonna lie- I was kinda terrified for a few minutes after Daniel dropped me off at the McDonald’s where I was getting picked up. I walked in to 60 teenagers and had no idea what to do with myself. It had been a while.

Once we got to the retreat center in Panama City Beach, things started to roll really fast. I had the pleasure of leading worship with BENJAH all week, and we started rehearsing right away. I hadn’t been in the position of leadership over others in a while as far as music goes, and it was really cool to see how far God has taken me from where I used to be. I feel like two years ago, all of the sound issues and the non-chemistry between musicians would have ruined my week. But we got passed frustrations and let God work, and HE DID. Holy crap.

The first night was incredible. We opened up with “How He Loves” and the whole room was filled with beautiful voices worshiping a mighty God. The Holy Spirit created such an intense atmosphere of unabashed praise and humility, that I wasn’t able to sing at moments. To say it was incredible would be an understatement.

I got to know some of these teenagers and adults so well in a very short period, which made it quite the bitter- sweet experience. What I appreciated so much about these adults was that they were not quick to create some kind of manipulative formula that contrived an emotional response out of the kids. They just let the Holy Spirit lead and speak through them, and the kids broke down and came face to face with their struggles and idols on their own. The typical spirit of guilt was replaced with a deep feeling of relief, which created a beautiful bond and harmony amongst everyone.

God was working on me as well. He rejuvenated my heart and opened my eyes back up to my identity, which is solely placed in Him. I feel like Megan again, and not some soul-less robot that checks a list off every day. He also re-awakened my passion for music and gave me a peace about giving some other things up to be able to pursue that more and give more of myself to my family. But before I get into that hard conversation, here are some i-phone snapshots from last week.

My face looks so round in this picture…

Our tiny dining room.

2xl means a new sleep shirt. Thanks Jesse.

All I ever want.

Our cabin smelled like wet towels and candy body spray. I wouldn’t have camp any other way.

Our cabins had Bible names. Silly Christians.

Our one trip off campus to eat all of the fried chicken.

Liz, Amanda, Becca and James. Good people.

This started a tribal riot.

It got wild.

Knuckles up.

My french fries landed this way when I poured them out, and at the end of an exhausting trip, everything is awesome (also, my husband just reminded me of a public profession I made to never eat McDonald’s again in a blog post…? If I did, I apologize. It was our only option).

Best lesson of the week: Jesus is enough. Jesus is more than enough. Rest.

Best quote of the week: “Shallow Ho’s!” -Katie

Best dancer: Little Geoff. Hands down.

Best worship song: a toss up between Like an Avalanche and Give Me Faith.

For those of you that regularly read this blog, I’ll probably be talking about what God did in my life last week for the next couple of days. I’ve got an announcement coming up, but I’ll wait until later this week to announce it, so that the anticipation grows and makes you crazy. You’re welcome.

 

Venti Iced Coffee and braided shoes

Wordy Wednesday: Bombs Away

Some days all that keeps me going is lots of talks with God and a Venti iced coffee with a shot on top.

Today is one of those days.

It’s not necessarily a bad day, but I am fully exhausted.

Let me preface the rest of this post by telling you that Daniel is going on a leader/pastor-in-training retreat Friday night, and I leave for Panama City next week to lead worship for a camp. So keep that in mind as I share. I’ll bring it back around, I promise.

Yesterday morning, Abe woke up with a fever of 101.6. That’s not terrible. Just a little fever, and no other symptoms. He spent most of the morning on my lap or playing close beside me. Now, yesterday I had planned on setting aside the majority of my time to hashing out the music for this camp. By the afternoon, however, Abe’s temp had rose to 102.5 and he was a blob. He didn’t want to leave my side or the couch. We laid down most of the day, until I took his temp again at four, and it was at 103.1. Medicine, cold baths and fans were not working, and the rising temperature was alarming. I took him to the doctor, and by the time we got there, it has rose even more to 103.6. I was starting to freak out a little bit inside,  but doing my best to be a big girl and keep it cool for my kid. They did all of the general checks, and there was nothing they could find. They then decided to do a urine check, but we couldn’t get Abe to pee, so they had to use a catheter. I probably don’t need to say how horrible that was for everyone. Nothing turned out to be wrong with his pee, so they sent us home. Praise the Lord, his temperature dropped steadily for the rest of the night. Needless to say, the day was not productive at all.

Weird, huh?

I was pretty anxious and upset last night, and Daniel and I decided to talk it out before we went to bed. A lot of stuff came up about life in general, and we talked a bit about this weird funk I’ve been in for about a month and a half now. I discovered, through a really painful conversation and many tears, that I’ve been putting all of my faith, joy and worth in my hubs. I grew up working really hard to get the approval, or even just a smile, from my dad. I knew that had carried on into my marriage, but I didn’t feel or see the reality of it until last night. For two years now, I’ve been working myself silly to get this other person to like me (even though he already does) and prove to him that I can be a perfect wife.

I have massively failed at my mission. Thank God for that.

I’m a “flight” person. When something gets too big or overwhelming, like failure, I check out. Well, after two years of feeling like a failure (completely brought on by myself) I decided to shut off weeks ago. I didn’t do this intentionally, it just happened. This has caused much tension between Daniel and I (particularly in the intimacy department….get over it, we’re all adults here!), and a great deal of distraction from living life.

I didn’t sleep very well last night. It took me forever to finally drift off, and by the time I really got into sleeping, Abe woke up with a fever again. We had to bring him into our bed and help him get back to sleep, which took quite a long time. We got maybe another hour. I spent many moments in the middle of the night praying for relief and rest. It didn’t come. Sometimes that’s just the way it is.

Remember what I said early about that retreat and camp?

This morning, while I was taking a shower, two things hit me.

1) The devil absolutely hates me, and is going to go to great lengths to ruin my life (and the lives within my family), especially in the thick of trying to love others and lead. New things are happening. What better time than now for that bastard to drop some bombs, ay? I mean seriously? The day I plan to work hard on something important and time sensitive is the day my son gets a freak-fever with no explanation.

2) The theme at the youth camp I’m going to next week is “Fighting for Joy.” Hmmmm…. thought I had that down a few years ago when I was under Jesse Carbo (who is heading up this camp). Sounds like I need a refresher course. Now it becomes more than just helping out at a camp. Now it becomes living life honestly with a bunch of teenagers I don’t know for a week.

The gospel is ALWAYS fresh, and we will ALWAYS need it. If you’re the kind that thinks the gospel is something you achieve when you say a prayer and then try to get other people to accept, then you are sadly mistaken. It is a never ending love story about of justification, redemption, renewal and untamed glory. It is a work inside of you that will not be complete until the day your spirit leaves this place.

Today I will press on. Today, you will press on.

In the meantime, pursue God, and pursue Him hard. Be aware of the attacks and distractions, and be thankful for the awareness of them. They usually mean that you are on the right track.

I Built a House

This weekend was stressful. I didn’t really like it all that much. Granted, the stressfulness of it was caused by none other than yours truly. But still.

Last night I was kind of at my wits end and ready to crash; Abram had been in the worst mood all day yesterday. But still felt like I needed to be doing something. There’s a whole long list of stuff to get done for Abram’s party on Saturday, and I just didn’t want to procrastinate.

But I was starting to feel hostile towards that list.

Earlier that day, I happened to open the hallway closet (that never gets opened) to find a vhs that would hopefully entertain Abram for 3 minutes and out tumbled a giant car seat box I had saved to make him a little house out of. I set it aside and picked out Toy Story 2. He ended up not paying one seconds notice to it. I never put the box back.

So back to my hostility. I’m standing there feeling the urge to do SOMETHING productive, but that list just repulsed me. I remembered the box, quickly grabbed it and started cutting. I was focused and really enjoying my time making this little house. When I was done, I felt like it needed something else, so I ran and got another box that was sitting in my room and started cutting that. A half a role of duct tape later, I had a main house with a little tunnel that had saloon-like doors.

I HAD SO MUCH FUN. It was nice to use my hands and focus on something that wasn’t pressing. There was no need for me to make that play house for Abram. I was just doing it because I wanted to. When I was done, all that stress and anxiety I was feeling had melted away.

Sometimes we need to just stop and participate in an enjoyable activity. It ends up being more therapeutic than we realize.

If you are close to a breaking point and start to feel negative about everything you have to do, then stop what you are doing. Pick up scissors and a piece of paper and cut out some shapes. Play a video game. Paint your nails. Grab your kids coloring books and focus on coloring in the lines. Bake a cake for no reason. Bounce a ball outside.

Sounds silly, but I bet you’ll feel better when your done.