Saturday, March 21, 2009

Preview of Coming Distractions (aka: Prayers for Us)

*After finally finishing this eternal post and being, humbly, reminded that I used to criticize others who use their blogs as emotional dumping grounds, I realize that reading the following post may not be up everyone's alley. So, if you're in a hurry or don't have the emotional energy to invest, here's my status in 3 lines:

Busy, but trying not to break down.
Wondering, but trying not to wander.
Distressed, but trying not to doubt.

For you others who like to go through people's emotional dumping grounds, looking for signs of what is to come like an Armenian grandmother reading the dregs of her coffee cup, this one's for you:


Whew, what a week! Who knew my thirties would begin with such activity?

Since my birthday 2 weeks ago, I have:
*went to a "preggo party" where we swapped stories, gifts, and ate with abandon

*seen Owen read another sight word ("bee") without context clues

*traveled to Texas (and back)

*ate with my mom, dad, brother, and sister-in-law

*attended a wedding for Kris and Abby

*socialized at Richland Hills Church with old friends

*ate with my parents-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, niece and nephew

*sewed up a storm with Mom for my baby and a friend's

*crawled around the Arnold's attic to retrieve baby items held in storage

*taught 2 weeks of school (with one GRRReat day of being called a crude name...and a great day of a written apology by Mr. Potty Mouth to follow)

*took 50 kids on the city bus from Roosevelt HS to Fresno State's library and helped them conduct research with my co-teacher/friend

*attended 2 Lamaze classes (no, it's not just the breathing)

*had one flat tire on the way to work (to my father-in-law, no, I did not change it myself)

*four separate medical appointments (including 4 lbs of weight gain, 1 Rhogam shot, 1 failed diabetes test, and the 3 hour follow up test...results yet to be determined...looking at the above list, perhaps there was too much eating in the days prior to my appointment)

*hosted brother-in-law for the weekend (insert Michael and Bryan giggling like school-girls at dumb jokes and much potty humor while I'm attempting sleep)

So, maybe I need the next Lamaze session to be the breathing class because I'm TRYING to slow down. But, life just keeps coming, no?

The weekend in Texas was REALLY difficult for me. I haven't been that emotional during this pregnancy (I should check with Michael to see how biased that perspective is, but he's at the movies with his brother), but I was overwhelmed with emotions while at "home" and bottled most of them up...only to be released through wracking sobs in a bathroom stall at the DFW airport before boarding back to Fresno.

The year we spent in the Metroplex seems like a figment now...and so I wonder, what will this year in Fresno feel like later? I told my mom that I feel like a person who has a teaching job for a year in one state and KNOWS they should be investing in their state's retirement system because you can't benefit without some initial sacrifice of money and they really don't know how long they'll be there. And so, the worker puts in and puts in, and over time, they do start seeing some dividends on their investment...only to move states after a year. So, do they leave their money behind (to grow at a slower pace) or do they pull it out (with an obvious penalty) to reinvest at their new place?

So, being with family at home, work friends at the wedding, and old friends at church was tough. It reminded me that I do have "accounts" still open, and I need to give them some attention...I can't hole up here in Fresno and shut off old friendships. And, as I returned here, it reminded me that I can't withhold time and energy from people here either just because I'm afraid of the "withdrawal fee" later.

Long, financial analogy aside, I feel like that person (and have been that person in AR, CA, and TX with my money). With every place we move, I have to invest myself. We made a decision long ago when we moved to Pasadena not to hold anything back from potential friends and communities, no matter how long we thought we would be somewhere. But having roots in so many places is difficult. Either you are drained by having connections so far flung (a really wide root system and, yes, I AM grateful for the ability to maintain social connections through technology) or you are stunted by severing ties. I don't know how to give it my all without feeling later that I'm penalized for my investment. So, there were friends that I wanted to see, but I chose not to while I was at home. Not because I don't miss them but because I miss them too much to only spend a rushed lunch on an already crowded weekend. (Forgiveness and mercy, friends whom I didn't see?)

On top of all that (BREATHE), I do not know the answers to the following questions posed to me last weekend by at least more than one person:

*Are y'all going to be in Fresno next year?

*How many job prospects does Michael have in Fort Worth?

*Will you be teaching next fall?

*If you do, who will watch the baby? And Owen?

*If you move, when will you be moving?

*If you don't, how will you afford to stay home if Michael is just starting out?

*How much will those student loans be when he's done?

*Really, you still have the red truck...selling it anytime soon?

*What date will Michael be defending his dissertation?

*Will you be going to his graduation June 13th if the baby is due June 9th?

*What if Michael doesn't pass his licensure exam this summer?

*What are you doing for Owen's birthday April 8th?

*When will you be posting pictures of Owen on your blog next?

*When will be your last day of work before taking maternity leave?

*What will you name the baby?

*Is it a boy or a girl?

All VERY legitimate questions that I too would like to know the answers to, but, for now, only God knows the answers to them. Some of the questions I need to be seeking answers to through prayer to the Lord and the counsel of wise people, and some of them, I need to release from my grip and over-active analysis and give back to Him who is in Him who has called us to this Him who has faithfully led us since the days Michael and I accepted His Him who has always invested in us, despite sometimes (no, often), a rather poor return for His sacrifice.

So, could you take a deep breath with us as we plunge into this busy season? Please pray specifically for the following blockbusters in our world of coming distractions:

*Owen's 4th Birthday - April 8th - May he feel loved and celebrated for the joy he is!

*Michael's Dissertation Defense - mid-April - May he be affirmed for his diligence!

*Teaching - May - Have you ever been around a freshman in the Spring? May I have energy to endure and wisdom to decide when to let go!

*Baby - late May/early June? - May he or she be full of life and surrounded by love!

*Graduation - June 13th - May it become a reality and a celebration!

*Job - anytime* Lord! - May Michael use his gift of listening to bless others while being a financial support to our family!

*note my hesitation to say "anywhere" too. The desire of my heart is to be nearer to family, and I feel demanding to ask much more. Still, maybe if YOU ask... :) As if He didn't know my heart already, right?

Please be patient with me.



Patty said...

Oh, Natalie, this is wonderful -- truly a pouring out of your heart to God and to family/friends, all of whom love you so much.

Some of your questions and dilemmas are those with which military families deal all the time: how much time and energy do you invest in people in a new area when you might be there 6 months or a year or however long. (Fortunately, it's usually 3 years but not always.)

Far-flung friends: a blessing and worth every ounce of investment. Trust me on this, Nat. Neil and I -- and our children -- were at the time and are now MUCH richer because we chose to get involved, make friends, and invest our time and energy, whether we were in a place 6 months or 4 years, and anything in between.

I always felt deeply saddened for those military families who chose to sequester themselves away from relationships, thinking they were protecting themselves from future hurts of "goodbyes". I suppose they might have been successful in that, but oh, the joys of relationships that they missed.

Remember when we studied "Calm My Anxious Heart"? Good book to think about right now. My two favorite and most-needed chapters were the "What if . . . " and the "If only. . . " chapters, and in the most stressed-out times of life, I've been known to take the book out and reread those chapters.

Love you -- will be praying for you and yours -- and know God has a wonderful plan for you all!!

P.S. Owen ALWAYS knows how loved and special he is. Trust me! You guys are great parents!

The Tucker Family said...

You are simply amazing! You just blessed my heart in so many ways! I will be praying for you guys! We love you guys!

Julie said...

It's your can say whatever you want!!!

Praying for you...I knew you would be too swamped to get together last weekend and I wound up getting called into work late anyways. Sure would have liked to have seen your face and encourage you in some way.

I reflect on Charles and I's years in Searcy, Little Rock, Memphis, and Crowley and knowing they were all temporary and remembering struggling to invest. When we left each place I had fond memories (but still wasn't super sad to see the Crowley city limit sign in my rearview mirror) and was thankful I invested in some way. If in no other way, but to invest in my relationship with the Lord.

I hear you on so many of these fronts...we get questions like where will you put another baby? what will you do if Storyline can't support you when your funds run out? what will you do about schools? are you going to stay in an apartment forever or when will you try to buy a house? where will you buy a house? how would you afford private school? It is overwhelming to analyze these questions and I have let the unknown steal way too many hours of joy from my current life. But I'm human too and it's hard not to wander...

Hang in there, call when you want to talk or give a gal a sewing tip...

Susan @ Blessed Assurances said...

praying for you---a song I cling to by Rich Mullins, "And step by step you'll lead me and I will follow you all of my days."

I also like Psalms 37:23 "The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives." Knowing God is in the details brings me great peace. I will be praying for you friend, sounds like lots of details are up in the air but God will sort it all out in due time

Special K said...

I am so in awe of your willingness to face these questions directly, with all the beauty of WHO YOU ARE. The answers no doubt will be murky, and I give you the strength and prayer and power to find what your true desires are in the bit of your stomach and go for it. Isn't your heart saying take a year off? Trust that, and You'll find a way to cope with comes from that...

Laura said...

You're such a great writer, you process things so well! Thinking of you and ALL the stuff you shared...thank goodness God knows ALL the answers! I will praying for you!

Connor, Kaylee, Tripp, and Thatcher said...

I think it is great you shared, and I will be praying for you.
On another note, you and I have the same due date June 9th, but I am expecting it to be more like late May.
Keep you in my prayers!

andrea said...

Yikes! You guys do have a ton of stuff going on right now! Just gotta focus on what you can one day at a time and let God worry about the future for you, right? Yeah, easier said than done!!! Talk to you soon!

Kendra said...

Natalie - I "refound" your blog and read every word of this post . . .and I'm glad you "cyber vomitted" (that's what I call it anyway . .) so I could know how to pray for you. I look forward to reading of the ways the Lord Himself answers every one of those questions as only He can. Perfectly. In His plan. By His precise design. Better and more intentionally for the Kingdom than you could ever do on your own.

I will pray. And personally and selfishly, i sure hope He brings you back here!! Or maybe He could just return here to take us ALL home so we could be in heaven!! Now THAT would be grand!

Love you and blessings on your Disneyland trip. Remembering how I felt at 36 weeks with Brady makes me say OUCH for you!!