Sunday, June 21, 2009

10,000 Gnats and a Ukrainian Girl

Please let me tell you about my rollerblading adventure tonight.

It started off as any normal rollerblade—me with my calf high socks, rusty “from freshman year” blades, my iPod and a perfect Colorado evening. It was 8:37pm. It didn’t take long for it to turn weird. Let’s just say, I accidental chose my POP playlist on my iPod instead of my NEW SONGS list. So, I started blading to a mixture of Backstreet Boys, NSync, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. I decided I liked it.

Cruising along at my normal speed, on a path I haven’t taken but once this spring, I realized this ride was going to be different. Five minutes in, I was winding down a path that is quite windy, and I noticed a young girl riding her bike up the path and around the curve … I realized she wasn’t going to see me or move over. So, strange thing number one: I was run off the path by, what I realized to be, a small Ukrainian girl, who smiled brightly but definitely didn’t apologize as I awkwardly “walked” on my blades through the grass.

I chuckled, smiled at her parents, who also didn’t apologize even thought their daughter had just run me off the road, and continued on. I finished the windy-ness and decided to go right, or East, which is away from my home. What I’ve learned with rollerblading is that I have to go further than I think necessary, or I’ll end up back at home and realize I was only gone 10 minutes! So I went east. I approached a tunnel. Apparently I didn’t get the memo that it’s customary to yell as you are riding through the tunnel. I heard very creepy noises. I took out my ear bud and listened closely. I realized that a father and daughter were coming through the tunnel—yelling. Ok … whatever floats your boat! I couldn’t quite muster the courage to do it myself, especially as I passed the rest of the family in the darkness of the tunnel. They were yelling too. Strange.

I continued on; at this point, I hadn’t yet realized completely how random of an evening this was. I did the usual loop, purposely taking The Hill. The Hill leaves my hamstrings in knots—but I convince myself the toning it worth it. (I had not yet done The Hill this spring … I am quite sore.) As I breathed a sigh of relief, I started coasting down the slope. I did a little dance to whatever POP song was blasting in my ears. And then I realized that I’d just given a little booty dance to some random beer-drinking guys on a porch …. I turned, waved, smiled and continued coasting. Oh well. What else can a girl do?

I started to head back West at this point. BTW, the mountains and sunset looked GREAT! It was now 8:48. Seriously? Only 11 minutes? Wow. At this point, I’m pretty sure about 10,000 gnats had met untimely deaths upon my forehead. Nasty little things. Definitely had about 50 up my nose. Fortunately, I’d kept all but one out of my mouth. Nast.

There was the tunnel again. I entered, and could see the silhouettes of two bikers. I hoped they would move over for me. They did. But then, as they passed me, the lady yelled. Loud. What is this yelling thing? I’m so out of the loop. I hate being out of the loop. I thought about singing the lyrics to “Genie in a Bottle” really loudly, just to prove I could yell too, but I decided not to.

I reached the tree that I love that reminds me of childhood. I headed up the last killer hill, my hamstrings screaming all the way. I was almost run over by another young girl, though not Ukrainian. I noticed some skateboarders, determined my path home, and veered west yet again. I passed the house that has the cool stone sidewalk. I did a little jig to the current iPod tune—“I Want You Back”.

And, a black cat—a BLACK cat—leaps from the fence to my left and lands right in front of me, causing me to brake last second and wobble a little. She runs across the road and disappears. I spend the next 2 minutes reminding myself that I am not superstitious, that, while the Holy Spirit might choose to use “signs” sometimes, He wouldn’t use a black cat, and that God is sovereign. I am shaken, needless to say. I get back into the groove, mostly because I am excited to take the path that goes past the three backyards that have cool, well, backyards. I love blading past these yards. I’m now listening to “Larger Than Life” … and I take in the scene in front of me. ..


The path I want to take is being watered. (Why the city chooses to waste water on cement is beyond me …) I make a split second decision—I will blade through water. Not safe, I know, but I look ahead and realize I only have to get through 10 sprinklers—5 on each side.

I take a deep breath and head on through. The water is cold, and I have to keep myself from panicking about the fact that it’s “non-potable” and probably sewer water or something. Just near the end of the water shower, I get myself to just relax and enjoy the refreshing spray. I shake myself off, wipe off my cheeks (I’m really hoping the non-potable water washed away whatever gnat guts were left on my face) and dry my iPod. I have water in my right ear that is causing my ear bud to fall out, but that’s okay. The song changes to “Oops I Did It Again” and I head on my way … just as I notice fireworks straight south, bursting in various colors, high in the sky. Seriously? What a random night.

It might seem not that big of a deal to you, but normally I blade at like, 2pm with not a soul in sight, no Ukrainian girls, no gnats, not yelling families in tunnels, no creepy porch drinkers, no black cats, no sprinklers, and definitely no fireworks.

It was quite the night. I wish I had some Godly tie in—but I don’t. Simply this: Sometimes, Life is just random. Go with it. I sloshed through the puddles left by earlier sprinklers further down the sidewalk, and coasted home, doing a little dance to Britney Spears, and totally not caring that a car full of people watched and chuckled. I hope I brought them joy.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Car Conversations Number Two: Angels and Demons

So I'm realizing that Erik and I have pretty awesome conversations in the car. I'm going to capitalize on this and proceed to post "Car Conversations" from time to time. (Now watch, we never talk about anything of any interest ever again.)

Last night, we arrived at band practice early. It was slightly sunny (for the first time in weeks) so we decided to sit in the car and chat, instead of going inside. Not surprisingly, our conversation turned towards the youth group, as it often does.

Picture us, Erik and me, sitting in a car, my seat is laid back, his window is slightly open. We are laughing, chatting, relaxing ... from the outside, you'd never guess what we're talking about: Demons.

(The last series we did with the youth group was on spiritual warfare; it was actually a requested topic! And so, having recently studied it, the spiritual war we are in has been on my mind lately.)

You might see me tap my right index finger on my window and ask Erik a question. The question was this, "So, is a demon sitting right out here?"

Some other questions posed:

Can demons come into our home? or it is protected because, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,"?
If it's protected, can demons come into our home when we invite someone in who is not a Christian? And if so, can those demons then attack us? Or are we still "safe"?
Can demons hear us talking?
How big is our "bubble"? You know--like a personal bubble. The personal bubble protection of Christ that the demons can't enter around me.
Are there angels in our home all the time?
Is there an angel assigned to each person?
When we have youth group ... is the Warehouse a "safe zone"? We painted the picture like this:
There's an angel posted at the door of the Warehouse, and as kids come in, the demons are "checked" at the door. Students who are Christ-followers don't have demons around them, but the students who come who are checking out the claims of Christ, well, they might. And if they do, when they enter the Warehouse, we like to think that the demons have to stay outside. Creepy right? Imagine how pissed off they'd be, having to stand outside and peer in the window. Knowing that those kids that they've worked so hard to twist and distort are in there, with the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, hearing the life giving, live saving words of Christ.

You might call us crazy. You might disagree. But we, I, believe that there is a war going on out there. And if we don't take it seriously ... well, to be honest, I'm not sure what happens if we take it less seriously than we should. But no matter how we look at it, there's a world out there that we can't see. It's simple interesting--and very creepy--to ponder it once in a while.

That's Car Conversation: 2nd Edition.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Stages of Pregnancy ... Not My Own

I am becoming an expert on the stages of pregnancy. Sadly, not my own, since neither of mine have gotten much further than pee on a stick, get excited, bond a little tiny bit with the essence of the being inside me, then cry my guts out.

Sorry to start this blog with such a downer! Wow. Sometimes I'm just a bummer to be around!

Anyway ...

No, I'm becoming an expert on the stages of my friends' pregnancies. Not on the nuts and bolts (though I do hear an awful lot about breast feeding classes, midnight cravings, and changing bodies), but on how an "infertile" person deals with the experience. I've only recently realized that there are actually stages to accepting others' pregnancies. And since this blog is all about me (just in case you were confused and thought it was about something else) and you getting "Glimpses of Me" and what's going through my head, I'll elaborate.

Stage One: This stage is optional, depending on the closeness of the friend, the openness of our relationship, and the circumstances of the conception. If I am lucky, I become aware that a friend is actively trying to conceive. You might be surprised, but this is a Stage for me. It takes time for me to come to terms with this new information. I even tell my friends that I will try to pray for success, but that most likely, I just physically will not be able to. With most, this stage is skipped.

Stage Two: Obviously, the announcement. If I knew the friend was trying, the announcement is a little easier to take. If I had no clue, it pretty much blind-sides me and sucks. If the announcement includes a "oops" in it, or a "we weren't even trying yet", well, that just knocks me down and sending me tumbling into at least a week of "Why, God?" and "It's just not fair!!" I had a very close friend ask me recently what to do when she gets pregnant. Should she call? Should she email? Should she wait for a face-to-face if possible? No, no and no. And yes, yes, and no. And no. And yes ... and I don't know ... My answer is this: My ability to respond with excitement is based almost completely on where I am in my monthly crappy cycle. It pretty much has nothing to do with how good of friends we are, or how much I love you or am happy for you. It has everything to do with A) If I was already bracing for it (i.e. I was blessed with a Stage 1) B) How recently I have been denied, yet again and C) How many other people have announced pregnancies lately. Stage Two is obviously a tough one. On to ...

Stage Three: The Sex of the Baby announcement. Surprisingly enough, this is a stage. Typically by the 20th-ish week U/S I have come to terms with the fact my friend is pregnant, and have actually started expressing interest, asking questions--you know, acknowledging it. And then the "It's a Girl!" or "It's a Boy!" (though in reality, they've all been "It's a Girl!" ones lately ...) comes. Whether I get a text, see a status change on Facebook (ugh. Pregnancy announcements on FB...that's a whole other blog), or get a personal phone call, this stage always hits me with a surprising rush of emotions. Now, because all the recent announcements have been female ones, I am not sure if I would have the same emotional response if it were a boy. It is the announcement itself? Or is it the announcement of a girl specifically? I guess I won't know until someone finally has a boy. Either way, as it stands, Stage Three sets me back a few days. Like I said, I've just adjusted to the friend's pregnancy and now I'm forced to re-accept, re-question, re-shout-unfair!-at-God, and re-pout about my lack of pregnancy. My lack of "girl-baby" pregnancy, in particular. But of course, I get used to it and slowly begin reaching out, asking questions ... moving on. Dealing, as usual. And it's all good. Until ..

Stage 4: The newest stage. The one I'm just now beginning to experience. It begins with Facebook Labor updates, centimeters dialated, contraction counting ... And all of the sudden, barely hours later, I'm hit with the stark truth: My friend is now a Mommy. Forever changed, forever. It takes a couple days to understand--she is a Mom. A Mother. A Mama. She is my age, and yet, has a baby. She does, and I don't. I get very apprehensive about seeing my Mommy friend and her new precious angel. I get very emotional, and I want to run and hide. I don't want people to pity me when they see me around the new baby. I just want to be gone, away from the babies. This stage is frustrating to me, because I wish I could just freaking be excited for my friend. But, in my life right now, I just can't. There is so much more for me to deal with first, to work through and accept. See, it's because I should be carting a two year old on my hip when I go to visit these new babies. I should be an experienced mother by now. Instead, I'm just not.

I thought this was it. I thought it was Four stages and I was
forever stuck in the "My Friend is a Mommy?!" stage.
Turns out, thankfully, I was wrong.

Stage 5: I hold the baby. My wounded soul is bandaged; my heart swells with tentative hope. On Sunday, a brand new beautiful baby was thrust into my arms, all 6 pounds something ounces of her ... and I starting bawling. Bawling out of pent up fear and confusion (see Stage 4), bawling out of months of emotion spent on acknowledging, and accepting this little one's existence (see Stages 2 and 3), bawling out of jealousy and bitterness melting away and hope seeping into the empty space. Bawling, just bawling. Because I don't know what else to do. I don't know anything anymore, except that now, months later, the baby is here. Unlike my babies, this one came to be. This one was used by God (already! She's like, a week old and being used by the Lord!) to touch my soul, and remind me of the glimmer of HOPE that I've stuffed down and covered up with my nasty reality, bitterness, fertility treatments, and angry blogs.

The Stages of Pregnancy ... each one is so difficult for my wounded,trembling heart to take. And yet, here I am, in each of those stages at various times, often overlapping stages, doubling up on stages, stuck in certain stages and all the while, wondering when I get a turn. When my little angel will appear and finally allow me to experience the real stages of pregnancy. Not just the stages of all of my friends'. I guess only time will tell, since God is being pretty silent. For now, at least I can hold my friends' babies and be reminded, even if just for a little while, of the amazing miracle of HOPE.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Car Conversation Number One: Holy ... Who?

I don't know what you and your husband (or wife, or friend, or whatever) talk about while tootling around town, but I can tell you what Erik and I talk about.

The Holy Spirit.

Yep, that's right! How weird are we? We were driving around in Westminster, I think heading to a youth group event, and we were discussing the Holy Spirit and all of the complexities surrounding that. Isn't that great! I love being a pastor's wife! (Actually, it has absolutely little to do with being a pastor's wife; it's really just because we love God and get a kick out of talking about Him!)

So anyway, it occurred to both of us (and this wasn't the first time) how sad/funny it is that the poor Spirit gets, like, no credit or attention! Pretty much because most Christians like to avoid what we don't understand, and most Christians don't understand the Holy Spirit, therefore, He gets avoided!

We easily talk about what God is doing in our lives, and how the Father loves us so much and how thankful we are that Christ died for us ... and then we totally skip the Spirit.

But, what's so hilarious about the whole thing, is the Spirit's doin' a lot of the work right now!

You know when we all pray to Jesus? "Dear Jesus, please give me strength to go to work today and help me to love my husband and spread your love to people I meet..." The Holy Spirit is the one who does all that! Jesus--well, He's chillin' at the right hand of the throne of God! His work is done for now! He's relaxing! (please don't take me too literally here.)

Jesus told us that He would be leaving us and sending a Helper in His place to guide us and give us power. The Spirit is the one here with us now--not Christ! And yet, we're perfectly comfortable to sit back and ignore Him. To gloss over the stories and the verses in the Bible that show the Spirit coming on Christians with power and doing mighty works.

Why are we so freaked out about the Holy Spirit? Why do we ignore Him? In my opinion, He's like, the coolest one right now! He's so active in our lives, and so full of power to affect this world through us, and yet...we don't take advantage of that potential.

So that's what Erik and I discussed in the car one day. I just thought I'd share. :)