When All You Want to Do is Hide

So this is what my blog looks like, I almost forgot!! It’s been a while… 😉

April and May are whirlwind months every year for me, but this year they have flown by before I can even catch a breath. Two state competitions for my piano students, three piano recitals, field trips with Kali, programs for my elementary music classes…the calendar on the fridge is full. Probably most of you can relate!

But tonight is Saturday night and Abe is working so I get to blog a little. 🙂

I thought I’d share with you what I wrote in my journal today. I’m not sure what to categorize it as–stepmom stuff, family life, what-can-go-wrong-will-go-wrong… but I had a “moment” today. So here’s how it happened, straight from my heart. (And journal.)

This morning: RAIN. GO AWAY.

We’ve had rain for like two weeks straight here where I live. Once again, it’s Saturday morning and raining. And I WANT to go to yard sales!! I had plans this morning to take Kali (my step daughter) and Sophia (my 1 year old niece we are watching this weekend) down to West Chester to go to a big community yard sale with my mom and sister, who is up from Virginia. So I get the little girls and myself ready, pack our backpacks with every possible thing that might placate any temper tantrums, and make sure everyone has raincoats on and hoods up. We trudged out in the rain to my car. To find that my sister-in-law forgot to put Sophia’s car seat in my car the night before. (My kind heart doesn’t blame her. She’s busy and has tons of other things to remember. My inconvenienced brain wants to scream.) I plop Sophia on my lap and drive the couple feet to my in-laws house right behind ours. They’re away on vacation, but surely they have an extra car seat around somewhere. Nope.

Poor little Sophia had to ride in Kali’s car seat  and Kali got to be a big girl and use only a seat belt. And my angel mother went out as soon as I called her and found me a baby car seat for $5 at a yard sale. (Have I ever mentioned that she is the best mom in the world? She is!)

So then we go yard-saling in the rain, and it’s OK. I mean not exactly relaxing and no stress, but it was fun.

We got back home around 2pm, and both girls fell asleep in the car. Yay–nap time! We literally didn’t do too much for a few hours. Straightened up here and there, Abe and I watched a show and ate food…a nice lazy rainy Saturday! Not for long.

The girls got up, and I decided since the rain had cleared and it was nice out that I should take our indoor cucumber and pepper plants out and plant them in our garden. The ground was still wet and soft, and I really don’t know anything about gardening but it seemed like a good idea. So Kali, Sophia and I got to enjoy some time outside. I planted our little sprouts and Kali and Sophia ran around collecting dandelion wishes. It was beautiful. When I was done planting we stayed out for a while, playing on the swings, Kali being a big helper and pushing Sophia in the baby swing. Abe came out and got to swing with us for a few minutes before leaving for work.

Can I just say….

WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAPPEN AFTER YOUR HUSBAND LEAVES FOR WORK??

When he’s home, we’re a beautiful little family. Swinging on the playground. Planting a garden. The kids are happy and love him.

Then. He leaves. And chaos decides it’s time to hit. Because now it’s just mom home! (Oddly, I remember that feeling as a kid. Dad leaves, and it’s like OK we can party now, it’s just mom. What goes around comes around…)

Anyway, literally minutes after Abe’s car goes out of sight, and just as I was about to suggest we go inside and get their baths for church tomorrow, my in-laws dog somehow got loose and came bounding and barking into our back yard. His name’s Boone for future reference. Boone is a medium sized, loud, energetic type dog. (In case I forgot to mention, it had just rained for two weeks. Our yard is basically a giant mud puddle.) Boone proceeded to get myself and the two girls very muddy. I can handle cleaning up mud. But I know this dog, and I know that trying to grab him to take him back inside is next to impossible. I’ve been at their house plenty of times when there’s two or three people trying to corner Boone and grab his collar. The in-laws are away, I’ve got two little girls and a mud puddle, and I just groaned at the thought of trying to take care of Boone. I gave myself lots of excuses why I should just ignore it and let him stay out all night. But I ended up going the responsible route.

I left Sophia and Kali playing and chased Boone back through the trail and trees to his house. Where naturally it was impossible to get a hold of him. While I’m trying to get Boone to come, sit, stay, etc. I heard Kali yelling “Mommy!!” and Sophia wailing. Ughh. I left Boone and ran back to our yard. At this point I don’t even care about my mud splashed jeans. As soon as I’m in sight Sophia stops crying. Kali sweetly calls, “Never mind, Mom!” Grrrrr! Since I was running, Boone got excited and ran with me back to our house, and somehow was just sitting there with all three of us. I grabbed his collar, called Abe’s cellphone, and he decided Boone was staying at our house tonight. Yay. He’s currently downstairs with a mat and water and the door closed.

But chaos isn’t done quite yet. Now we have to get through bath time. Kali was so excited to have Sophia play with her bath toys too. I got muddy clothes off both girls, and picked Sophia up to put her in the tub while Kali was climbing in herself. Sophia chose the moment her feet touched the water to stand still and poop. Right in our soapy clean water-filled bathtub. AAAAUGGGHH. Can my shift be over? Isn’t it someone else’s turn? Abe come back!!!

I cleaned up the tub. Refilled it. Shampooed Kali’s hair for church. Got both girls in their jammies, and was literally hanging on by a thread for bed time. And it dawned on me we never ate dinner. *Inhale.* Crackers, bananas, and milk. We can do this. Then it’s bed time.

FINALLY. The girls were fed, bathed, clothed, clean. I gave Sophia her binky and blanket and rocked her in the rocking chair next to the crib for a few minutes while Kali was in the bathroom finishing up brushing her teeth. I started humming the song that Pappap sings to all of his grandchildren when he puts them in bed.

“Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee.”

I didn’t even get past that first line. Because there in the dark room, Sophia cuddled up on me in the rocking chair, with the fan blowing to give her noise to sleep to, I had a moment with God. Lord all I want to do is hide. Hide from the stress, from the problems, from the chaos. Let me hide myself in Thee. Please! Cleft for me. God made a spot for me. For when the hassle is too much, when I need to hide. The Rock of Ages is my Rock to hide in, my place of refuge. It made me think of one of my favorite verses in Psalms, “Lead me to that rock that is higher than I.” 

Kali came bounding in from brushing her teeth and heard me humming. I asked her if she would sing it for me. She sang the first verse perfectly and beautifully, and my whole aggravated heart melted into a thankful spirit. Thankful for the old hymns. For almost-bed-times. For Kali and Sophia.

Thankful that my God lets me hide in Him, the Rock of Ages, when I can’t even make it to bed time.

Both girls are sleeping now. I have a blog post written. Abe will be home again soon! 🙂

I hope you have had a good Saturday too. EVEN if it involved frustrating circumstances. 😉

Until the next time I drop by….

❤ Flossie

 

 

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Learning To Love, FRIENDS (Week 2)

Valentine’s Day has come and gone! Naturally, I got behind on posting weekly about my Learning to Love Study. 😉 So…even though the holiday is officially over, I will still finish out the four weeks of the Learning to Love Bible Study.

Before I get into that, though, I have to tell you about our exciting Valentine’s weekend! Abe, Kali, and I had a beautiful weekend celebrating, and I got a very special present on Saturday. For years, I have been saying I will get my ears pierced. Like for the first time. Once I was finally old enough that my parents would let me get them done, I had lost all desire. I wasn’t big into earrings, and the thought of a needle stabbing my earlobe wasn’t worth it to me. By the time I got to college and was in a dorm full of ear-pierced girls, the idea was starting to grow on me. I kept thinking that one of these days I’ll just go get it done.

College came and went, and I still hadn’t found enough courage to do it yet. My sister, Tricia, also had never pierced her ears, and was begging me to go with her. (You would think by the time we’re in our twenties we could be independent of each other…but nope.) I told her we would both go get it done whenever the first one of us got engaged, so we could wear beautiful earrings at the wedding. Thenn…my wedding came and went. I just cannot find the desire to willingly get TWO needles. Now Kali (my step-daughter) is turning five and is also begging me to get hers pierced. Her father…my ABRAHAM…told her she can’t have her ears pierced unless Mom does. (He did that on purpose!) Honestly, I could probably go my whole life without pierced ears and not care too much. I think Abe and Tricia were both finally understanding that, because they came up with a secret “surprise” for me. Abe’s Valentine’s gift to Tricia, Kali, and me was to take us all to the mall and get our ears pierced. I think he knew if it was a romantic “gift” from him I wouldn’t be able to turn it down! 😉 So I now, FINALLY, have pierced ears. And believe me, I did not like those needles. Kali went first, and was amazingly brave. No tears, and only one grimace when the needles went in. Great, now I have to be brave. Then Tricia was second, because I was hyperventilating. (I’m serious.) She was SO calm and didn’t even blink her eyes! Finally it was my turn. If you could have only heard the battle going on in my mind. “You have to do this–No I don’t.  You want to do this–Yeah…not really. Abe just paid money for this–Ok I’ll do it. It won’t hurt–YES IT WILL. You’ll be able to wear earrings–So what. Kali said she’ll hold your hand…she is on cloud nine looking in the mirror–Ok I’ll do it.” 

Somehow I managed to sit still until they shot those little studs in my ears. It wasn’t too bad, and I can honestly say I am excited about the earrings I’ll be able to wear. I admitted to Abe I’m glad I did it, even glad that he cornered me into it! ❤

 

I’ve been continuing with my Learning to Love Bible Study by Darlene Schacht. (For a link to her study see my last post Learning to Love Week 1.) This week we studied the friendship type of love.

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen or done any other study on love between friends. Somehow the other types of love seem more important. Love for your spouse, love for family, love for God and His Word/ministry seem to all overshadow any type of friendship love. But there are tons of stories about faithful friends throughout the Bible. Jesus called Himself our “friend that sticks closer than a brother.” Growing up next-door to a family with kids the same age as all of the kids in my family, I have always treasured the verse in Proverbs “Better is a neighbor that is near, than a brother that is far off.” Friends are important!

God valued friendships enough to teach about and give examples of them in His Word. This week I’ve enjoyed learning about some of the famous friendships in the Bible. Here’s what I learned about friendship love this week:

  1. Love speaks up, stands up, and shows up for its friends. (David and Jonathon)
  2. Love cares for friends even when they hurt you. (Job)
  3. Love is faithful to friends at their lowest points. (David and Ittai)
  4. Love generously thinks of the comfort of others. (David and Ittai)

I’ve added more prayer requests in my notebook this week. I can think of some friends right now that can relate to one or more of these points. I have a friend that I could speak up for right now; a friend that I can forgive and care for even though they have hurt me; a friend that is going through a hard time; and in general I can always think of the other person first and what might make them more comfortable.

Do you have friend situations in your mind right now that you need to be a faithful friend in? I’m inspired to love my friends more, and be the friend God wants me to be.

Hope you are enjoying this snowy February! Hard to believe March is right around the corner. Don’t forget to go stock up on Valentine’s Candy that’s on sale this week! 🙂

Love,

❤ Flossie

Learning to Love Week 1

February is here. Officially almost one week ago. How did that happen? So much for blogging once a week. (Sorry!) I’ll start being realistic and try for once a month…

Since this is the month for love and Valentine’s Day and all that, my mom printed and gave me Darlene Schacht’s Learning to Love 4-week Bible Study. It’s in a pretty pink folder, and she gave me a small pink 3×5 notebook with it, so naturally I was excited to get started. 😀 (P.S.–A Christian bookstore was going out of business near me, and I got a beautiful pink Bible for half price! I was so excited. If you are one of those people who hate pink…I apologize. I might put a picture up though. 😉 )

I thought I would share what I’ve been learning from it this past week. What I love about this Bible study is it is very open-ended. The questions aren’t the specific, fill-in-the-blank type questions that you find in most Bible Studies online. (Ex. “How many times was the word love mentioned in this passage?”). She divides the studies by types of love–Storge, Philia, Eros, and Agape. This first week has been all about Storge, or the natural affection between family members. She simply puts the day, Bible passage, and main characters at the top of the page, and then asks two questions.

  1. What is the main concept, or what is God telling you?
  2. How can you apply this to the way you love others?

I love that set-up! At first, I was a little thrown off. You ask me to read fifteen verses and then tell you the main concept?? Isn’t that like what we did in Doctrines class in college, except we always had some type of hint based on the notes? So I was stuck, academically trying to figure out what the main concept was. I even thought about cheating by using my study Bible to read the footnotes about the main concepts. But as I kept doing it each day, it was easier to see what the main idea was that God was trying to get across to me.

This week can be summed up for me in one main idea, actually.

Love cares for others first, no matter the circumstance. 

The verses I read this week illustrated over and over again how family members sacrificed, hurt, and surrendered their rights for the ones they loved. What stuck out to me most was how in almost each story, love was shown in the most dire circumstances. Here’s a few examples.

I learned from…

  • Jochebed that love is creative, determined, and will always find a way.
  • The un-named mother in Solomon’s kingdom that love is more important than being right or winning an argument. She was willing to surrender all her rights to the child in order for her baby to live.
  • Naomi that love grieves for and wants the best for others, even when it’s own grief is greater.
  • Ruth that love chooses the hard and difficult road over the easy way out. 

That’s just from this first week! I’m so looking forward to the next three weeks of February. If you’re interested in downloading this free Bible study, here is the link to her site and the study: Learning to Love Bible Study.

I am using the small pink notebook as my personal prayer book. (I already have a prayer notebook that I write down a lot of requests in…honestly, I have about two or three of those. I write down my prayer list, and then lose it…and write another one, and find the old one… I really am trying to have a more consistent prayer life. Now I need to find a consistent spot so I don’t lose all my stuff!) 🙂

Anyway…this little pink notebook is prayer requests that I have for myself, for God to change my heart. I wouldn’t normally share what’s in my prayer notebook, but what I have written down has helped me so much regarding the Bible study. Each day I only wrote one prayer request–basically the words in bold above. For instance, the second one in my notebook is that I would “give up my rights and trust God to fight for me.” I’ve found that writing just short statements from what I’ve learned, and praying it every day along with any others I add, has helped me remember what I learn each day. Many times I do a Bible study and feel like I am drinking from a fire hydrant–I can’t remember from one day to the next what I have learned, because I am learning so much! Praying this way has been a huge blessing to me and a way to remember the main idea of what I learned the day before. Just FYI, something that helped me. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed learning second-hand through this Bible study. Maybe you will have time to read it yourself soon! And maybe I will have time to blog again soon. 😉

Next week I turn 26! And Abe is taking Kali and I to get our ears pierced for Valentine’s Day. Since it’s part of my “present” I guess I have no way of chickening out this time. Besides, Tricia is coming too and she and Kali are dying to get theirs pierced so I will be brave for them… Speaking of low-pain tolerance, at the end of this month I will be getting all four of my wisdom teeth removed. They are almost all in and impacted and facing every which direction, so it will not be fun. Abe is also getting his four out–we are both going in at the same day and time. We must be out of our minds, I know. 😉 Kali already agreed to be our nurse for the weekend! (Just kidding…she will probably spend the night with her cousins and we will sleep away our misery, while texting our moms to bring us ice cream and pudding! What a romantic end to February that will be…)

Happy Early Valentine’s Day!

Love,

Flossie ❤

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Better to Die in Egypt

Have you ever been at a point in your life where you wanted something different, something better? And then something happens…and you change your mind and want your old life back?? (Not speaking from experience, I promise…. 😉 )

I have occasionally wanted something and then got it, only to find out I didn’t really want it at all. AKA, a small sporty car. Give me back my big engine Explorer! 🙂

Abe and I are attending a class on Wednesday nights offered by our church, called “Restoring Love in the Blended Family.” This was our first week. We are watching the “SMART Stepfamilies” video series by Ron Deal. (If you are part of a blended family, which a HUGE percentage of Americans are, please check out the site: Smart Stepfamilies You will be encouraged!)

Before I get to the reason why this blog post title is about Egypt, let me back up. I was excited and cautious when I found out our Pastor was doing a blended family parenting small group class on Wednesday nights. For those of you who don’t know me, I married my husband Abe in December of this past year, 2014, and became an instant step-mom to his beautiful daughter Kali. So we are about 9 months into the whole blended family deal. And it is true, NOTHING can fully prepare you for this life. You think you are ready, and you prepare, and you pray…but it is simply, as Ron Deal puts it, “complex” and there is no easy formula! 

So back to this class, I knew I wanted to go…knew I needed to go. I tried to think through our church families…Umm, who besides Abe and me will be there?? I actually knew of many in our church that would possibly go to it. Will we have to talk? Because I’m positive there’s no way Abe will say anything so that means I will have to. I was relieved when Pastor announced that it is open to people not in blended families as well, as they could still learn from it. Phew!

Another part of me was scared to admit I needed to go. So many well-meaning people took it upon themselves to talk to either me or Abe or both of us about what we might be facing when we got married. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate the advice…but when you are the main pianist at a large church, a lot of eyes watch you! And when you are a staff member, pianist up front, teacher to most of the kids in the church, AND you are about to marry a man with a daughter…there is no END to the advice offered, warnings issued, “I’m praying for you” phrases heard. I remember patiently trying to graciously accept each and all and take as much truth out of them all as I could. But then the wedding happened…and life went on. People still watched, but didn’t talk as much. They just watch us walk into church with Kali, watch Kali calling me mom and getting excited to watch me play the piano, watch us both try to keep her quiet during the service. (Haha! She turned 4 right after we got married…so we got to deal with those fun times right away!!) And somehow the combination of all the talk before the wedding, with the silence after the wedding, and the reality of our life after the wedding, put a little guard up on my heart. All of a sudden, it wasn’t about appreciating prayers and advice and kind people. It was about proving that we could make it, that we don’t have problems, that being a step family is the most natural thing in the world. 

But it’s not.

It’s really hard. 

There, I said it. 🙂 All of the kind people at my church are truly kind–it is only in my heart that I feel pressure to live up to expectations. This class on Wednesday nights is slowly taking that guard off of my heart, and helping me realize I can admit that sometimes life is a struggle. Whether you are part of a blended family or not–life will be hard!

Ron Deal made a statement that was like cool water refreshing my soul: “Feeling lost in the wilderness is par for the journey of a step-family.” How did he know?? 🙂

Sometimes I do feel a little lost in the wilderness. Sometimes when I see the hugeness of it all. Like the fact that Kali is growing up. And just like I grew up in my stable home with mom and dad and brothers and sisters, she is growing up in my home. Is it stable enough for her? Are Abe and I a good team, do we let our own problems affect her when we think she doesn’t understand? Will she ever resent me? Am I doing all the right things as a mom for her? How on earth will I get her through school and make sure she learns and does well in her class? If you are a mom out there–step mom or biological, I’m sure you can relate to the myriads of questions and concerns that bombard my mind constantly regarding Kali. I simply feel inadequate to meet all her needs.

Sometimes I feel lost in the wilderness because I’m not sure where I belong. My life took a turn that I never envisioned–so how do I go forward when I’m not even sure what our family life is supposed to look like? After 9 months, I’ve accepted the fact that we are, and always will be, a blended family. And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. We’re not like my parents, or my family. We’re not like Abe’s family. We’re not like the families that most of our own generation grew up in. So where do I fit in? I’m embracing this new family life, embracing Kali and everything that comes with her. But I realized in jumping in wholeheartedly, it is easy to actually lose my heart’s orientation…lose who I am, myself, as a person, why I chose what I did, why I do what I do. Hence…I’m lost in the wilderness. 🙂

As we sat in the dimmed chapel and watched Ron Deal on the big white screen speak about the Isrealites in the wilderness, I thought about the verse he read about Isreal wishing they were back in Egypt. First they wanted out of their slavery. Then they got what they wanted, and found out they didn’t want it at all. They were envisioning the Promised Land full of milk and honey, peace for their families and land to build a life on. Instead they were stuck in the wilderness–wandering, lost, losing sight of God’s plan and provision for them.

We heard about how that picture is similar to a step-family situation. Two people fall in love–and envision the Promised Land. And then we find ourselves in the wilderness, and wonder what on earth went wrong.

If you are like me, and tired of wandering in the wilderness–don’t wish for your Egypt! Abe and I were encouraged on Wednesday night to not quit until we reach our Promised Land. We WILL get there. It could be long, hard, dangerous, difficult–but God is our God in the wilderness AND in the Promised Land. He IS leading us to right where He wants us right now–in the wilderness. Depending on Him. With the hope of the life He promised when He said, “For I know the thoughts I think towards you…thoughts of peace, and not evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jere. 29:11) And until then, we are finding God’s peace in the wilderness. When parenting problems arise, and worries crowd out our joy, we know we can depend on God to teach us what we need to learn in our wilderness.

It is NOT better to die in Egypt. I’ll stick through the wilderness and die in my Promised Land, thank you very much. 🙂

Honestly Yours,

❤ Flossie Phillips

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Our family when our Promised Land journey began ❤

Mountains in Vanuatu

Do you like to hike? I didn’t grow up doing a lot of hiking, but I have gone on the occasional hike at camp. I also went on what I would call a monster hike on the island of Vanuatu (off the coast of Australia) when I went there on a missions trip in 2013.

This hike in Vanuatu was very strenuous…to understate it! The missionary that we went to visit actually handpicked the people from our church group that he “allowed” to go on the hike to a certain village—it was that dangerous! I remember sitting in the little hut surrounded by natives while the missionary called off names of who would accompany him overnight farther into the bush to a new village. He called off several men, then paused and told us that only two ladies would be able to go—two that he had watched all week so far and thought could do it. I am not a big hiker, and was in no way expecting to go…but he named my name as one who could go. I was actually really scared…the whole trip was a little out of my comfort zone (sleeping in the jungle, no water/hot showers, weird food, bugs!) but when I realized I would go on a hike, of all things, that a very fit missionary considered strenuous…I thought this is the end! I’m going to die in Vanuatu! 😉

We started off to cross several mountains to get to the village. I have never pushed my body to the limit it was pushed on that hike. I doubt I ever will again! One of the men in our group was a former marine (former as in last year!) and now working with law enforcement, and he was even struggling. One of the mountains was a never-ending straight-up ascent. It was not like rock climbing with ropes and harnesses, but several times I was clinging onto roots in the dirt and looking behind me at a gorgeous vista of jungle…and hoping I didn’t fall off! We were all in a line and the pressure was on to keep going. Somehow…someway…I didn’t stop, my heart was pounding out of my chest, and I made it to the top of the mountain. (I have to say, my writing cannot do the hike justice. Simply typing “I made it to the top” makes me itch for better words to describe the agonizing STRUGGLE it was to get to the top! I labored to the top…sweated to the top…the thesaurus does not have an adequate word for it! 😉 OH! And did I mention, I was carrying a backpack that weighed 30 pounds the whole time? That is like…a third of my weight!!!)

Standing, finally, on top of the mountain, I was able to stop, and just stand bent over for what felt like an eternity to get my heart rate back to normal and catch my breath. The others were the same…thankfully at the top there was a little grassy area where we all slumped and dumped our backpacks. I was drenched in sweat. The hot water in my water bottle stuffed in my backpack felt like the best water I had ever tasted. Those of you who enjoy hiking probably know what I’m going to say next— the views kind of make it worth it! I have never seen such beauty before in my life. Green, exotic, un-modernized jungle countryside stretched out forever. The missionary pointed to where you could just barely see the clear blue Pacific Ocean, as well as a distant river that we had passed hours before getting to the mountain. I felt as if I were on top of the world, and the world as I knew it was far away. And I wanted to stay. I wanted to build a house right there and never leave.

I could go on and on about Vanuatu, but the point of this story has to do with an article I read the other day about “Where to go when you’ve reached your limit.” (http://lovingchristministries.com/4-places-to-go-when-youve-hit-your-limit/)  It’s a post for moms, and the point was that sometimes everything in your life just gets so overwhelming and you have reached your limit, and you need to go away and essentially regroup. The author suggested four places…take a walk, lock yourself in the bathroom, go for a drive, or go shopping by yourself. Very practical advice! Because Jesus Himself “got away” to a mountain to pray alone. And at the end of her article she made a statement that stuck out to me…

No matter which ‘mountain’ you go to to pray, remember you do have to come down again. Your alone time helps you center, refresh, renew. Schedule it, keep the appointments, use the time to enjoy being with yourself, and then come back ‘down’ and keep working to make the earth His kingdom. 

And I realized much of my struggles in life can be because I don’t want to come down off the mountain. I worry about the valleys…I worry about climbing back UP the mountain once I’m off it! 🙂 When I was hiking in Vanuatu, I had reached my limit getting to the top of that one mountain. I had reached beyond what I thought my limit was! And I needed to take that break, sit in the comfy grass, take in the view, and drink some water. But the truth is, as much as it was incredible and I wanted to stay, we had to keep going. We had more mountains to cross, and a village of people waiting for us. And what an experience that was! I was the first white girl with dark hair that the villagers had ever seen. They kept coming right up to me and touching my hair!! I was a little freaked out. And then we all met in the thatched-roof little church hut, and we sang hymns…hymns like straight out of our padded pews, sound-system, modernized church! They sang in their language and we sang in ours, and I realized we are one big family. It was an awesome opportunity and experience. But I had to come down the mountain to experience it.

I need the mountains in my life for after I’ve reached my limit of climbing.

I need to spend that time alone with God.

I need to spend the time alone hiding behind our big bed and sneaking M&Ms while Kali reads her books in the other room. (I hide because if she so much as hears the wrapper rattle she will be booking it over to my room to check out the suspicious noise and ask what I’m eating! Haha)

But I have to come down. Jesus came down. Life isn’t lived on the mountaintops—it’s lived in the valleys and crossing the rivers and being with other people who are different from you.

Don’t be afraid to leave the mountain, and experience God’s greatness in the valley. Hope you found some encouragement from this today like I did. 🙂

❤ Flossie

P.S…I have SO many stories from Vanuatu…I might start sharing them on here soon! Such an amazing experience…if you have never gone on a missions trip, sign up! 🙂

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trying to get some of the scenery in the background!

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This is the grassy top of the mountain that I mentioned…we needed the break! 🙂

Free From Fear

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.”

The very first fear that I can remember in my life was my fear of walking down the dark wooden steps to my family’s dark damp basement. It’s a fear that I share with all four of my siblings—we used to waste so much time arguing or bargaining over who would go down first and turn on the lights! But one day, I guess my mom had had enough of stopping her work to go turn on the basement lights for us half a dozen times a day. She taught me something that freed me—freed me to be the first one down those steps every time. She sat me down (as the oldest one at home at the time) and taught me that verse out of Psalms, the verse that is hidden deep in my heart and still comforts my soul to this day.

What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.” I took another step, holding onto the railing with all of my might! “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.” I made it one step at a time, repeating the verse every time I took another step down the stairs. I vividly remember those steps and that verse being repeated over and over. Amazingly, I never needed anyone else to go down and turn on the lights for me again! God’s Word has power. From that day on, I was the big sister who would turn the lights on for the other kids every day. (And my mom could do her work un-interrupted! A fact I appreciate more these days… 🙂 )

Today, I am faced with more fears than I thought possible. I’m four months into this whole step-mom thing, and here’s the latest realization that has hit me: Having a child = multiplied fears. Sometimes the fear overwhelms me—what if she chokes on the granola bar I give her while she’s playing in her room, and I don’t hear her? What if I lose her in the store? (Probably not possible at this point, since my fear makes me demand that she holds my hand the whole time…I know she’s 4 years old, just humor me…I’m new at this, as if it were my first time baby! 🙂 ) What if she doesn’t have friends in her class, what if she has a nightmare and I don’t hear her cry?

As a teacher, I get lots of training in child care and protection, and the statistics I hear in meetings can sometimes send my heart into panic mode. 1 out of every 4 little girls will be abused at some point in her childhood. I know way more than four little girls…and the fear I feel thinking about that… I will do everything in my power to make sure my little girl never has to face that! I could go on and on about my fears and what ifs. I have to be careful about not being an over-protective parent…Yeah, I even fear about that! But don’t worry, Abe won’t let me be too over-protective. He is the opposite of me, and is one of those scary people who has no fear of anything. I just pray somehow we will balance each other and our kids out… 😉 

The verse is still true though, whether it is me as a child scared of the dark basement, or me as an adult, scared to face the realities of our world and the way they affect my family. I can still trust in God. It’s easy to want to run away—Satan sends those thoughts about how I could still be on my own and single and living for myself. But then I would have never seen how much I need God, I need Him to help me and my family and to guide us through this crazy life. So instead of running away, I take one step of faith at a time”What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.”

Do you have a particular verse that has helped you overcome fear? It is amazing how conquering one fear gives you courage to face the other fears! I hope you can find a verse that you can just repeat over and over until you are free from your fear. Because it will free you—the Bible says “The truth will set you free,” and fear is a liar! The truth is God is on our side, He hears us and sees us, and wants good for us, not evil. Feel free to contact me if you want a list of other fear verses! 🙂

❤ Flossie