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

11587_10152570293662828_4058620318663179003_n

Our family when our Promised Land journey began ❤

Advertisements

Jealous Letter to Those Who Were Born

Dear Alive Person,

You probably didn’t expect to live in a world where simply being born was a luxury that 56 million human beings were denied. But still, you were given the gift of life, and I hope you know what you were given.

You were given the chance.
You were given the possibility of having a life full of experiences, colors, tastes, smells, smiles, and love.
You were given the opportunity to grow into a mature person, with dreams and goals and aspirations to pursue in any way you would like.
You were given the option to make the best out of whatever situation you were born into–because no matter the circumstances, at least you were born
You maybe were given the good fortune to be adopted into a loving family.
You possibly were given the destiny of living a special needs life–surrounded by skilled, educated care-givers, touching lives in a special way that others can’t.
You definitely were given the precious commodities that all of you living people share–Oxygen. Water. Breath in your lungs, blood in your veins.

Do you see why I can’t help being jealous of you? I wasn’t even given the chance to know what was happening to me. You continued growing in your safe womb–I had no idea mine wasn’t safe. I was the unfortunate one…the one who wasn’t given a choice. The one whose opportunity and destiny were ripped away from me the same way my tiny body was ripped apart and sold to make a profit.

I never knew what it meant to breathe in a full gust of clean fresh oxygen or grow into the person I wanted to be. Maybe I would have experienced heart break, or failure, or desperation–but the hope of change or interaction with other people would have been worth it.

I hope you thank God every day for the gift of life you were given. No matter what kind of life it is–it is yours, and you can choose to do what you want with it.

I am heading up to Heaven now, where my Creator will welcome me since earth did not, but was given a chance to write you this one letter. Make sure you thank mom for picking you to be the one to live.

I’ll be with all the others through the ages who were murdered…some before their time, some through excruciating means, some innocents who lived in the wrong time period. That is the group I will be in–Tthe unfortunate group of innocent millions who were conceived in America, in the age of convenience, irresponsibility, and selfishness. 

To my alive brother–forgive my jealousy, and break the pattern of your society. You were born–make it count. 

Sincerely,

Your Aborted Sibling

dfce3d6c4960cd9db079770133b2031e

And You Think Your Life Is Rough

Lately I’ve been thinking and learning about being thankful for what I have. I’m one of those people that can easily look at the negative side of things. I don’t like go into deep depression or anything, but if I’m not careful everything can seem sad to me!

I get sad whenever anything changes. I cried buckets of tears when I graduated highschool, knowing things would never be the same. I got sentimental and a little down every time I was done with a certain semester of classes and was getting a new schedule. I don’t like starting a new year—all I can think about is how I will never ever again have this year back. I think I just inherited a very sentimental, easily-attachable nature. (From my dad!) In some ways it’s a good thing—whatever I’m doing right at the moment, I end up liking it and don’t want to change. But it definitely can be a bad thing, when I don’t realize that I like what I’m doing until it’s over and something changes. Like college—I didn’t realize how much I loved it until it was over! (But I haven’t forgotten the stress and to-do list…yeah, I’m not crying much over that one. 😉 )

Here’s something else I can sympathize with:

2c0b0863b62d708865268512037ddac6

Please tell me I’m not the only one who hates changing my password! Even my fingers grow used to typing in my trusty old password and I have to get them used to a new one all over again.

So sometimes it’s good to just take a step back.

83f64787eca19601cd889a25ddb60c31

To look around and realize that even when everything seems wrong, I am a blessed person. I’m going to Heaven. God’s on my side, He’s working in me. I live in America. I have two loving families that live within driving distance. I have Abe, and Kali. I have a lot of work to do…but that means I have a house and a job! I have a lot to pray about…but that means I have a lot of opportunities to see God work.

I’ve compiled some “First-World Problems” memes that put things in perspective. If you need a smile today or a reminder that it’s all gonna be OK, I’ve inserted some of my favorite stop-being-ridiculous pictures below. Hope it makes you smile!

80b62164d0331a85ee386c50d248f946

a66c7722953077fffa02ed933c0f9dc4

082325b8c2e7d811ce7703e3fd7ca06e

c77e823d1158b5a0722eb3454cfa6a8d

d1fac4fa6ce4e301e8d56a64f213c639

dfda2aa0fc0991904b9071c033f16aa4

e941bb01b26d3c4111640c41dd7933e3

Hope you have a great weekend and enjoy your first-world-country life! 🙂

~Flossie ❤

7b19e6fc86eef8cb172de580a3f59efa