I suppose that I am having a reflectful day. Maybe because it was for the fact that I was back at work at the YMCA after a month of being off because of my surgery. I work with children from ages 0-5. I rotate in different rooms. Today was ages 3-5.
There was something so magical about today. The kids were so excited to see me and something just came alive in me when I was around them. I became a kid again. I wasn't worried about "Do we have this document ready?, do we have this item packed?, Oh yea...where is the money coming from again?" Time stood still with the kids. At least 10 kids swarmed me as I pretended that we were having "Caroline's Cooking Class". I put on my best English accent and acted out a pretend cooking class with green playdough. Finally, all of the kids were sitting at the table extremely engaged in making "pies" and I asked them if they could make their most favorite candy or gum in the whole world what would it be?. I got many great answers "A BOTTLE ROCKET HOT PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CAKE!!" was what this one little boy told me. I told him to start making it. So, 15 little 3-5 year olds were just as busy as could be making Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory Candy. I had the absolute best time. They were hugging on me, and I was getting into the pretend games so much and the fake accent that I lost myself. I had to come back to reality!!!
But, it made me reflect how we let the world just bog us down with so much JUN
K. Today, for a brief while....I got to be one of those children. I had no worries, I had no frown lines :) I was laughing until my ribs hurt. I have bruises from so many hugs. My heart is full. I want to stop and do that more. Have childlike moments. I spend so much of my time just going and going and doing and doing and not stopping and just being in the moment.
My 5 year old daughter teaches me something all of the time. She is what I call an "old soul". It is quite strange to say. But, she has a connection with our trampoline and God that is like nothing you have ever seen. When she jumps on our trampoline, she starts talking about God as if He was standing right there. She said the other day "You know Mom....you are never alone". She was looking up at the sky while she was jumping on the trampoline and at that moment rays of sunshine were coming through the clouds. She finished saying "Because God is always with you". She kept on jumping and it was as if she and God were having a moment. But, she left me standing in complete silence with tears in my eyes.
After my father in law died, I took it harder than I ever thought that I would. Then, not so long after that, my own father got cancer that was the kind that spreads quickly and is deadly. Months before my father in law had died, I was horribly sick while I was pregnant with eclampsia and our baby could have died. She was in NICU. My father in law was able to meet her. Then, I was "let go" from my six figure job. (I am not bragging, I am just telling you so you can see where I am at now). I don't think that God could have broken me anymore than He did than during that year. But, I never questioned my faith. He brought me down to my knees. I didn't understand why. He has brought me down to my knees before. But, not so many things so harsh right behind the other.
I am happy to report that my Dad is in remission with his cancer. He has to be checked every 6 months. He is an amputee, but, he keeps on trucking. He has a great sense of humor. I suppose that is where I get it from. We tease each other all of the time. I always tell him when I am tired of walking to move out of his chair and let me have it and then he tries and runs me over with his motor wheelchair. You would have to see it to laugh about it. You just have to laugh sometimes in order not to cry. Because sometimes, life hits you too hard.
We are selling our almost brand new Toyota Sienna that is fully loaded and has everything you could ever want. GPS, rear view camera. The works. We are selling it. Yep. It hurts. But, when I was telling you earlier about being broken. I think I understand a little bit more now why I had to be broken. I don't know why my dad had to get cancer or about my daughter or the death of my father in law. But, the brokenness put a lot into perspective for me. That material things don't mean as much.
We bought that car all "pimped" out if you will when I was let go and sold some stock. We were crazed lunatics with too much money and had to go and run out and buy the most expensive car (ok van...fine...but, it is a cool van!!) I know, we weren't thinking. We thought we NEEDED it. But, now, we realize in order to bring our son home...we need to make changes in our life. Instead of buying whatever I want...we do envelopes....check out Dave Ramsey's
site for more on that!!! So, I don't shop at the finest stores anymore....I was at Goodwill picking up sweaters for our trip to Russia. Hey...they were 4.00!!!! It is 70 degrees here now, why spend tons of money??? I have lost all of the friends that I had in the corporate world. I don't travel to fancy places like I did with my old company. But, I am not the same person anymore. I was broken and God has put the pieces back together in a different order. Do I miss some things....sure. But, I like the pieces God has put back together now.
Because in place of what was lost, my new life consists of a job where I get to be a kid again. I love children and I love working at the YMCA. I have made new friends, new friends at the Y and amazing friends that are the mothers of my daughters schoolmates. I am not obsessed anymore about "when am I going to get promoted?" "How much more can I make?" I always worried about being the Uber Mom. The one that made the most money, was the best mom, the best wife. I get to see my Mom and Dad more (they live nearby) But, I was making myself sick and my priorities were so out of whack. It has taken me 2 years to climb my way out of that hole. But, as strange as it sounds...I am grateful for being taken to my knees. Because, I feel like a cocoon that is about to become a butterfly.
I want to post a little bit of what my Dad sent me about what Rick Warren
said...He is the man who wrote The Purpose Driven Life. He sums up what I have been rambling on in this post. The things that I have been learning through these hard couple of years. That the good times and the dark times do coincide. But, it is how you look at it that matters.
I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a
dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't
believe that anymore.
Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind
of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something
good and something bad in your life.
No matter how good things are in your life, there is always
something bad that needs to be worked on.
And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always
something good you can thank God for.
You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.
If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness,
"which is my problem, my issues, my pain."
But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus
off yourself and onto God and others.
We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?
When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better ... God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.
Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.