Monday, July 20, 2015

Wherever You Are

Sometimes it is hard to turn your mind off. To stop the negative thoughts and rebukes it sends your way. You just want to grab your head and say, “You can stop now! I get the picture!”

A friend came to me the other day with their own questions and worries. I hurt for them. I wanted so badly to reassure them that they're not the only one who has thought these same thoughts. That it really will be okay. You may not have had the exact same, but I know we all have a little inside voice that does not know how to go away. One that says hurtful things, and you believe them.

What if I never marry?

What if I never find the one?

What if God doesn’t want me to be a wife and mother?

What will I do?

How could anyone fall in love with me?

There are so many other girls out there better than me.

Why would someone pick me out of all of the others?

I’ll never be good enough.

You are not stylish enough. No one will notice you.

You have too many faults. Too many doubts. You worry too much. Your too quiet. You don’t know how to share your emotions…

You’ll be alone forever.

Alone.



That's a scary word, isn't it? One that leaves you feeling desperate and afraid. I don't know if the words will come out how I am trying to say them.
I would like to share my experience with these questions, in hopes that it will help someone traveling the same weary road.

When I was around four or five years old, I was playing with my dollies in the dining room. Mommy sat on the phone at the kitchen counter. I don’t know what she was talking about or who she was talking to but I can still hear her words,, “I was seventeen when I got married. So was my Mom…” Right then and there I decided I had to be seventeen when I married. How could I break the tradition? It would be easy. Meet him when I’m fifteen or sixteen, marry at seventeen.

How could that be hard?

I clung to that dream all the way through the years. I knew God would make it come true. I prayed every night He would. That wasn’t too much to ask? I mean it wasn’t like I wanted to conquer the world or own a mansion. I just wanted to get married at seventeen. 

Even if I said “thy will be done” after each prayer, I really wanted my will.
Years went by and my thirteenth birthday came. Then my fourteenth. Fifteenth.
I began to panic. If something didn’t happen soon my dream wouldn’t come true! I prayed harder. Surely something would open up. Soon my sixteenth birthday was upon me. I was anxious. Then I turned seventeen. “My last chance.”
A year went by. Too fast. Then that dreaded day came.

I turned eighteen.

I couldn’t believe that in the blink of an eye, my entire life dream had disappeared behind me.
Why hadn’t God answered my years of praying? I was hurt. I felt I had been betrayed.
I tried to accept the fact that God knew best, but somehow I couldn’t see why I couldn’t of had my way.
Then somewhere I read a quote that seemed to slap me in the face.

“Wherever you are, be all there.” - Jim Elliot
 

So simple. Yet it really hit me, hard. God has me in this time, I need to put my whole heart into being a daughter-at-home. No, there was no lighting flashing, thunder crashing. But God used that simple line to slowly change my heart. I began to read blogs about being content with your life. I realized that I was acting like a spoiled child in a candy store. I was stomping my foot and telling God what I wanted, not asking. I was always looking for tomorrow. Aching for the future. I was forgetting to live in the here and now.

I forgot to thank God for my life today.

Somewhere along the way it came to me that I needed to stop thinking of myself. It really wasn’t time for me to marry. (Now looking back, I know I was not ready to marry at my dream age. I still have so much to learn today!) God did know best.
Through my experiences I have learned so much. To be patient. To be content. To live in today.
But most of all I realized that someone really does love me. They noticed me. They knew me from the beginning and always loved me. Even when I wasn’t being loving back. That I could never truly be alone. I realized that through it all, even if I never marry, Jesus will always be there. I don’t need anything more.

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

Today I still have my days where I struggle with loneliness. Where I wonder what God really wants me to do in this life. But then I remember what Jim Elliot said and I have peace.

I try to learn from today. I do a lot of listening. I ponder what I hear and I try to learn how to be a young Christian woman. Hopefully, to be the kind of wife God would want me to be.
How to cook and clean and teach children. I am so very blessed to have a Mother who is passionate about the role she has and she teaches me so much! She listens and talks to me.
I know I am blessed beyond words!

Anyone out there waiting, I want you to know that it will be ok. God is always there. You need no fear of being alone. He can give you that peace and comfort you long for. Live today. Sit by your Mom and see what you can learn from her. Thrive where God has you right now and remember,

"Wherever you are, be all there".

Thursday, July 16, 2015

"A Picture in a Frame"

I thought it had been awhile since I posted one of my poems, so here it goes!
This one I wrote over two years ago. I am afraid I think it could be written better, but I will just post it how I wrote it when I was seventeen.

I wrote this poem with a sad heart.

One day, my little cousins were over and somehow we came across the topic of Grandma. They said they didn't know who I was talking about. When I pointed to the picture (below) sitting on a shelf, they just said, "Oh. Her. That's Grandma Nancy. She lives in heaven."

I realized they truly didn't know who she was. She is, and would always be,
 just a "picture in a frame", a "picture with a name".
It broke my heart and I could have cried. For to me, Grandma was real. She was a person. She loved me, and I knew it. She used to laugh and cry and give me tight hugs, covering my face in kisses. I ache for my cousins who will never know how wonderful their Grandma was, and what a special person she will always be to me.


 A Picture in a Frame
by Felicity Stenersen
April 23, 2013
 
You see that picture in a frame, which sits just over there?
The glass not so perfect, and the wood a little wear?
Some dust may have settled gently atop its stand
And to you it may not seem all that grand
 
But look at the picture in the frame; tell me what do you see?
A lady sitting silently, looking back at you and me?
Step a little closer and I'm sure if you try
You'll find a twinkle dancing merrily in her eye
 
She no longer lives on earth, for her Saviour called her away
But her memory will never leave, oh so much I could say!
That mouth loved to laugh with a clear loud sound
And the love in her heart was strong and abound
 
You see her arms just sitting there, quietly by her side
I see her warm hugs, arms held open wide
Her clothes are not fancy; her hair may have some gray
But she lived for Jesus and to Him she did pray
 
To you that lady may be just a picture in a frame
Someone people talk about; a picture with a name
But I see a person who once was full of life
Someone Jesus came and healed of their strife
 
To you that little frame may be a glance of your eye
But to me it's a keepsake of a life that's gone by
Forever I will remember that lady smiling at you and me
And I know someday in heaven, her I will see!

America's Favorite Storyteller

Growing up, like Laura, "Louis L'Amour" was a name I knew all too well. When I was very small he was just a name to those well loved books, torn pages and faded covers, neatly lined on the shelf. I loved to take them and look at the pictures on the front. The cowboy sitting astride his horse. The mountain man crouched behind a tree. The sheriff standing in the street. Each one I'd gaze at for hours, taking in every detail and wondering what stories were hidden in those shapes called "words."
I know I was not your typical little girl. Though I knew my realistic dream was to be a Mommy, my "fantasy" dream was to be a rough and tough mountain man. How exciting it must be to out smart the Indian, walk silently through the forest, and climb a tree faster than the squirrel!
When I was about seven my Daddy read aloud to my siblings and I from
"Down the Long Hills".
My very first "Louis L'Amour". I remember being swept right into the story, seeing every detail in my mind. And there my love for those Western stories was born.
  

Though we know Louis L'Amour was not a perfect man, in my house you often can here "Well Louis L'Amour said...". He had his faults, but some things he said makes sense and I love many of his quotes. Some of my very favorites being:



These ten Louis L'Amour's are some of my very favorite that I read over and over:
 
Down the Long Hills:
My first Louis L'Amour will always be the most special. Maybe because I was the same age as the character, or maybe because I loved curling up next to my Daddy and hearing his voice bring the picture to life.
This story is about seven year old Hardy, and three year old Betty Sue. When his mother, and the entire wagon train, are massacred by Comanche's, Hardy struggles to survive with a toddler and his ever faithful horse Big Red. They encounter bears, outlaws, and Indians as they head West to find Hardy's Pa. 
"Hardy Collins was seven years old, and he had never been alone before... not like this. He knew where the North Star was, and he knew the sun came up in the east and went down in the west. At home he had done chores around the farm, had run and played in the wooded hills with other boys, and for the last two winters he had kept a trap-line down along the creek. He did not know much more about the world except that pa was out west.
He did not know how to tell Betty Sue about what had happened, or whether she would understand if he told her."
 
Comstock Load:
This Louis L'Amour also begins with two young children. A twelve year old boy named Val and a eight year old girl named Grita. After their parents are murdered by a group of men, as Val and Grita hide together in the bushes, they lose contact of each other. Ten years later Val is searching for the man who led the men into their camp. He finds Grita again, who has become a famous actress, and together they put a end to their nightmare.
 
 Bendigo Shafter:
The first I read on my own was Bendigo Shafter. About a young man who travels West with a wagon train as they try to survive and begin a town deep in the mountains.
"Where the wagons stopped we built our home, making the cabins tight against the winter's coming. Here in this place we would build our town, here we would create something new."
 
The Lonesome Gods:
My very, very favorite is The Lonesome Gods. Though it has a "unique" title, its full of excitement and mystery. Most of the story takes place in the hot desert of California. A young boy named Johannes Verne is left orphaned traveling to California with his Father. His hateful Grandfather takes Johannes far away, deserting him in the desert to die. But Johannes Verne does not die.
 
There was a faint light in the sky when they stopped. It was an empty place of flat sand and broken rock and cactus. All around , as far as I could see, there was nothing but a few great boulders and the empty desert. "Here," the old man said. "Leave him. He is of my own blood, after all. If he dies-"
"Kill him now," the younger man said. "Leave him dead."
"I will not," the old man said stubbornly. "Leave him. Let the desert do it. I will not destroy my own blood even if it is mingled with that of scum. Leave him."
They started off, and filled with anger, I stood among the rocks. "Good-bye Grandpa!" I shouted.
He winced as if struck, and his shoulders hunched as from a blow.
They rode away, and I was alone.
 
Shalako:
 Shalako is about a man who comes across a European group traveling through the heart of Indian country. He tries to convince them that they are in danger but the leader, a military man, assures him that he can handle the Indians. They are just uneducated people who don't have guns and couldn't possibly harm them. How wrong he is!
 
And of course, there is Louis L'Amour's famous family, the Sackett's. I love them all but my favorites are:
 
To The Far Blue Mountain
 
The Warriors Path
 
Jubal Sackett
 
The Day Breakers
 
The Sackett Brand  
 
 
"I'm just a storyteller, a guy with a seat by the campfire. And I want to share with people what I have found, and what I have seen, and the wonderful old voices of men and women talking of those bygone times."
-Louis L'Amour