“More Than We Can Handle”

Now don’t get flustered or worried – nothing is wrong.  I don’t want to worry anyone.  This post is more of my thoughts on life in general and I just figured I would share.  =)

Actually this post has sat in my draft pile for over a month – I just never got around to publishing it until now.

I sometimes subscribe to emails – not a lot but a few.  Those that I feel may be beneficial to me and ones that don’t send me a bunch of junk.  I subscribe to Dayspring’s in(courage) emails.  For the most part they are positive and at time inspiring or at the very least thought provoking.  I love the pictures with scriptures overlaid on top and I love it when different women share their thoughts and stories.  Like I said these emails sometimes just get my brain thinking – and some days that is not a bad thing.  =)

A little while back I came across an email that discussed the phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”  For years I have said this to myself (and to others) in order to get myself through challenging times.  I have since realized this isn’t entirely accurate.  There are always going to be tough times and unfortunately there isn’t always going to be a visible reason for it.  There are always people who have it easier and there are always people who are going to have it harder.  Do we learn from those trying times?  Yes.  Are we always better for it?  I would hope so.  But we all have met people over the years who seem to go through life carefree who don’t seem to try hard or know those who keep getting challenge after challenge despite their efforts.  I say it all the time – Life is complicated and (as much as it pains me to say it) we will never know all the answers for all of our “why?” questions.

Anyway . . . not trying to get all gloomy sounding over here.

I read this email/post (which you can read in its entirety here) written by Kristen Welch (who blogs over at We are THAT family).  She writes how she met a woman from a different country who had already endured much violence and oppression in her country.  Which got Kristen to think of those words “God won’t give you more than you can handle”.  In her mind that was lie.  For me I see of being more inaccurate.  I don’t know if I believe that phrase is a lie but I don’t know if I agree totally with it any longer.  There are times I feel tested and I can’t tell if I am really being tried or challenged.  I try to look at those difficult situations and somewhere think that if I get through it that I might be able to help someone else later.  So while I don’t know how I feel about the phrase any longer I like what Kristen had to say and scriptures she quoted:

“Actually, the Bible promises us hardship in this life and tells story after story of suffering.

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead (2 Cor 1:8,9).

If that doesn’t speak of despair and being thrown more than can be handled, I don’t know what does. We are promised tribulation and persecution in this life. We might even die (or feel like it).

Yes, sometimes we are given more than we can handle. But all the time, we have One who can handle anything.  

If we could handle all the grief, pain, suffering, poverty, financial woes, parenting struggles, gut-wrenching hard times in life, we wouldn’t need Jesus.

But He is made strong in our weakness. John 16:33 “…In Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

And He has already endured every sorrow we may carry.” (in(courage) 11/22)

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While I don’t always enjoy life’s big challenges (like the things we have gone through lately) I am working very hard to have faith in the One that can make things happen.

 

The Holidays

If I’m being honest I don’t know how I feel about the holidays. This feeling of “I don’t know” seems to sum up my emotions in general – probably more so these last few months.

To reinforce that thought – this post has sat in the draft pile for nearly a week.  =)

There really isn’t anything new on the adoption side – just waiting for whatever is next. Whenever that comes.

And while I have brief moments of sadness I’ve attempted this last month to focus on other things – nothing specific just other stuff.

The last few days have been harder for me – I guess because I haven’t been so incredibly busy.  I have been busy but in comparison to last week – these last few days were nothing.  I have wandered into stores to get a few last minute items and look at little babies or children and my mind wanders to the “what ifs” of the last few months.  If I stay too long in the “what if” moment then I do get sad but I usually will distract myself and go back to what I had been doing.  On Christmas Day I had a moment when I thought back to loads of what-ifs in a manner of a minute.  I envisioned the two babies we lost – how old they would be – what they might look like.  I imagined the three failed adoptions.  That minute in my mind lasted an eternity.  I eventually “resumed normal programming” if you will and returned to our conversation.

Luckily in these hard moments I have either been with J or one of my best friends (one is in town – hopefully she will get to move home sooner rather than later) so I have had some pleasant distractions.

Despite those moments I think we have done a good job of continuing on our holiday traditions.  Our house is decorated (albeit a little less than usual but there is still a ton of stuff up).

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One of our bookcases in the living room.  Normally the bookcase houses TONS of pictures of my grandfather when he was child and pictures of J’s Grandparents.  At the moment it holds only a few pictures (along with many books), cards from family, friends and co-workers as well as my nutcracker collection.

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Our kitchen table.  Sorry it is so dark.  I put my kitchen tree on my cookbook shelf this year and added lights since we would be having people over for a few holiday events.  I took a picture with the lights on but it really didn’t do the tree justice or really show off J’s handiwork hanging ornaments from the light fixture.

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Our tree – still missing at least a third of the ornaments (we scaled back this year) and hardly any of the presents.  I tried to get a dark picture but my phone would not even remotely focus on the tree so I gave in and turned the lights on.  LOL

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Another dark picture (sorry) but I absolutely love the look of the living room with just our Christmas lights on.  It just gives it that homey, warm feeling.  Normally we would be using our fireplace but until lately it hasn’t been that cold and this year we have another chair in the living room.   

Normally I will decorate the guest bathroom and drag out more stuff (because I have amassed lots of holiday stuff) but we/I just didn’t feel like going crazy.  I will keep my red and gold accents out through the winter and get out winter themed plates for the kitchen (because yes I have those too) and redecorate the mantle a little but the rest of the stuff gets packed away after New Year’s.

But Christmas hasn’t been all toned down (or at least that is how it felt for us in some aspects). I started a 12 days of themes/activities at work before we left for the winter break.  We stubbornly trekked to 5 different stores at the beginning of the month and got our traditional real tree (the right kind – a noble fir and one priced in our budget).   J made his peppermint bark.  We bought our yearly ornaments.  I went to J’s  yearly family girls’ night (-1 + my father in law). We have made gifts, wrapped gifts and we continued our tradition of going to my parent’s on Christmas Eve and went to J’s parents Christmas Day.

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I made this sign for J’s two sisters.  (The other sign is red.)  I have seen these signs on places like Etsy for  several months now.  I was walking in a local boutique a few months ago looking for a gift for a friend when I saw these signs for sale but they were not painted – the person had used vinyl.  I thought they were really cute but the price was not – especially since it didn’t come with any hardware.  So I made some myself!  

Like I mentioned I have tried to keep my mind on other things and focus on being grateful.  My mind is continually thinking – “when in doubt be grateful”.  Some days it is tough and some days it isn’t.  J and I do social stuff together (hockey, movies, watch tv shows, etc.) and then we do our own thing (hanging out with friends, he plays his video game with his friends) and life at home is easy and the house is picked up (except when the dogs are muddy.  LOL).  I am grateful for this new routine we have in place.

I am grateful for kind friends who send kind thoughts.  A dear sweet friend Elisha from Waitingforbabybird sent me the sweetest card (she is such a gifted writer with such a kind heart and she always knows what to say), we received a card from a church member with kind words as well as card from my beloved hair dresser who ALWAYS knows what to say to me (even on the days I don’t want to hear it).

So the holidays were, as much as we didn’t REALLY want them to be, the same as always (and what I mean when I say “same” is the routine and process for us – our lives as a family unit haven’t changed in over 7 years).  Despite the disappointing vibe of the end of 2014, having that routine is somewhat comforting – even though it wasn’t exactly what we envisioned for Christmas 2014.  I am cautiously optimistic for 2015 but for now I am going to focus (or try anyway) on what is in front me.  (And maybe get some of my never ending crafting projects finished! LOL)

I hope everyone has had a pleasant and blessed holiday season and a fantastic 2015.

PS – If for some reason some of the pictures are sideways – I have no idea why they look like that.  On some web versions they look the right direction and on others they are sideways.  I don’t get it.  =)

Our Crazy Life

Our Crazy Life