Peace in the Mundane, Joy in the Counter Wiping

Originally posted March 22, 2014

It is 2:26 in the afternoon, the week of spring break.

I have company coming in less than 24 hours, muddy paws have left now dry prints all over my floors, there is a basket of laundry to be folded on my bed, sheets to be changed, a kitchen scattered with cereal boxes, bread crumbs, and bags of apples ready to be washed.  The kids are finally playing in the woods because the sun is trying to peek out of the gray sky.

I am still in my pajamas.

I have barely opened my Bible today even though 5 hours ago I sat down to do my Bible study.  I used it for reference as I wrote, but I have not reached for it to fuel my soul even though I know it is the thing I need most.

Some days I feel lost, this is one of those days.

I long for purpose, yet I sit here and write instead of clean up the mess scattered around my house.  What if today that is my purpose?  To keep a clean house, to teach my kids about tidiness and responsibility?

Am I so vain that I cannot fathom that THIS is all God has for me today?  So I search my heart for what I have to say, I question what I believe my calling might be, and I desperately seek approval and affirmation from someone who might have read a nugget of encouragement.

I like to look like I have my life together, that I am content with whatever God places before me this day or that, but to look at me today you would know that I am a liar.  I say I hate to be busy but faced with a week that is not busy at all I simply do not know how to be not busy in my day to day life.

God grant me the strength to accept that YES, maybe this is what you have for me today because MAYBE, you want to tell or teach or show me something.  God help me to lay down this vanity that says I am meant for more. Give me peace in the mundane, joy in the counter wiping, laundry folding and mopping.  Teach me to praise you not only in the storms but in the calm that terrifies me.

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Fear and Calling and Messing it all up

Originally posted on February 20, 2014

My mind has been swirling with thoughts and realizations lately that I am so far from the person I was 10 years ago.  I laugh to think of the work God has done in me and am overwhelmed to think of how far I still have to go.  When I was called to ministry in 2007, it made no sense whatsoever, but I followed and was blessed beyond measure by the people whose lives were woven into mine.  I have been pouring through old pictures and cannot help but get teary over the huge impact these teenagers had not only on my life but on the lives of my kids.  They were our family, and when I felt myself being pulled away from ministry I didn’t understand why, but I knew it was time.  I was struggling every day with the fear that I was messing it all up.  I just knew that one day my kids would shun the church that took so much of their mom’s time.  They would hate the Jesus whose ministry I was championing while leaving them for a week in the summer to go to mission camp, or on weekends for retreats.  I dreaded the day that they would have had enough of being in a church because for a season of our lives that is practically where we lived.  I knew I was in over my head and needed a reprieve.

I think I was pulled away for a time of rest, of reflection, and a time for God to grow and stretch me.  Now, I am feeling with every fiber of my being that I am being called back into ministry and I am terrified.  I don’t even know exactly what it looks like, but I have some pretty hazy visions in my head.  Jeff is cheering me on like he always does, the kids pray with us every night that God will continue to shine a light on the path I am supposed to be taking.  And all the while I am SCARED. TO. DEATH. When I think of what it all means, if I really jump in with both feet, if some of the HUGE things I see hazily in my head are real, then this is going to mean time away from my kids and from Jeff.  My life will change.  Every single time God has shown us a direction, He has delivered on it, why would this be any different – and that is what scares me.

Last night I was thinking about all of the different versions of me that I have been in my life.  I was imagining what each of those Caseys would think of or say to the person I am today.  I was laughing aloud as I imagined telling my 22 year old self that “No, I don’t exactly keep up with my every other week manicures, It may or may not have been over a year since I have stepped foot in a nail salon and oh yeah, my hair gets cut once a year at best.  I’m a vision really.”  I was reminded of a blog I wrote over 2 years ago when I opened my eyes to how different I was from who I thought I would be.  I’m glad I am not the same person, I am not sure I would even like the person I was back then.  There was way too much make-up, nail polish, and need to fit in to the Charlotte mold I was clearly not made for.  But I obviously have so much more stretching and growing to do.

I am still caught up in the same old stubborn patterns and I childishly dig my heels into the ground when I know I am supposed to be moving on.  We are all called to something important, and I don’t mean important in worldly terms.  I mean important because it is God’s calling on our lives.  Your important work will not be the same as mine, mine may not feel as big as yours, but it is all important.

But how on earth am I supposed to jump back into ministry, discipleship and leading other people’s kids when mine are a mess 99% of the time?  Maddie May literally smuggled a Cadbury Egg out of the grocery store on Sunday in her boot and proudly told me about it an hour after we got home.  That is its own story to be told on another day, but you see what I mean?  How do I have any credibility at all to share the word when I am so completely dealing with the exact same behaviors, problems, and concerns with my own kids?  I ask these questions, I toss excuses at God and I let fear of messing it all up keep me from obedience.  Then, today, I read this at Momastery and couldn’t decide if I felt encouraged that I’m not alone in this fear or more scared because if a bestselling author and speaker can’t do it without being scared then how can I?

But then I let my heart settle and I cannot get the truth out of my mind.  I am not the one who will be doing it; He will be doing the work through me if I will just get moving.  My heart hurts for young women today.  It is those young women in their late teens and early 20’s that are living with the same struggles and issues I was but it is all out there for the world to see because of the internet.  They struggle in ways we never did because no one knew you literally had fewer “friends” or people who “liked” something you did or said.  There is an entire generation struggling with being defined by things that absolutely do not matter and I just want to come up beside each one of them and tell them (maybe for the first time) who they really are.  They are not a number of likes, or an Instagram pic or a tweet that was or wasn’t shared.  They are loved and valued and important.  And life after this season is beautiful and challenging and more real than anything you are experiencing right now.

So I’m going to keep writing, and sharing as I try to follow His callings.  I have some big dreams that I want to share as the time is right, but for now, I just want my friends reading to know I am here being scared with you.  Whatever it is that you feel called to do, whatever is challenging your heart or consuming your thoughts, you can do it.  Because if it is His plan, you won’t be the one doing it anyways, He will be doing it through you.

What do you think you are being called to do that you are too scared to act on?

Casey