Almighty

As a follow up to yesterday’s post (that you can read here), we had a rough night as a family last night.  I know I’ve mentioned in previous posts that this summer has been a difficult one for my family and last night was another one of those nights.

 

It involves a grieving mother, too much alcohol, an overbearing-incredibly-sketchy-almost-ex-step-father, a whole lot of anxiety and a whole lot more prayer.

 

Tonight when I opened my devotional I began to read EXACTLY what God wanted me to hear:

“On some days your circumstances and your physical condition feel out of balance: The demands on you seem far greater than your strength. Days like that present a choice between two alternatives–giving up or relying on Me. Even if you wrongly choose the first alternative, I will not reject you.  You can turn to Me at any point, and I will help you crawl our of the mire of discouragement.  I will infuse My strength into you moment by moment, giving you all that you need for this day. Trust Me, by relying on My empowering Presence.” (The devotional is Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.)

A night that ended with me knelt at the foot of my mother’s bed praying and sobbing over her as she slept, certainly falls within the characteristics of my “demands seeming far greater than my strength”.  Last night, I could have folded under the pressure and given up. I felt sick enough to. The fear was paralyzing enough that I could have, but in the most hopeless of situations, I turned to Jesus and begged. Guys, I begged harder than I’ve ever begged. I prayed and I cried and I prayed and I cried.  I allowed God’s empowering Presence to comfort me, I asked Roman for prayer; I asked my sister for prayer. I asked my aunt for prayer. And I allowed God’s Empowerment to Comfort my Soul. Nothing within my situation changed, but what changed was that in those moments when I was pouring everything I had to God, I felt an overwhelming peace. God doesn’t always immediately change your circumstances, but he absolutely will show you how to rely on Him. I am learning this lesson time and time again. It’s a difficult lesson, but I am thankful every step of the journey.

Back to tonight–After reading the short devotion I went to the scripture associated with the excerpt.

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you…Psalm 42:5-6

I realized in the very moment that I read that scripture, that God was showing me I’m not alone.  Spiritual “offness” (like I was feeling during the day yesterday) has happened before, there are cases IN THE BIBLE! I am so thankful for a God who takes time to show us we aren’t alone. I am thankful that when I was searching for answers yesterday and I wasn’t sure what I was feeling, God already knew and he already had a plan.

Tonight, though issues are not completely resolved,

I have peace.

I have faith.

I have a God who is all-knowing.

All powerful and

…..ALMIGHTY!…..

This is not a battle I have to fight, God has already won it. 

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Saving Lives in High Water Yoga Pants

This weekend we had a family yard sale. Big shindigs like these when done with family can get quite messy. The random bickering about where to place things, exactly what prices should go on what, discussions and/or insinuations that one person or another has done more work and then the fact that we ended up $20 short in the end, made this yard sale a success. It has also caused complete and utter exhaustion.

The event took place Friday and Saturday and we had to determine how to feed everyone as we took shifts manning the pre-owned junk that scattered the yard. On Friday we made our family-favorite cheeseburger soup and Saturday it was decided that one of us would run into Kroger to grab lunch meat, chips and other various snacks. That “one of us” ended up being me.

That morning I was startled awake by my mom pounding on my bedroom door; I had slept through my alarm and had 10 minutes to get dressed, pull my hair into the highest, messiest looking bun and run out the door. The outfit I chose was AWFUL because I was in a hurry and I figured I was only going to be sitting behind a card table all day so it didn’t matter. So, off I went to Kroger in my black spandex, high water yoga pants that gave me the biggest muffin top (what’s the pastry bigger than a muffin?…because THAT is the kind of blob that was hanging off the waist of these yoga pants) EVER, my navy blue flip flops, and my greasy messy bun.

As I walked through the produce section I could literally feel my pants smacking into my ankles with every gust of wind. I thought if I walked faster the trip would be over sooner and I wouldn’t have to suffer through shopping in this hideous get up as long; however, that plan was thwarted by the fact that the faster I walked, the more wind my pants caught and the harder those puppies flapped around my ankles. I just pictured the looks I was getting as people looked down and saw these pant legs flapping in the wind. Legitimately I think people took my pants as a warning of a second great flood. After they finished their grocery shopping, they went directly home to draft up plans to build an ark.

So I continued my journey, trying INCREDIBLY hard to keep my head down and my trip fast. BUT WOULDN’T YOU KNOW, the harder you try to do something like that, the more it just doesn’t work. I bumped into a little girl from preschool and her father…HOW EMBARRASSING. Then as I’m buying lunch meat, the lady standing next to me strikes up a conversation. 

Me (to the guy at the deli): Yes, I’d like one pound of turkey and half a pound of the bologna that’s on sale.
Random Lady: Have you ever tried the bologna that (insert random brand name here) makes?
Me: No, I haven’t. I assume it’s good?
RL: YES! My boss from Florifinos…he used to live in (insert the state here)…absolutely loves this bologna…comes highly recommended….grew up in a Jewish neighborhood…should realllllyyyy try it….Granville Market sometimes has it….a little pricey….worth every penny…I tried it at a party he had…wife is wonderful…bologna is better than….It is so incredible…

This is the point where I am staring into space inwardly cringing as I imagining all of the random customers who have now seen my ankles peeking out from under these HIDEOUS YOGA PANTS. I imagine they opened a box of plastic spoons from the aisle and proceeded to gouge their eyes out with them.

RL continues: What about Hebrew hotdogs?! They are kosher, I mean I’m not Jewish, but these hotdogs are SOOOO DELICIOUS! Sometimes they are on sale here 2 packs for $7…they weren’t always here….grocery stores don’t always keep them in stock…IGA…Dryden Road Grocery…

I am trying so hard not to look other shoppers in the eyes as I watch them rush to finished their shopping so they can go directly to Lowes to purchase the lumber for their arks…the pants are screaming DOOM.

I finally cut her off.

Me: They sound delicious, maybe sometime I’ll have to try them. Have a good day!

I walk away quickly, so quickly that I forgot the case of water and the pop and had to RETURN to Kroger to shop again wearing the same outfit. When that shopping trip was over, I went directly back to the yard sale, I took those pants off and I stuck a price tag on them. I want someone else to feel the same shame I did when I walked through those aisles.

Okay, not really. I went home and proceeded to wear those pants the rest of the day. I mean, I had to let all of the yard sale customers know to expect the flood!–I was a walking public service announcement.

Simply put, I was saving lives.

Dr. Mom L. Campbell “Attorney” at Law

For a while now there has been a storm hovering over our family. Waiting anxiously to burst from the seams of the cumulonimbus are various raindrops of hatred and emotional lightning bolts that would fry the most grounded person. One tremendous raindrop (or perhaps this man deserves his very own thunder cloud) is a man who has been married to my mother for the past 8.5 years. His reign over my mother has just about killed her and us alike.

Well, today that thunderstorm comes to an end. The clouds have broken, the rain has ceased and peaking through the wilted and beaten leaves of the trees is a beautiful golden sun. Today, on the birth date of my youngest sister, my Mom was Dr. Mom L. Campbell Attorney at law. Because this man has stripped her of everything that has or had, she was forced to represent herself in court. Initially, when mom asked us to attend court with her this morning, my sister Abby and I decided the only way we would be in attendance is if we were allowed to wear shirts that said TEAM GAIL on the front and under that WHAT DO WE WANT? and on the back of the shirt HALF OF YOUR 401K.  I imagine it to look something like this:

your front design                                 your back design

Unfortunately that was deemed inappropriate. So instead, we got up this morning, put on our professional-looking clothing and headed into the court room in support of Lawyer Mom.

When we showed up to the court house, I was stunned to see what her soon-to-be ex was wearing, although I shouldn’t have been. There is a movie named “The Devil Wears Prada”; I’ve never actually seen the movie, but I can assure you of this much—the devil in fact does NOT wear Prada. He wears thrift store straight leg jeans with orthopedic tennis shoes and his lawyer wears a tacky tweed skirt in a size that is less than becoming. (You would think as much as he had to pay her she’d be able to afford a skirt in the right size.)

As I sat in the court room this morning behind what we learned was “the bar”—The Devil’s lawyer graciously informed us that the bar was the separation between where “lay people” sat and where the lawyers sat—I silently prayed. I prayed for strength for my mother, I prayed for peace in the court room, and I prayed for comfort for my family. Consistently I repeated “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, and then a variation of the same verse “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength”.

I don’t know what the final outcome of the court case will be, but I know two things today without a doubt.

1.- This too shall pass.- My mother will officially be divorced no matter what the outcome.
2.- Abby and I should have made and worn those shirts. If the Devil showed up in straight legs and orthopedic shoes, surly we could have gotten away with a little supportive athletic wear.