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I have a story about humility.  Many people suffer from self-esteem issues, but I seem often to suffer from the opposite:  pride.  I did well in high school, went on to a college degree, and then got a job where I was successful.  I am organized and *usually* on top of things.  So I often pray for humility and for God to remind me that it is because of Him that I was successful, and because of Him that I can hold it together.

A while back a friend of mine wrote checks out of an account that what closed.  In my organized, “with it” mind, I wondered:  “How could you do that?”  It just didn’t make much sense to me since I have systems for everything to keep my life flowing efficiently between the white lines of the fast lane. 

So here’s the scenario:  1) Prayer for humility.  2) Possibly prideful thought about check writing. 

The result:  God answers my prayer for humility using check writing.

Note to husband:  If you are reading this, read no further.  It really doesn’t concern you since it deals with my business checking account, not our personal funds.  Also, I am already extremely humbled and embarrassed, so much so that I cannot tell you about it.  I cannot endure what you would say about being more careful next time.  But I did tell it to a friend who said that one confession was enough.

Last week I noticed that I was running out of checks in my wallet checkbook that I carry in my purse.  In my organized way, I made a note on my Post-It notes that I keep in my van just for such occasions.  When I got home, the Post-It note followed the approved protocols for processing paper.  First, it went into the blue “Mail/Other” folder which hangs in my laundry room.  Then, on the proper day for carrying folders upstairs and sorting them out, it was put on the steps to go up.  Then, on a trip upstairs, said folder with note was put on my desk.  Then, when sorted out, the note was found and acted upon.  A fresh set of checks was located and put back into my purse.  Wow, I am so with it! 

I happily wrote checks for Hannah’s dance recital costumes, and for some alterations.  Then, on Monday, a nasty note came from the bank where I have my business checking account.    “Why are they sending me this?”  I wondered, as I had not had any activity in this account for over a month.  I hardly keep any money in it, as I spend the money as fast as I get it!  The statement said that I had bounced a check for $80.  I kept looking it over, and checking to make sure that it had my name on it, for I knew that I hadn’t written a check out of that account lately.

Then, terror struck.  Instead of writing checks out of our personal banking account (that had money in it), I had written the checks from the business account that had, as of Sept. 24th, $13.81 in it.  Both sets of checks look alike, and I had put the wrong set in my purse.  (Note to self:  Just because the hot pink/lime green floral check scheme is pretty, don’t order it for both personal and business checks.  I know that it is really cute, but resist!). 

So far only one check had cleared of the two that I had written.  Thankfully, hubby was out of town during all of this commotion.  They next day when the bank opened at 9 am the kids and I were there with some cash to put into the business account, in hopes that we could beat the second check from bouncing.

That nasty note arrived today.  Thankfully, the seamstress whose check bounced is also a friend, so I called her today and explained what had happened.  She gracefully forgave me, and I will take her a new check plus her bank fee on Saturday.  And it will be a beautiful hot pink/lime green floral check with hubby and my name, and not my business’ name.

Now, I say all of this to show you what I learned in the process.  I’ve prayed this week trying to understand why this happened.  There has to be a reason why I’ve thrown away $85 to a bank.  Of course, the Lord wants to answer my prayers and humble me.  I hope that I had been sufficiently humbled.  But I also saw something else.  For all of September, my card sales were slow and our cash flow was tight as we had just made some major purchases.  I would not have had extra money to cover the two $35 overdraft fees plus the seamstress’ bank fees.  But, in the last week, I have sold card after card and even had a store contact me asking to sell my cards.  Even in today’s mail along with the bank’s nastygram was a check for $46.  Enough to cover today’s fees.    God knew that I would make a mess, and He, in his goodness and grace, had already provided what I needed to fix the mess.    I like that kind of God.

Enough to answer my prayers.  And to bail me out when He answers them.

We sang a song in church last night that touched me, and it went something like this:

“Be glorified by my mess and delight yourself in my brokenness.”   I believe that I sang it from a humble heart.

My Mom said that a blog would help me, and after today, I really hope that it will!   It was what I call a “bad mommy day” and I was not the nicest homeschool teacher.  Usually people’s eyes get really big when you tell them that you homeschool, as they slowly move you from the “person” to “saint” category.  I do believe that there are many homeschooling moms that are saints, but I am not one of them.  I homeschool because I choose to and because it is what is best for my children,  but if there were better options, I would probably take them!  For the good of me AND the children!  

Some mother’s naturally like to look over little Jimmy’s shoulder and gently help him correct his grammar.  I’d rather say, “Give it to your sister and let her grade it.”  Many of my friends spend hours reading classic lierature to their children.  I take mine to the library, let them choose some books, and then let them read them.  I am the classic lazy homeschooler….if they can do it alone, I let them.  Fortunately, they have thrived in in this education environment!

Today was a bad mommy day.  I seem to have had a string of them lately….not sure why.  We were trucking along just fine and then the bad moods hit. Today was a rough day, with a few unpleasant discussions (aka meltdowns)  with the children.  I wanted to throw things.  I felt that I was going to throw something, so I called my husband and asked him to pray for me.  I hung up the phone, and thought, I really need to call another homeschooling mom who can empathize.   But, my closest homeschooling friend that I usually call on bad mommy days has moved away.   And my cell phone was in another room.   I sat and thought of who else I could call.  Sigh.  I have no phone friends.  I have friends, but none who call me a couple of times a week because they want to talk on the phone with me.   I love to talk on the phone.   I have email friends, but when you need a friend, you usually need them right then!   So I cried.

I did call my mom later, and talking to her helped.  It just helped to get the frustration out.  I’ve had a few of these conversations with my mom, who is one of my best friends.  She said during one of these conversations that I should blog, because it would help me.   At first I thought “Wow, I really must need some help if Mom thinks that I NEED to blog….” but now I realize, it just helps to spill the beans and tell how we truly feel.   (deep sigh)   I feel much better now.

Thanks, Mom, for the advice.

I have a new friend.  She moved to North Carolina from Michigan, and we met when she replied to an email that I sent to my homeschool group.  Desperately seeking friends, or something like that.  I am thankful that she replied.  We have a lot in common:  gardening, card making, chocolate eating, homeschooling, Precept Bible Studying, flute playing, and Jeff Gordon.  Yes, Jeff Gordon!  For a yankee and a southerner to have that much in common is a miracle!

My friend and I met for coffee last Saturday.  We sat in the local Barnes and Noble coffee shop and enjoyed, whatdayaknow, chocolate.  Surprised?   We were emailing this week and discussing our mutual enjoyment of the coffee date, sans kids.  She wrote, ‘I appreciate your “realness.”‘  I get that a lot, and it got me to thinking, what is “real” anyway?  I have had so many people say that they like me because I am “real.”  It made me wonder how being real makes me different from others who are not real. 

Webster’s Dictionary defines “real” as fixed, permanent, immovable; not artificial, fraudulent, or illusory; genuine; being precisely what the name implies, and so on.  And I’m impressed, my friend’s word, “realness” is right there in Webster’s.  It also means genuine.  

I wonder what I do or say to be labeled real.  It is probably what I say.   I think that I talk way too much, especially when I have had caffeine (note to reader: encourage me to get the decaf).    I talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly because it makes me feel better.   I’m at home with young’uns all day, so when I get around adults, expecially females, I can talk!

Maybe I seem real to others because I am very aware of my shortcomings and I am not ashamed to mention them.  I am not good at feeding my family nutricious meals.  I am good at ordering fast food (I can even remember to ask for ketchup on good days!).  I am not good at sitting on the couch with the children to read a book, but I am good at driving them to the library to choose some books they can read on their own.  I’m not good at sewing or knitting or chocheting, but give me some paper and glue and ribbons and buttons and I’ll make you some pretty cards.  I am not gifted in telling people about Jesus, but I seem to be gifted in praying for them!  Maybe I’m real because I’ve made peace with myself.  I know what I am good at, and what I am not good at.  God knows it, too, and He doesn’t seem to mind.    That makes me happy, because I don’t know how to be anyone else than who I am.  I hope that real is good.

My prayer for you is that you can be “real” too.  Thank God that we don’t have to be perfect to be loved.

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