Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fun Fact Friday: A Fresh New Wind

I love blogs. I really do. In fact, I'm addicted. But, they can pose a problem, and actually, I'm referring to more than the fact that my dishes and laundry piles seem to stay bigger, longer now that the blog has entered my life. No, it's more than that. It's the fact that sometimes you can start comparing yourself to others. If you live with my brain and heart, comparisons usually spells disaster. And, usually it's not a fair comparison. A lot of people only put their best face forward, and only write about the good stuff........when it looks like they could win "mom of the year" for the next 10 years straight.

Don't get me wrong, that stuff is fun to read. But, just recently I read a post that was so real it was breathtaking. And, it was NOT all roses and perfection. It was raw, but beautiful. Since reading it, I have been 'slapped in the face' with how God can use something simple like a blog, to minister and speak to many; if we can find it within ourselves to be real and transparent from time to time. Obviously, I'd want the fun stuff to stay and probably even dominate; but I think there is truth to the fact that God can get glory from our struggles and our honesty. Not to mention the fact that we just really never know who will read it, and who just might need to hear it.

With that being said, I'm going to go out on a limb here and share one of mine. Thankfully, it does have a happy ending, but that's just because I waited too long to post the initial concern. Here is fair warning: If you don't know me already, "short and to the point" is not in my vocabulary. But, here is where God has had me lately. It wasn't fun at first, but the Fun Fact is: A fresh new wind is a welcome change. Here goes:

Ok, I was in a rut, a rough spot, a desert, a dry spell. Call it what you will, but it was me. I had been struggling with discontent and an uneasiness for a while. I felt like my quiet times were flat and that my prayers were hitting the ceiling. I knew what I needed to do, but couldn't ever make it happen; or, I knew what I needed to 'not' do and I wasn't willing to make that happen either.

It wasn't just one thing, but an unhappiness with almost everything "me" not my family or my marriage or stuff like that, more my personal personality flaws and my mothering; and I couldn't shake it. And, not only was it unhappiness it was tons and tons of guilt (which just happens to be my middle name). I came "this close" [picture me with my thumb and pointer finger very close together] to doing a post about it to just kind of lay it out there as a prayer request. I even had the title and everything. You wanna hear it? Ok, it was going to be "Just like Paul, only worse" and I was going to include the well known scripture where Paul is wrestling with himself about what he does and does not do (Romans 7:15-16). But, for whatever reason, I didn't. I don't think I was too embarrassed or anything as I'm fairly transparent, but, I think I was too busy--which, when you think of it, isn't that one of Satan's greatest tools.

Anyway, I finally had had enough. I sat down to spend some time with my Saviour. I told him (in true Shana fashion: I wrote them down in a list) all the areas that I hated, the things that I knew I needed to change. I went down the list of and asked him to help me with. each. and. every. single. one. I kept going....I asked for God to help me to recognize when Satan was at work trying to get me to believe his lies about me; some of which, may have even been lies I was telling myself. I asked God to give me a deeper relationship with him. And, I asked that as a result of that deeper relationship, my kids would sense my passion for Christ and want it for themselves.

This was not even 2 weeks ago. Yet, I have felt like I was breathing in, deep in my lungs, a fresh new wind from him. It was noticeable. Palpable. And, there were (and are) areas where I have noticed legitimate improvement, like I was operating under someone Else's (HIS) ability.

And this is my favorite part: There have been a few times, when I've blown it in certain areas. Where I immediately recognized, "yep, that's exactly what you shouldn't do" yet, for the first time, the guilt wasn't there. I quickly said to myself, "No, that's not what you're shooting for, so just aim higher next time." It was like God was saying to me, "I know you're trying Shana, cut yourself some slack." Sometimes, even most of the time, I'm my own worst enemy. But, I think that is slowly starting to change.

It makes me cry just thinking about it. Breathing in the deep grace of Christ. I've known about it all my life, it's just clicking better these days; maybe that's what pit dwelling does for you. This is it, this is what he came for.......for my sin, for me, because he loves me. There truly is no condemnation. It's a fresh new wind to my soul and spirit. It's a fragrant, pleasant, strong wind that I can take in, deep. I'm so thankful for it. Hopefully, it will be a contagious joy. Hopefully, I'll be able to breath it out, and shine for HIM. Maybe, this was my first step.


The Wild World of Richmond said...

I got teary reading your post...crazy, but true-you are one of those people that I look at as super mom. Actually, not just you-but a lot of you guys that I've gotten to know. It just seems like you remember to tell your kids the important things. I often think-hey have i missed some of these things with my older kids. Anyway, what i'm trying to say ARE a super mom. You're not perfect, but that's the very thing that your kids are going to cling to some day. The fact that you were constantly striving to be more like Jesus.

I definitely am one of those people who is not transparent. Very few people know the real Terri. I have to work hard to be real. I think I spent so much of my life.hmmmm, living like I was "supposed" to for all my church friends to see, that I don't even think about it when I put on that mask. It's instinct. You want everybody to think you have and live the perfect life. The truth is-none of us can do that. His son was perfect for us. I have to remind myself of this daily and your post was just another reminder that I need to be "me" and not who I think others think that i should be. Guess what? He loves "me" inspite of my attempts to hide "me". Thanks girly-a great post. Not sure if my comment made any sense, but I tried. I'm now comparing myself to all you great writers(Shana, Cyndi, Meleia, and so many more)

Brad & Shana said...

Take it from me, learn what I learned. NO COMPARISONS NEEDED, and NO CONDEMNATION, we are who He made us to be. Not perfect, but striving to be like him.

But, thanks for the compliment and encouragement.

Steven, Meleia & Libby Bridenstine said...

You know sometimes Steven and I feel that way too. It's (people puttin' their very finest out there) not only the case in Bloggerville, but it's the case in life. I've really had to remind myself that everyone is different and that's what makes life what it is. After reading a blog once, I actually said to him, "I really hope that person's life is that great and perfect. I really do, because my tail is strugglin and I hope my struggle is completely an isolated event. I hope no one feels the strife I feel at times." I've really been struggling with the area of patience and understanding in my parenting efforts. The other day in prayer, I decided to go ahead and tell God that I am no longer afraid to pray for patience. In the past people said, "ohhh, don't pray for patience, you'll just get trials." Whatever, I'm prayin' for what I need right after truly fessing up to my shortcomings. I've decide to go to God boldly with my "stuff". I'm not the most spiritual person in the world, not the most well-educated in all things Biblical, but I know truth and sincerity--and I choose that--be it yucky, uncool, negative, whatever. I've decided to be me and work on me for the glory of God. Not everyone is an open book good and bad like me, not everyone has the same gripes and weaknesses as me. I've also had to realize that I don't necessarily have the best ability to highlight my positive attributes. I'm with you on feeling that feeling that you have and I'm glad you shared. I appreciate you whether it's your struggles or the great times.

chelle belle said...

I love REAL.

Thanks for sharing. Great post!

Jenny said...

Sweet Shana,
You are a wonderful woman created in HIS image. You portray that image to many in a multitude of areas in your life. Your honesty and transparency are so greatly appreciated and God is using that. You encourage me (along with lots of other people) in countless ways. I'm with Terri, you ARE one of the super moms...and so is she!!! Satan definitely uses that tool for moms I believe. This may sound cliche but I'm proud of you. I'm thankful that you have that refreshing wind and can breathe. Keep rebuking that junk from the devil and clinging to the promises of the Father! I love you lady!

Brad & Shana said...

In an attempt to continue keeping it real, I'll share this. After posting that on Friday, boy did I get hit time after time after time with lies. It was like, "oh yeah, WHAM". I recognized them and tried to resist and rebuke and I'm just gonna keep trying.

Not to self: Public praise might often give you a chance to practice what you preach. I'm still practicing, 'cause the freedom is SO worth it.

Jess said...


Well said. All of it. And if you're looking to inspire - you got it Girl! As you know, I've been restless, too - in many areas in my life. I think I need to do your approach of making a list (usually more my sister's strong suit than mine) :) but I could see that just helping to identify and make you more likely to recognize and conquer as they come up.
Great post! Thank you.


(And thank you for passing along about Angie's 'Pitcher' post. That was amazing and my heart just hurts for that sweet family.)

Kevin & Lacey Hammontree said...

Your right, so many times we are down on ourself and don't really know where to go. Yet our heavenly Father just ask us to breath Him in. I have really struggled for awhile and not knowing what to do or where to go. since I have been in the Word. God has really showed me some powerful things such as:

I picked up my bible the other night and and flipped to this not knowing what it said. "That's right.Because I, your God, have a firm grip on you and I'm not letting go. I'm telling you,"Don't panic. I'm right here to help you."

Isaiah 41:14-13
(The Message)

My mouth dropped opened when I read that. That has been on my mind ever since. God is Good!!

Love ya
Lacey H

Tammy Howard said...

Do you remember this theme....A Faith that breathes? Didn't that weekend change our lives forever?

Don't you just love a breath of fresh air......a fresh new wind...a fresh new filling of the Holy Spirit?

I do. May we always keep digging to see and know him more and more.


Tammy said...

It's funny how we see things. So many times when I am still and breathing deeply (which btw is not often enough) "A faith that breaths" is what comes to my mind. There is a part of me that starts the comparison game when I read blogs. So many of you are just incredible writers. You paint a picture with your words. I am so envious of that. I need to adopt Angie Smith's "no edit" philosophy with my posts. I will edit and re-edit. And then even after I publish it, I will re-read it over and over and go back and change things again. Why? God gave me other talents. Why do I feel as if I have to measure up to some standard that I have obvously created myself?? But, on the other hand, I LOVE reading all the blogs because God always shows me something. It helps me to hear the voice of Truth over the mumblings of the enemy. We ALL struggle. We ALL question our abilities as wives, mothers, and friends. So, while we are all very unique, we are also very much the same. I love the sisterhood we share. I love the transparency. I love the willingness to say, "Hey you know what, I'm not perfect, but God is working on me."