Thursday, May 20, 2010

CAROLINA DREAMIN'

On such a winter's day, I'm looking out over the Atlantic Ocean in South Carolina's beautiful Myrtle Beach. Dreamin'. (I wrote this in January. Doug and I are right back here again today, celebrating our 41 years together.)

Our small group Bible study, One Month to Live, raised a question, "When you were a child, what did you dream of becoming when you grew up?" That's easy. It was singular and unchanging. To be a wife and mother. Playing dolls was my practice run.

It wasn't until I brought our firstborn home from the hospital that I realized my training may have been insufficient.
"Doug! What if I lose my grip on Kimberly's soapy, little body?" I feared out loud. Do all new mothers visualize their babies going down the drain? Literally? Don't answer that. I did.
Kimberly not going down the drain despite her new mother's fears!
Doug had more actual experience helping rear three younger sisters. So he was more secure holding slippery, naked babies. He helped me a lot in those early days as my confidence grew along with the children.

When we're young or old, we have time to dream. Between that, however, I lived my dream and had little time for more dreaming. The expression "putting your dreams on hold" covered about 25 years.

An empty nest finally prompts the question again, "What do you dream of becoming?" As a child I never got beyond motherhood. That dream was fulfilled. Now what? It felt indulgent at first to figure out who I was again in my 50's. My identity could not be solely as a mother. What were my passions, my desires, my abilities and experiences leading to now? Do I still have dreams?

It took some time to see God still had plans for me. "I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord..." (Jer.29:11.) It was not always about a big future like we think when we're younger. David reminded me in Psalm 139:16 that "All the days for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

Who wrote that daily planner for me? God! As I look at the sand on the beach, I'm reminded in the next verse, "How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand."

Wow! God thinks about me all the time. He planned my days before I was born and wants to fulfill my dreams and desires.

Part of my post-motherhood journey was in a class I now teach at church about discovering who you are. It calls for looking back over your life in segments, beginning with childhood.

I'm in my 60's so this feels pointless. But if I ask others to do it, then I need to myself.

As I filled out the information, it clarified my call to teach and more specifically having the gift of influence. My joy comes from seeing others learn and soar. Of course teaching piano does that. But I was asked to recall from my childhood various times I influenced others. I thought of three.

#1
My friend's name was Valerie Jean Skinner but we called her Pug. She had a cute turned up nose, long red pigtails and was much younger than I. I was in second grade, she in first.

"Pug, did you know the water in your toilet is the very same as what comes out at the sink?"

"No-oooo...really, Kathy?"

"Really! You could drink it, ya know. It's the same water!"

"You sure?" her nosed turned up a bit more than usual.

"Sure! Go ahead, Pug, dip that cup in the toilet and drink it...it tastes the very same!"

She did it!

Now all these years later, I'm ashamed. Maybe I really didn't think she'd do it. But she did!

#2
Another day at Pug's house, her mother (my first piano teacher and a neighbor) came in and found us both crying. Mrs. Skinner asked, "What's wrong, girls?"

"Nothing," Pug answered honestly.

"Then why are you crying?"

"Cause Kathy said, 'Let's cry.' So we both thought of something sad so we could."

Did I have the ability to influence or what?

#3
My cousin Debbie and I sat on Papa's front porch swing one summer day long ago. I had a little tube of airplane glue in my hand. She was gullible. I was mean. So it was her fault what happened next.

I held the open tube close to my eye, peering in, "Woah, look at that..." I lied.

"What? What's in there, Kathy?"

"Oh nothing. You're too young to see it," I lied again, setting the hook.

"No, I'm not! I wanna see! What is it?"

"Little, tiny fishes. They're swimming around in there! Wow!" If my name were Pinocchio, my nose would have stretched farther than my truths.

She begged. I appeared to reluctantly yield. When she looked in, I squeezed the tube of glue. My young brain never considered what happened next. There are no fonts here large enough to describe the ear-piercing screams that Debbie produced. The next scene was ugly. Lots of aunts and uncles came running. My Daddy included. A deserved trip to the woodshed followed. I didn't sit on the swing, or anywhere, for awhile. Yet Debbie still loves me today...amazing.

At a recent family reunion we did a reenactment! I still have influence!



God took me on a mental trip to see what He planted within me, unregenerated, but dreams He wrote on my day-by-day life. Spankings and the Holy Spirit refined my gifts as I grew up.

He gave me words--spoken, written or sung--to influence others for Him. Those dreams stretched through the busy years of motherhood and still come true. This blog, a class at church, piano lessons weekly are my lesson plans from God. I love what I do.

He always wants to do a new thing in us. Growing, changing, maturing us doesn't ever stop. The change may be small--forgiving someone, writing a love letter to somebody taken for granted, taking on a new ministry or dropping some of the busyness in life. Sometimes less is more. God tends to simplify our lives if we listen and let Him. We must be intentional about growth. You were created for a purpose in ministry. When you find it, you'll love it and be good at it, by His design.

"No matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ. And so through him the 'Amen' is spoken by us to the glory of God." (2 Cor. 1:20)

Corrie ten Boom said, "God likes to be reminded of His promises."

He thinks about you all the time. He plans your future but also your days, from birth to death. He plants dreams in your heart and wants to fulfull those desires. They're good...for you, for others, for His glory. He's already said yes. We just need to agree, say amen, and get on board.

I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice
And it told Thy love to me
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to Thee.

Chorus:
Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord
To the cross where Thou hast died
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord
To Thy precious, bleeding side.

Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord
By the power of grace divine
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope
And my will be lost in Thine.

O the pure delight of a single hour

That before Thy throne I spend
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God
I commune as friend with friend!

There are depths of love that I cannot know

Till I cross the narrow sea
There are heights of joy that I may not reach
Till I rest in peace with Thee.

Fanny Crosby


8 comments:

  1. Loved this one, Sis. Mama always told us after our teenage years that you were the mean one. Now, Bert and I knew that, but I was surprised she knew it, cause you were always her favorite... ;-)

    Oh, why did you stop with three??? Did three clear your conscience? Tell me it isn't true! Would you like for me to continue this blog with Instances 4-500? I mean let's start with the argument you could make a yo-yo "sleep." After betting, you took my yo-yo and rather than put the string on your finger, you went to my bedroom, placed my yo-yo on my pillow, tucked it in with the covers, and said, Night. Night."

    And then there was the time.........

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  2. I am cracking up out loud, Ricky! I have no recollection of that yo-yo thing but it was truly funny and brilliant. And you weren't so...it's YOUR fault, Mr. Gullible. What can I say? My family tree is infested with idiots and it brought out the mean me!

    Love you anyway,
    Big Sassy Sis, Kat

    ReplyDelete
  3. From my friend and fellow wordsmith, Marilyn Pritchard, via email. She's a Nashvillian, recovering from the flooding.

    Kathy,

    My house has been in upheaval more than a month because of a sewer backup and the resulting floor replacements for all three downstairs rooms. Last night while trying to un-heave the place a bit, I came across an article I wrote for Contact years ago when my apartment was being repainted, carpeted, etc. Back then, my living quarters were a mess -- much like they are now, but it was so they could be more attractive when the work was finished. The conclusion was that God sometimes make things look worse before He can make them better.

    That's not exactly what you said in today's blog, but it falls in the same category somehow in my feeble brain. You say it sooooo much better than I did.

    Sometimes God takes the "oops" in our lives and allows them to recreate themselves as something beautiful so we can minister to others.

    You're a great wordsmith, Kathy. Keep it up. Your influence is touching many lives for the Lord.

    Marilyn

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is from my cousin, David.
    Facebook to me
    show details 9:03 PM (12 hours ago)
    Dave Tippett commented on your link:

    "After all that I can now understand those pics from the reunion, too too funny, but I am glad Debbie still loves you, she can see, and you can sit now!"

    ReplyDelete
  5. From an old college friend:

    Facebook to me
    show details 9:40 AM (7 hours ago)
    DeeDee Lisenby commented on your link:

    "Loved those stories..at 1st I thot you left us hanging when you went to the woodshed...I wanted to know where Debbie went...I was picturing the ER...or the hose...but it looks like she has 2 eyes in the pictures...I was imagining a patch. See..you know a good writer when you start picturing stuff...I accept that you're a good teacher...but you forgot to mention that God has given you a powerful gift with words...somebody has to toot your horn...bet lots of others will join me at the horn..and I'm just coming in late."

    ReplyDelete
  6. Then my forgiving cousin, Debbie, filled in the blanks for Dee Dee!

    Debbie Tippett Hockaday commented on your link:

    "DeeDee, thank you for being concerned about me. The way I remember the rest of the day, I was lying across the laps and knees of my mother, grandparents, aunts and uncles who offered all kinds of solutions, which Daddy tried, to get the glue out. The entire family remembers that day! I must admit, when Kathy showed me a tube of super glue for the re-enactment pictures, I really withdrew from her and agreed to participating ONLY if I could wear my glasses. My confession: I have forgiven Kathy, but I have not forgotten. =D"

    ReplyDelete
  7. Debbie posted another comment about this and somewhere in it was this symbol:
    ;-)

    And her explanation:
    "That's NOT a winking face. It's my eye glued shut!"

    She still has a good sense of humor, if poor vision!

    Kathy

    ReplyDelete
  8. Kimberly Henderson GraingerMay 24, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    Too funny, Ma! Kinda scary, though, the pics of my uh, ahem, SELF.
    Love you,
    Your Firstborn

    ReplyDelete