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When Yes is No Fun

I am tired today – the result of numerous recent nights of not putting myself to bed before midnight.  But, I’m also happy.  You know why?  Because my cabinet arrived!!   And I managed to get it painted already!  It went a lot faster than I had anticipated.  I did run out of paint last night but all I have left on it is the inside of one of the cupboards so it doesn’t show.  I ordered some more paint and it should be here Wed.   I am loving this milk paint.  I’m going to use the rest of the can I ordered on the bathroom vanity.  I got a call last Wed. that my cabinet would be arriving the next day.  It was shipped from an Amish workshop in Pennsylvania . The truck driver seemed a bit clueless when he came as to how he was going to get it into my house because they had packaged both pieces together into one big bundle and he didn't think it would fit through the door.  So, I suggested to him that we take it apart outside, which would enable me to inspect it, which was something I wanted to do before signing for it anyway.  David was home, so the two of them were able to carry it into my kitchen and then that night Will came over and got the top part fastened to the bottom.  That same night I stopped by Menards after my class and found the perfect knobs (after having spent quite a bit of time on-line and not finding them in the price range I wanted).  Today I am moving the contents of my old pie safe into this cabinet and re-arranging the wall decorations.  Will and David took that over to his house Saturday. So, anyway, I am happy.  I’m reminding myself that it is still a thing, and as such, could be gone tomorrow.  But I will enjoy it as long as I have it – which I hope is a long, long time.
I took my sub classes last Thursday night and all day Friday and Saturday.  They were intensive but full of good information.  I thought the instructor was especially good.  Now I just need to graduate, get my transcript, get fingerprinted, take a mandatory reporter class ($25), submit my info to the Dept. of Education ($163), apply at the school, and wait for the phone calls.  I imagine we will be well into fall before I am fully able to do this.  At one point we had to introduce ourselves and I mentioned that I was homeschooling my senior.  Later, another dad told me that his wife had homeschooled their kids, too.   There was  a man in our class who is in the process of applying to medical school (and he has a family – that won’t be easy) and is  planning to sub while waiting to be accepted and I sat next to an official doctor on Saturday.  She’s earned her doctorate in physical therapy.  But she said starting pay for a PT doctor is only in the $55,000 range.  I would have thought it would have been more.  Another lady I met told me that she had lost a baby to SIDS 6 years ago and since then has suffered such crippling anxiety that she no longer feels she can work full time so subbing seems like a viable alternative for her.  So many different stories.
Will told me a couple of weeks ago that he has now decided against teaching.  I was flabbergasted when he told me because he has seemed pretty set on this course.  I’ve always known that he was a little uncertain about the teaching aspect of it, though, but I figured he had worked through that in his mind.  Apparently not.  But I was calm and cool about it.  I reminded myself that he is a grown man, has demonstrated capability all his life, and has a close walk with the Lord.  Who am I to presume that I know better than he the path that his life ought to take?  Still, it’s going to be a little embarrassing when the teachers at the school ask me again how long until he graduates with his teaching degree.Oh well.

Although, after taking this class, I have to say I have a little more sympathy for his decision.  Our teacher, who has been in education for several decades, was very frank with our class and told us that teachers are leaving the profession in droves right now.  She said Iowa is very quickly approaching a crisis point with its lack of teachers.  It’s due to a number of factors – low pay, horrible parents, and badly behaved children.  She said this is one of the reasons subs are in such demand right now – there just are not enough teachers to fill all the open slots.  Traditionally, older teachers have filled those sub positions once retired, but now, many are having to work later because of financial reasons and, also, many are refusing to sub once they do retire.  They just want out altogether. 

Will plans to graduate this Dec. with a history degree.  Then it sounds like he will be working for this guy he knows who has a septic business – with a starting pay quite a bit higher than he would have earned teaching.  And he told me he wants to get his sub license, too, for times when the septic business would be less busy.  And honestly – who knows?  Life has a way of taking our plans, twisting them, and setting us on paths we could never have envisioned at 23.  Or, I guess Proverbs 16:9 would be an appropriate verse to insert right about here.
I went to see I Can Only Imagine with a couple of friends two weeks ago.  I liked it.  It was the story of how the song came to be, how the group, Mercy Me, got their start, but mostly about the steps of forgiveness and reconciliation the lead singer had to take with his abusive father.  I would definitely recommend it.

That same week I also watched The Help with Arien and the girls.  I actually have the book, but have never read it.  I did like the movie, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to everyone.  The setting is in Mississippi just as the Civil Rights movement is gaining traction.  The play centers around the spoiled white women who hire black women as their maids and nannies – the only employment available to black women at the time.  It really wasn’t much different than slavery, other than an employee could quit.  But if she did that then she could be “blackballed” so that no other white family would hire her and then what would happen to her?  Anyway, part of the plot is that some of the snootier white women do not want their black maids using their bathrooms.  Some have outhouses for the employees while others build special, “blacks only” bathrooms (non heated and stifling in the summertime) onto their houses.  One woman even draws up and submits a piece of legislation to the state requiring separate bathrooms because black people “carry germs and diseases.”  Disgusting to even realize people once thought things like that.  I have two bathrooms in my house.  The girls do not like the upstairs bathroom for some reason, even though it’s decorated all pretty, just for them.  But I make them use it in the mornings and at night (their bedroom is right across the hall – it’s more  convenient to keep their things in there) in order to keep the downstairs bathroom free for the rest of us.  During the day, I don’t care what they use, but I need to divert traffic at those high-use  times of day. When Will lived at home and slept upstairs he also used that bathroom.  The girls have always complained about having to use that bathroom  and I’ve always ignored them.  Well, the girls watched the movie and the next thing I knew, Lizzie was telling me a few days later that Ellie told her, “You know the real reason Mom won’t let us use the downstairs bathroom, don’t you?”  How aggravating (but kind of funny in a twisted way)!  So, we had yet another talk…
I am really liking our new pastor.  I wish I could make it to more evening services, but  am hopeful that once I am done with school that can happen.  He preached a few weeks ago on making decisions.  I want to copy what he said, not only to share with my readers, but so that if I lose this handout I will have it in my blog. 

Questions to ask yourself in any decision

1.     Is this what Jesus would have decided in my place?  1 Jn 2:6
2.     Will this action bring the greatest glory to my Lord? 1 Cor. 10:31
3.     Would I want to be found doing this when the Lord returns for me? 1 Jn 2:28
4.     Will this action bring impurity or  useless harm to my body, which is not my own? 1Cor. 6:19-20
5.     Will my following this decision offend another Christian, cause him to doubt or make him weak?  Rom 14:21
6.     Will my action be a help or hindrance to my lost friends and relatives?  Matt 5:16
7.     Is this decision perfectly consistent with the Word of God? 2Tim 3:16
8.     Can I unhesitatingly ask the Lord to bless and strengthen me to follow this decisions (honestly, take your time…) 1 Jn 3:22

I didn’t know I’d be confronted with a weighty decision so quickly after hearing this message.  I don’t want to go into a whole lot of detail in a public blog.  But, the short story was that I ended up meeting a man a few weeks ago – and I really liked him.  But he was divorced.  I didn’t know, at first,  what was right or wrong in this situation. I knew what Paul would have said – but he wasn’t right about everything all the time, either . I know Christians who say that if reconciliation is attempted and refused, then a Christian is free to remarry. I know others who argue that if a divorce occurs because of adultery then the offended spouse is free to remarry.  But I know others who say that a person is bound by their vows, regardless of a divorce, until death.  After doing some hunting around in the Scriptures, I finally dropped an email to my new pastor to get his take.  To my surprise, he wanted to get  together with me. I figured he’d just shoot me a quick answer with some accompanying verses.  So, a couple of days later I met with him and with his wife.  And I came away from that meeting feeling very assured that I cannot marry – or date – a divorced person.  It wasn’t them telling me.  It was seeing it in Scripture for myself and just not seeing any other way it can possibly be interpreted.  I’m not going to stand in judgment of those who choose otherwise.  That is between them and God.  But now that I know, I also know that I can’t do this because it would violate my conscience and there would forever be that doubt in my mind that I had chosen very wrongly.
Eventually –  today – I was asked on a date by this man.  And I told him no.  and I told him why.  And I felt…awful.  I knew I had disappointed him greatly and I knew I was saying “no” to what my flesh wants more and more – companionship, a partner, physical touch, help with parenting,  to be important to someone again, to be loved.  In the moment, saying “no” because I believe that’s what God desires for me paled to what I wanted.
And what am I saying “yes” to, then?  Lots of years of continued loneliness, I can imagine.  There are not too many men my age, available for marriage, who are not divorced. And then when I think of all the other things they would have to “check off” in order to be a fit – finding another mate seems like a near impossibility right now.  I guess it only takes one, though.  I’m saying yes to more fatigue and loneliness and decision making on my own and everything that I do not like about my life right now. I'm saying yes to being criticized for my interpretation of Scripture and perhaps even being accused of being "legalistic."  If I try hard enough, I could get myself worked up into a real I-feel-so-sorry-for-myself snit right about now…I believe I have done the right thing by turning this man down, but I didn’t know that doing  the right thing would feel so crummy. 
But, by saying no, I’m also saying “yes” to God’s best.  I know that.  I am saying yes to showing my children that sometimes we wait a very long time for the things we think we need and want.  I’m showing them that marriage is much more weighty than most consider it to be.  I’m saying “yes” to trusting Him when I still can’t see what’s around the bend and when I would just really like to be rescued out of all this.
For my 18th birthday, a long, long time ago,  my parents gave me a Bible.  I don’t even know that I have the Bible any longer.  But I’ll never forget the inscription my mom wrote in the front.
God gives His best to those who leave the choice to Him

Saying no, saying yes…someday it will be worth it all.


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