Stayin’ Alive

I’m stuck.  I mean I’m not really stuck.  We’re just waiting on God.  Actively waiting on Him – but we’re waiting on His timing all the same.

We know waiting goes against life in 2015;  GET it NOW.  DO it NOW.  BE it NOW.  We COULD try to MAKE it happen but we’ve lived and walked with Jesus long enough to know that when we try to make something happen on our own, especially something like this, things just don’t go well.  And we could fail.  That’s okay.  We’re not afraid of failing.  If we fail, then at least we tried to do what we feel led to do to help kids.  (What is worse?  Failing?  Or not trying at all?)  Our goal is to help homeless teens by giving them a safe place to live for a while, teaching job and life skills, and leading them to have closer relationships with Jesus.  If we are trying to do God’s Will, He will go before us and make a way when we can’t see a way.

Some people are laughing at our faith. (That’s okay.  If people laughing at us was gonna stop us, we’d have had to stop as soon as we started telling people about all this that God’s put on our hearts.)

Some know this is for real and are praying with us. (Thank you!  This means SO much to us. Thank you!)

Some HOPE all this is real. (Guess people will have to watch and see what God’s doing. Fly or fall, we’re in this and there’s no going back.  God opens doors no man can shut and He shuts doors that no man can open.  We’ll keep walking in faith toward this homeless teen shelter work He’s been leading us to unless He shuts the doors and steers us another direction.)

We know it’s real.

I keep thinking about people wandering in the desert for 40 years and can’t help but think, “Isn’t that what so many of us do all our lives? We wander.”

I mean, sure we make plans and do stuff. We go to school and to work. We’re part of a church. We have a family – or not. Some stay single. Some get married (some, a few times.)

 

But we wander.

 

I wonder if our wandering isn’t so far from the stories about people wandering in the Bible:

“Hey, believe God is doing this.”

“Nope.”

“Okay, then. Have a good life – or at least as good as YOU think YOU can make it as you wander around aimlessly.”

Then – after all the doubters are gone from this generation, God will do great works that you’ll always wish you’d have gotten to see.

Today I prayed something like, “God, I’m feeling afraid; a little discouraged and intimidated by this homeless teen center quest You’ve got us on. I mean, we can’t quit and don’t even want to because this is the most amazing work You’ve ever done with our lives, but at the same time, the magnitude of this work seems so far beyond us and our abilities – and it is, FOR SURE – and the heartaches we’ll hear about are already breaking our hearts. Would you please send some encouragement?”

I was walking through a thrift store looking for fleece shirts for my family while I prayed this when I hear a song I’ve never heard before in my life.

Not joking. The song sings, “Baby, you got what it takes.”

That made me smile.

Then I was on an aisle all by myself when a woman walked just 2 steps past me and we spoke a moment about finding the right sizes. I said something about colors I hoped to find. She said colors don’t really matter as much. I agreed and said I know warmth is what matters most and told her that we’re moving to Alaska. She told me she goes fishing there sometimes. I said we feel God’s moving us there to take care of homeless teens.

THEN she told me they’ve made friends with a family in Alaska who also felt called by God to do work there (and have been now for a couple years) and they have 2 sons who homeschool and she’d like me to call her to have another family to talk with.  ((Thinking out loud about grammar stuff… Yes, I end sentences with prepositions sometimes.  I don’t even mean to.  The important thing is that it won’t keep me out of Heaven.))

(Coincidence? I think not.)

Ummm… so this brought another smile.  And some much needed comfort to my heart.

A little while later I’m thinking of dangerous situations we may encounter with people and animals in Alaska.

Not even joking.  The song Stayin’ Alive played over the speakers.

This made me laugh!

God is good and He hears our prayers. (And the even cooler part is that He answers.)

 

~~~

We are asking for prayers for finances, houses, buildings, donations (including desks, beds, clothes, money, vehicles, food, books, and everything else I’m not thinking to mention,) volunteers, and for God to keep leading us as we keep walking through the doors He opens.

Thank you and may God bless you so big that you can’t help but see Him.

 

I’ve gotta write about this amazing customer service!

Thank you, Gigi, Jax, Ashleigh, and Nora.  Ladies, you made my Christmas extra special this year. And thank you, Erin, for telling us about this store. Thank you, Chloe, my daughter, for caring about me and being a noticer. Thank you for pushing me to go to this store (because we both know I wasn’t gonna.) You are one of my best friends (even if the world says parents and kids can’t/shouldn’t be friends. When you think about it… the world says a lotta stuff that doesn’t make much sense and makes life more difficult.)

When I receive good customer service I OFTEN write to the company or to an employer praising the great way an employee exceeded expectations. (And when I get crummy service I only occasionally write and am very careful what I say. Maybe the person was having a bad day. Everyone has bad days.)

My husband recently took me shopping at Torrid. Torrid is a women’s clothing store. They have cute jackets, tops, bottoms, shoes, jewelry, undies, bras, and even a few nighties to choose from. AND they have gift cards so you can give this wonderful gift to someone.

I visited there once before and received the same quality of service as this time.

THAT time I was just buying a bra that would fit me (because mine was squeezing me like a corset and I was barely able to breathe.) Thank you, Erin. You are my hero! (I know the correct word is “heroine” but I like the word “hero” better because it sounds cooler.) Because you took my daughter shopping with you for your birthday, she told me about Torrid and now I can breathe again. You made a difference in my life when you shared this amazing treasure of a place with my daughter.

THIS time I tried on about 50 items of clothing.

And they did not hurry me. Not even a little bit!

I just had to write about it.

From the moment I walked in I was greeted by a smiling face and she asked if I was looking for something specific. I was. For many years I haven’t found cute jeans that would fit me. She found a couple pair of jeans and then asked if she could reserve a fitting room for me. (They even wrote my name on the door.)

Every time I’d get a few more hangers over my arm, someone would ask if she could take them to my dressing room. “Yes, please.”

At one time I noticed a woman waiting with an employee near the 4 dressing rooms. 3 were occupied. My room was just holding my clothes in it (I wasn’t ready to try stuff on yet) but they were not letting anyone use my space. They prepared a place just for me! Of course, I offered the room to the customer and she accepted.

I believe every person working spoke to me and nobody rushed me. Since I’ve had kids, many days I have been rushed. That’s not fun. Somewhere in the middle of mommyhood, we realize we better sit down a while because we just really need to. As a mom and wife, I hurry to help my kids, my friends, my kids’ friends, my husband, church, school, and then don’t remember that I haven’t taken time for me to be refreshed.

This shopping visit did just that!

After I was there maybe 10 minutes, tears came to my eyes.

What’s THAT about? OHHH! I’m not being rushed, pulled on, pushed, guilted into, needed, volunteered, or anything but pampered.

PAMPERED! WOW! THIS feels GREAT! I could do this every day! (I won’t do this every day. But I will remember the feeling and take moments for me more often.)

(I LOVE being a mommy and wife. These 2 things are all I ever dreamed about being when I was younger. I absolutely love it. It’s okay to need time to re-energize and regroup. Any job requires that for someone to be able to give more again.)

The employees were all kind to each other. There was no “attitude” when they spoke to each other or to customers. There was a genuine respect in the atmosphere that many companies don’t have between employees.

THAT says A LOT by itself!

I wasn’t in a hurry. They let me keep adding clothes to the room.

When I finished looking through all the beautiful choices and was trying the clothes on, every once in a while one of the girls would ask if I needed a different size or how things were going. (They did this with everyone ~ and it was very kind.) Someone would trade out one size or color for another while I was trying on clothes.

It was like they were there to REALLY HELP me shop!

The girls were professional, fun, silly, friendly, real, polite, and would offer their opinions about an outfit.

I LOVED that!

Even if someone doesn’t like a certain style or color on me, I may still buy it because I like it but I really do appreciate their opinions about whether something looks good on me or not. (I’d always rather hear someone who cares about me or cares how I look tell me in the store if it doesn’t look so flattering than for a hundred people to think, “That looks awful on her,” after I buy it.)

It’s not a reflection of my worth or beauty if a certain style or color does or doesn’t look great. Every body is a different shape and it’s pretty cool that we have so many choices to find the most flattering patterns to fit our body shapes.

At Torrid, (I have to admit this) clothes are a little pricey for every season shopping for me, but they’re good quality and the experience, itself, was WORTH EVERY PENNY to me (and to my husband!)

After deciding on final choices (with the help of my family and 4 sweet employees,) they took the time to find if my mailer coupons or if the in-store promotions were better for me.

It was just a special experience from the beginning and it stayed that way until I went home. I listened to the way they talked with other customers. Every person was treated with respect.

Thank you, ladies, for making this Christmas (and bra shopping a few months ago) a fun and special time. Thank you for NOT rushing me. Thank you for actually caring about my day and for offering your opinions when I tried on clothes. YOU made my Christmas more special this year. I know wherever you work, you will shine and companies would be honored to employ you! Thank you, Gigi, Jax, Ashleigh, and Nora.

[Note: This is not a story about thrift stores but I have to mention how much I LOVE thrift stores. Most of my adult life I have bought my clothes and my family’s clothes (not undies or socks) from thrift stores and garage sales. It’s okay to spend money on clothes sometimes but it’s very fun to be able, when someone compliments my cute shirt, to tell people it was only $2 at a thrift store.

But I’m pretty sure I’ll be visiting Torrid again; maybe for my birthday!

Oh, and I did find some cute jeans, too!]

[Note Too: I find it degrading that some people call some women “plus” size. I believe it would be equally degrading if people called some women “negative” size. It sounds unkind either way to me. Like “You’re too much woman.” or “You’re not enough woman.” There’s a lot I wish would change about this world.

Torrid mostly “sizes” clothes in 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4. And it’s a fun experience just to not see PLUS (or minus) on a sign.

We’re women and we’re ALL beautiful. Period.]

[Note Too Also: You know all those clothes we keep in our closets for 10…20…30… years kinda hoping to wear them again?

I cleaned them out.

THIS actually feels GREAT! (I’ll admit I never could bring myself to do this until now. Not really sure why that took so long. And any small step toward being healthier is better than looking a certain size.)

Try it! Say Merry Christmas to who you are NOW at the beautiful size you are NOW.

It’s actually a LOT of fun!! I never thought it would be. But it’s freeing! And once you really look at who you are and how beautiful you are NOW, no matter what size you are, it’s easier and easier as you go through the closet! I’m so excited for you! It may even turn out to be your favorite Christmas gift to yourself.]