Well, yesterday was a tough day. Said goodbye to Christian for a second year. I know how these things work, every year they are gone, they come home less and less. Had Abbie’s car towed, bad fuel pump. Oh wait, that was the day before. So many things going on that I can’t keep up. I woke up this morning to get ready for church and I did not want to move. I literally wanted to pull the covers over my head and hide, the problem is, you can’t hide from yourself. My mind started to spin with frustrations, situations, ugh! I try so hard, work so hard, put in the hours of effort, try to be all I think God wants me to be, always looking for the lesson in what is going on. I put my heart into applying the lessons He is trying to teach me, and yet, I still want to hide lately. I still keep longing for the elusive joy that seems to have evaporated from my life. I know, I am being really transparent here, kind of uncomfortable, but I really believe others can relate to me. We want so badly to live up to the standards we’ve placed on ourselves, but we fall flat in the trying. As life happens, sorrows come, hardships hit, we are left feeling windblown and disheartened, sad and inadequate. I long to be set free from the roller coaster. I was expressing this to the Lord this morning, just being raw and honest, it wasn’t pretty. I felt him talk to me in the depths of my heart, “You can’t give and give without filling back up.” I knew exactly what he meant. Giving all the good in your whole being, spending yourself completely on another will not satisfy the heart, only God can do that. The next thought that came into my mind was my Bible Study. I have been going through Kelly Minter’s “What Love Is” with some friends over the past several weeks. (Remind me to tell you about how we did this sometime, it is a really neat idea and a way to do Bible study together long distance.) I am nearing the finish, it has been so rich, I strongly recommend it. Anyway, I sat up and pulled myself together and pulled out all my Bible study “stuff.” (I love highlighters, pens, notebooks, I am really a lot of maintenance when it comes to taking notes etc….) The study has been on the book of 1 John. (A teeny, tiny little book in the back of the New Testament.) It is packed full of truth and admonitions and Kelly has helped me to take it on in bite sized pieces. And today was no different. The lesson was on idolatry. I thought I was off the hook, I sure don’t bow down to images and I know who my God is. But, the more we looked at the last verse in chapter 5 together, the more the light bulb went off in my mind, and my heart began to feel like a weight was being lifted off of it. I related so much to her testimony of doing her best, being all she knew how to be and yet still feeling unfulfilled. Wanting more and not knowing exactly what was holding her back from getting it. WOW! This was the answer I was looking for. But wait, idol worship? Wasn’t that back in the Bible days? Then I began to see what she (and John) meant. I was putting too much emphasis on certain relationships, things, success, none of these things bad in and of themselves, but dangerous joy stealers when they are out of priority in my heart. Bingo! (Saying that word reminds me, I am the worst at Bingo, how unlucky can a person be? I played 6 rounds of bingo one time with multiple winners in each round and I didn’t win once. Seriously. Not once. Not a fan.) My heart and mind were in the same place for once, in agreement that I, very naively, was practicing idolatry, putting other things before or in place of God. Now, comes the painful part of figuring out what exactly needs to be extracted and replanted in a less prominent place in my soul and what simply needs to be extracted and gotten rid of. Some things are more obvious than others. I can think of a couple of places to start right off hand, but some will be deeper and less obvious. For those I will need the eyes and heart of the Lord. He has brought me this far, I know he will guide me through the next phase of remodeling and restoration. As you already know, I love a good story. The next phase of my journey I will be posting here in the form of stories and lessons. Off and on you will see a reoccurring theme of freedom as the Lord begins to really set me free from the idolatry and as I learn to put him first in all things and everything. I am excited to see where this takes me, I know it will be painful at times. I will try to share with you so we can talk about it and share the journey together. I really believe that just makes life better. Sharing and, of course, a good cup of coffee. Oh, almost forgot, Abbie (my oldest) took my car back to Mobile with her while hers is in the shop. It was towed the first night she had it. That makes two wrecker transports in one week. Different, long story for another time. (By the time I post this, her car will be out of the shop and on the go again. She will be so happy, and so will I!) Christian went up early to Troy to help others move in to their dorms. While he helped others, we moved his stuff in, so looks like he needed me after all. He is doing fine, loves it so far. And, no, I did not pass out emergency contact cards. Ha! (Although I still may sometime, never know when I’ll get a wild hair.) Travis and I went blue jean shopping and looks like we won’t have to tape up the knee of his jeans after all. And, I’ve decided to let him drive himself to school from the get go, might as well go all out in this freedom thing. And the school supplies? Well, turns out we have enough in our “supply closet” (a.k.a. the closet where the air conditioner unit is) to get us started. No fighting over Trapper Keepers for me. The house is still a mess and my boxes of pictures are untouched, but life is starting to feel better. One day at a time. The verse that opened my eyes and heart to a new chapter for me…. 1 John 5:21 “Dear Children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.” Amen.