Hi y’all…I want to share everything with you but obviously that is not possible and you would not want to know it all…like the fact that the air conditioning is out in our corporate rental apartment…did I mention it’s HOT in Texas?

But I see God’s hand everywhere. I mean, the other day I was trying to explain to a Dad I met that we feel welcome here, that everyone is friendly and helpful and he said, “Yeah, you know, we are all just trying to help each other over the finish line…”

Well then.  Amen!

HOW MUCH DO YOU LOVE THAT LITTLE TIDBIT?

Praise God! Because I feel like I’m nowhere near the finish line.  I feel like the one who is running around looking around trying to figure out what lane she is in and if she has the right shoes on.

This is beginner Texas people.  I mean…Texas 101.

In a meeting at school today the people all looked so kind and they were helpful and friendly but they had to explain a lot to me.  They said, “Well, in Texas…things are a little different…” many times.  There are new terms and new rules.  I’m learning my way around schools, and town and I still can’t find the Nordstrom that they swear is here.  But even in my lost-ness, I feel found.  Even in my having no permanent residence…I feel home.

I tried to explain this to my friend…that people are different here and she said maybe that’s true but maybe you are different there.

God shows you who you are when you have to go.  He shows you what you need when you get a suitcase and a carry on.  He shows you what’s important when there is too much to do so you can’t do it all and you must choose.  He shows you who HE is when you admit you need Him.

Oh how I’ve hidden behind my things. My comfort. My pride. My accomplishments. My knowing.  How comfortable I have been in my safe, beautiful home knowing my neighbors and feeling so connected.  I worked hard to build up that kind of comfort, that rooted-ness, that stability.  I have put my trust in things and people and the world. Oh how complacent I had become.  How unaware.  How jaded. How blind.

I enter this new adventure with eyes wide open.  To who I am, who I have been…who I want to be.

This move coincides with the beginning of my Holy Yoga Master’s Training.  In our first session, we learned that we can’t know who we are until we know WHOSE we are.

Amen?

I am God’s.  His daughter. His beloved. Chosen. Protected. Enough. I am His. He will provide for me.

He gives moments of encouragement from others.  I was in the parking lot of the high school belly laughing with another mom this morning whom I had not ever laid eyes on before today.  I call that a candy kiss from God.

I met one woman early on and I love her!  I keep running into her. Like last night at a school meeting where God must have known I’d like a friendly face to sit with…there she was.

He says…follow me and I will lead you.  When I think of that now,  I don’t picture the disciples leaving their fishing nets.  I picture my family. On the plane to Texas.  With our suitcases and carry ons.  And our prayers.  Our trust.  Our belief.

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It’s true sometimes when you are most lost is when God is closest to you.

When you are untethered to worldly possessions, you Hold on tight to Him. He is steady.

Protecting. Providing. Placing kind people in your path.

Preparing you for the day when He will carry you over that finish line.

©2014 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved 

 

 

 

I had my first school parent coffee in Texas.

Yep, that’s right. I did it. I checked in, showed my license, put on my name tag and entered the scariest place of all…the middle school lunch room.

lunch room

I have to say it has gotten much better.  It’s still not easy but I’m okay. I can enter without the panic of, “Who will I sit with?”

Being new to town and the school and the state and well…just NEW in that way that feels sort of confusing but also funny because there is no way you can hide it.  I mean, I walked in and started wandering around and a teacher asked me, “Are you lost?” and I thought about answering, “Honey, you don’t know the half of it.” Literally, just getting to the school was a major feat.  Needing to know where the lunch room is is way beyond.  I just can’t.

So, it’s obvious.

Thank God I ran into someone I did know right away. By saying I know her, I mean I met her once and I thought it was her so I approached and thank God she recognized me and we started chatting.  I guess maybe the lunch room hasn’t changed that much.  We still look for someone to sit with. I’ve just become much braver.  And wiser. And more comfortable in my skin. Which takes a lot of years of walking into the lunchroom, board room, dorm room, new job, new neighborhood…you get my point.

The Principal started talking and I realized that this school, this experience,  this whole Texas thing…is different.  He said he started in education in 1953. I was doing the math in my head and he clarified…that’s when he started FIRST GRADE.  And he said, He’s “loved education ever since”.  His title is Dr. so I know he’s gone to a lot of schooling but I couldn’t give a hoot. (Don’t I sound southern already?)  I was more interested in what he said about the CULTURE and how important it is to him.  He talked about when he was a principal before and he was widowed and he suffered so much and he just couldn’t do it anymore so he retired.  He said he couldn’t “run the race” anymore.

He said he was blessed to find a wonderful woman who is his wife now and she brought him back, reminded him of how much he loved being in education and he came out of retirement.  He said school is important and he loves it but he loves his wife and family more.  That school and learning and accomplishing and all that we do here in this building is really, really important but not as important as your family.

He assured us that even though the school is new and the technology doesn’t work yet and there is confusion and the busses are late…the teachers love our kids and are trying their best and working really hard.  He asked for our patience and asked if we could please encourage and support the teachers.  He reminded us that we are all in this together.

There was a mom that shared her daughter was not allowed to go to the bathroom because she didn’t have a “pass” so she had an accident.  He was mortified and so sorry.  He launched into this whole thing.

He said there are 2 camps. “Rules and Regs” and ‘Culture”.  He said he’s not much of a rules and reg guy but he knows they are necessary.  He’s more into relationships and getting people what they need and OFFERING GRACE.  

Of course, this made me cry. Me too! I wanted to shout! Me too! Amen! 

There were moms there of course who kept pressing about bathroom passes and the busses and complaining about homework.  I was having an out of body experience.  I was watching and listening and I wanted to shout!! Did you hear him?!?! We are offering GRACE.  It’s about GRACE!!  All are doing their best!!

Now don’t get me wrong, parents have every right to ask all of those questions and all of the administrators there were lovely and accommodating and trying their best to help everyone.

It just reminded me of how we get sometimes about God and Religion.  We put all the rules and regulations in.  We start keeping score.  We demand. We perform. We measure.  We get so tired we can’t “run the race” anymore.  We forget that we are in this together.  We get so worried about people having a “pass” that we don’t see they are about to have an accident right in front of us.  We don’t recognize the suffering.  We make them jump through hoops.  We abandon. We criticize. We humiliate. This is love? This is Christian living?

But then Jesus comes in and goes, “Hey, guess what? I’m not much of a rules and reg guy.  I’m here to offer grace.”  He assures us that he loves us and he’s for us and he cares about our CULTURE.  He sets us FREE. To go to the bathroom or whatever.  He says, “You don’t need a pass…I AM THE PASS!!!”  You are all good.

Okay so at the end of an hour of people questioning, complaining, etc…a woman stood up.  She stood up and said, “I want to thank you.  For coming in here and talking about CULTURE and GRACE and for making it a priority to make this a GOOD, KIND place that offers understanding and support and encouragement.” Actually, I have no idea what else she said. But she was tracking with what I was feeling and a lot of other people in the room.  I couldn’t even hear her.

I was crying Holy Spirit tears and shaking my head and saying “Amen!”

Because honestly, he’s a principal but he’s also a missionary.  Right here. In Texas. In the Middle school lunchroom.

It was a lunch room.

But it felt more like Church.

 

©2014 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

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Note the looks on their faces. Somewhere between, “This is Stupid” and “I hate you for moving us.”

Emotions run wild.

On the first day of school. Wherever you are. Whoever you are.

Check out the rooftops below. The newness. The growth. The sun. So much is different and yet all is the same.

I wish I could take that same picture every day. Day two was filled with smiles and a little less, “I hate you.”

I wish I could show the progression. The houses being finished. The becoming. The growth. Courage. Strength. Success.

I wish heart growth wasn’t invisible. I wish my kids could wear courage like a badge of honor around their neck. I wish they could receive recognition for being brave and learning new things and “doing it afraid”. I wish the pictures could catalog the strengthening of their resolve and the opening of their hearts and the banishing of fear.

They (and we) live in a world of Facebook and instagram and Twitter posts that look like perfection but feel like lies. No bravery or vulnerability in sight.

I considered posting the cuter picture, the one where they were smiling. I considered trying to wrap this up in a bow, falling into old patterns, achieving, performing. But God is doing a new thing here in Texas. And in my heart. He has assured me I have a bigger, better, braver story to tell.

The real one.

No, we can’t wrap this up in a bow with a pretty picture. Not yet. Maybe not ever. Because a picture can’t do this journey justice. A picture won’t show how we are becoming who God designed us to be. A picture will never show our trust and our surrender.  It can’t convey how those things make us stronger. It can’t capture the transformation of our hearts.

No, we can’t see what matters in a picture.  So we tell our story.

He is trusting us to be brave and to tell the story well.

©2014 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved