Friday, June 27, 2014

All the single ladies (and guys... and widows... and married peeps... and...)

Now, put ya hands up! Uh-uh-oh-uh-uh-oh-oh-oh....

Ok, I'll stop. I recognize that I may be the complete opposite of Beyoncé. I mean, even when I typed her name just now, blogger knew to automatically put that little accent sign above the 'e'.

Does blogger know that I prefer to have an accent above my 'e'???

Paigé is what I will go by from now on, thank you very much blogger.

But y'all. I love dat song. It be playin' in my head all the time. You know it be playin' in yo head too. (Oh, yeah... I'm adjusting my dialect to fit me a little better now that my name is Paigé. Duh girl.)

No, but really... I love the excitement that song brings to the single crowd. It's got them dancing and singing and celebrating their singleness. All proud of themselves for being single. Whaaaat? Since when does that happen? Since when is your single friend flaunting themselves around talking about how truly happy they are to be single? (I'm not talking about that girl that wishes she has a man and acts like she don't care... we all know her and know she really wants one.) Although not the most tasteful song eva', I love that singles can sing this song with some pride in their singleness! Get it guuuurl. Or guuuuy. W/e.

Why am I so happy for these single folks?

Girl, weren't you married at a young age? You don't think errrbody should too?
("errrbody" = "everybody"... remember my name is now Paigé)

I love that I got married at a young age. I was 18 and he was 24. It was right for us. I love my husband so much. We've been through some junk together and I wouldn't want to walk through that stuff with anybody else. He's a dreamer, he's cray cray, he's sarcastic, he is PASSIONATE, he is an incredible leader, and he's a GREAT father. I love that man. He is a HUGE part of my life, my NUMBER ONE relationship, and one of my MAIN priorities. But he's not my finish line. I didn't marry Kolby and have the "happily ever after" ending.

 Life kept going... Children came along... God kept moving... We kept (literally) moving...

Things weren't finished when we said "I do." It was just the beginning of our journey together and a continuation of our individual journeys.

Marriage is a very beautiful and unique piece of God's creation that I'm very thankful to experience. But there are other beautiful and unique creations you may experience, that I never will. Kolby and I are still in a figuring-ourselves-out kind of stage, learning who we really are and what we want to be about. We have our own individual dreams and passions. We share those with each other, we encourage each other, we love each other through the upsets... but we may not always share those same dreams and passions. Because we're individual people. And y'all... that's OK!! God designed us both and made us really different people. We can appreciate and love the other person without everything exactly lining up.

So what am I getting at?

Marriage isn't The End. And sorry (not sorry) if this rocks your world, but it's not what life is all about.

Knowing God, through Jesus, is what life is all about. And THAT is a reason to celebrate! Because whether you're married, single, dating, divorced, courting, engaged, a widow, a single parent... whoever you are... all are welcome in His kingdom. He's crazy about YOU and has a plan for YOU.

Hey YOU. Your journey isn't taking it's time, waiting to start.

Hey YOU. Your journey isn't over.

Isn't that a reason to celebrate??

So where are you at on this journey? Are you rocking out to single ladies and celebrating that God is using you in your singleness? Are you a widow who is embracing God's unique and beautiful plan that still seems so fresh and new? Are you courting and feel like no one else in the world understands this personal journey you've chosen to walk with some one else, yet you're loving every minute? Are you married and watching in amazement at how God is using your family? I want to hear what journey you're celebrating!


Thursday, June 19, 2014

I didn't like His answer

After about a week of taking medicine for depression I realized that I'd been depressed much longer than I had originally thought.

In 2011 (pre-children days), Kolby and I spent 6 months living in Greece. I look back on those 6 months as the best time in my life. Greece is my happy place. The food, the people, the lifestyle... it was an incredible time of learning more about ourselves and drawing near to God. When it was time to leave we prayed that God would let us stay. He said it was time to go.

I obeyed Him, but I sure didn't like His answer.

The minute I stepped off of the plane back into America I felt the weight. I couldn't have known at the time that the weight would grow heavier and heavier for the next 3 years.

You see, pre-medication I thought I'd been depressed for about a year. I'm a very self-aware person and I need to know what's going on inside of my mind. So I put the blame on pregnancy hormones, post-partum hormones, "family problems" (for lack of better words), being 22 with 5 children, not getting enough sleep, not eating healthy enough,.... whatever I could snag out of the air to use as an answer. All of these certainly contributed to the overall problem (the weight getting heavier), but I think the negative thinking patterns could be traced back to that moment I stepped off of the plane. Once the medicine kicked in and things began to clear up, I could see that I have been depressed for about three years. Three years is a long time.

I obeyed God, but I sure didn't like His answer.

In Greece, Kolby and I accepted the call from God to overseas missions.
Nobody in our lives was shocked. Except for me and Kolby.
Shocked and thrilled.

But that calling came about a month before we came back to the States.
So we decided that must mean Kolby should immediately go to school to get the education needed to go back overseas, and as SOON as he's done we'll head back to Greece.

One incredible church home, five children, and three years later...
The unspoken questions...

How did this happen? Weren't we called? We knew it would take some time to figure things out before could go back... but all of this?

Guilt set in the day Kolby answered the call as pastor at Rio Vista.
How can a person feel guilty answer a calling from God? Because we thought that answering this calling from God contradicted the previous calling. How can You call Kolby to be a pastor when we're supposed to be overseas?

I knew we were being obedient, but also felt like we were betraying our friends in Greece. Like somehow in our excitement about ministry overseas we had lied to them about coming back.

At the same time, it's been so clear that we are where we need to be. So we clung to that truth and stuffed the other feelings down.

Well, I'm TIRED of feeding the LIE that says...
  • You're a betrayer.
  • You're not where you should be.
  • You spoke too soon.
  • Greece is the ONLY happy place for you.

I spent so much time stuffing down the lies instead of staring them in the face and speaking truth. Since I left all that nastiness underneath the surface for so long it began to spill into other areas of my life. I was scared to bond with my children. I was angry with God for calling us to hard things. I didn't feel like I could trust my own thoughts or feelings. I thought I would be miserable forever and I could never go back to the Paige I used to be.

But I'm done with that.

THIS is what we're speaking now...
  • We are loyal to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We pray for them and share in their struggles. God, show us how to team up with them while we're here in America and give us the resources to help their ministry overseas.
  • We are where we are called to be. Doing ministry with and for the people of New Orleans isn't "lesser" than doing ministry with and for the people of Greece. We are all created in His image and where He tells us to go and serve, we will go and serve.
  • We didn't speak too soon about our excitement to be called to ministry overseas. The was a God-given joy He placed inside of us and sharing that we are called wasn't wrong or dumb. We can trust that one day God will fulfill the calling He has placed on us.
  • Greece may be my "happy place" but isn't the only place I can be happy. I can thrive wherever God calls me. Life for Christ isn't easy, but it's SO worth it. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I don't have this all figured out. I still don't always like His answers, but He is God and He can (and will) do what he wants to do to accomplish His perfect plan. Either I can stay depressed about my circumstances, or I can join up with what He's doing. I am blessed to know Him and to be a part of His plan. He's given us an incredible ministry here in New Orleans where He is moving!. Freeing myself up to enjoy the ministry and life He has called me to here is such a weight lifted off of me.

One day Kolby and I will be overseas again, serving others for Him wherever He calls us. Maybe our 5 kiddos will be with us, or maybe they will all be grown by the time we go. Whatever the outcome, I choose to trust in Him, knowing that His ways are higher than my own.