Sunday, September 18, 2016

What's Really Going On Here?

Wow, friends, it's been a wild ride the past few weeks.  So much has gone on, so many uncontrollable things that happen on this ride of life, right?  So many things that have so many emotions and feelings attached to them - we are complicated people, aren't we?   Let's see, this month has consisted of my dad being in the hospital and learning more about his next steps, a church 20somethings reunion in Chicago, my mom's birthday, a husbands full work schedule, a 20 year high school reunion and this coming weekend, a business trip out of state.  So, lots of opportunities to "look back" and revisit where I was and where I am now, which is always interesting and enlightening for various reasons. {On top of regular life, you know?!}

The hard part about blogging is that I don't want to say too much to hurt or offend anyone ever, but also need to share the story and the message I believe God wants to be shared.  I don't want to make it about a person or call anyone out, so this post might be vague due to that very reason.  Hopefully it will make sense and the message will come through as it should.  So, here we go.....

There was an instance recently where someone did something that was very hurtful to me.  {We have talked it through, made amends, asked for forgiveness and all is well, just so you know.}  However, in the process of stepping back and evaluating the situation that occurred, I had to ask "what really is going on here?  What am I upset about?  Is it the situation that happened, or the feelings that the situation brought up?"  Well, that's the answer right there, the feelings the situation brought up.  So, yes, I was upset with the choice {s} that were made,  However, I have to realize I am not in charge of other peoples actions.  At the end of the day, I am only responsible for my own choices in life. This truth is both hard, but also freeing at the same time.

Back to the situation at hand....this choice that occurred brought up so many past hurts in me ~ rejection, neglect, disappointment, feeling of not being "enough," being let down, and so on.  So, those are my issues which I am aware of and own up to. 

However, when we as people interact with other people, sometimes our issues rub off on each other, just like what I'm talking about. See, this person didn't intend to do this at all, and wasn't their goal or mission at all, but because we are human beings, it happened. Their choice/action/decision/behavior brought up my past hurts.  Make sense?  It's a hard and delicate place to be for sure.  While I know the intent wasn't there, the hurt still was.  So, what does one do with that?  I'll tell you what I did:

* Pray

* Talk with a trusted friend who is removed from the situation so they can share their perspective on it and speak truth objectively
* Spend some time thinking and evaluating what is going on and what is the cause of all of this
* Talk with the person who has caused the hurt once the situation has diffused and everyone is calm

I hope this helps someone.  If not, it was good for me to verbalize this for sure.....thanks for reading friends.  Hope you all have a great week!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Old Mel, Meet New Melissa

My best friend, Ellen, and I at her wedding in Texas in 2002 and at the reunion. 

Wow, first of all, I can't believe it's been more than a month since I last wrote. That's indicative of life, isn't it? Getting kids back to school, juggling packing lunches again, homework, you know the drill. Then, mama finding a new routine...not there yet, but hopefully on my way soon! So, this is the month of reunions! I just got home a few days ago from a reunion of the 20somethings group I was a part of at Park Community Church in Chicago. I lived in Chicago for a year out of college and this group was a HUGE part of me loving being there so much! 

My girls, Ginger and Kimmy and I then, and now. 

See, I'm a small town girl who didn't venture far from home. I went to Purdue University for college, which was only 30 minutes away. My plan was to go to Ball State, which was further away, but I got scared and opted for the safe, familiar close to home option. The same situation appeared after graduation. I was offered a job in Chicago, which terrified me, and I was also talking with the Director of camp I attended and worked at as a child {close to home again} about a position there. My tendency was to go close to home, but after time in prayer and fasting, God showed me otherwise. So, I stepped out in faith, made the leap and headed to the Windy City! Was I scared? Heck yes! Did I learn to love it? You know it! 

All of us at the Park Christmas Party at the Drake. So FUN! 

I was only there for a year, but it was a wonderful year filled with great people from the 20somethings group! Lifelong friends were made there, so it was wonderful to go back as adults and parents in our minivans this weekend and reconnect and catch up! What a blessing it was! The most shocking thing to me, however, was the anxiety I felt going back now. The traffic. The tolls. The parking. I can tell I'm out of practice with those things. One, because we don't live in a big city and two, because my husband normally drives. When you're not used to something, you kind of forget how to do it, or lose touch with that. However, when I lived there as a young single gal, I didn't think twice about it. It didn't phase me one bit, I just tooled around the city in my little car. Good times! 

A book that my group made me when I moved to do campus ministry at UW-Madison. 
It was full of Scriptures and notes. Isn't that so thoughtful? 

I remember when my husband and I were considering moves for our family, I thought about the city. Simply because my time there was so rich and so wonderful, however, that was also a totally different season of life. A season of singleness. A season before children. Now, everything has changed. I can't imagine living there now, in this season. Obviously, if God called us, we would go and trust Him, but it's just funny how much I have changed in that regard. 

The other really surprising thing to me was when I was there, I was not healthy. I was not exercising, I was living off of sugar, candy, food dye, processed foods, eating gallons of ice cream in a sitting, you get the picture. So, how could I, in that physical and mental state tolerate the noise? The traffic? Parking? Etc? It's interesting to me. I will say that during that time a lot of things had been regressed from my childhood, so perhaps that is part of it? I also hadn't yet been diagnosed with PTSD yet. Did I have it? My guess is yes, but it wasn't as prominent, perhaps? So, that was interesting. 

It was also interesting to just be there with people who knew me as I was then, vs who I am now. To think back on where I was and what God has done in my life since then is really just amazing. I can look back and say I'm a totally different person. Sure, my core is the same, but God has done so much in me, it's incredible and I'm so thankful. He's done so much healing. It's interesting to go back to somewhere you've been and realize all that's taken place since then. I told my husband I'm just really thankful and at peace. Sometimes when we go back, it's hard and it hurts, but for me, it was good and healing. I loved reconnecting with those friends who were such a part of my life during that time. It was great to be back in the city and make some more great memories. Yes, it was also great to come back home and know this is right where we're supposed to be for now.

Have any of you had an opportunity to go back lately? What's your experience been like? I'm going to do it again in a few weeks for a high school reunion, which is totally different, but similar in terms of going back. So, this was the first opportunity for the "Old Mel {as I was known then} to meet New Melissa. Round two coming soon. Would love to hear some of your stories about going back....