Today we went rafting and floating down the red deer river. The deepest spots were MAYBE waist deep. Mostly it was just above my ankles and below my knees.
But it was a very relaxing time!
When all else fails….or you need a second floatation device….use the extra air mattress!
There is something magical about forests. Any forests.
Big forests like the red wood forest or the forests on Vancouver Island. Or the forests in the mountains or the forests at Yellowstone.
Forests are just a magical place. Fallen trees and soft moss and deep undergrowth. Shadows and shade. It is just a place that draws you in and makes you want to be there. Makes you want to explore and experience and see and do and discover.
I still feel this way about forests too. It’s like they have deep secrets that are just waiting to be discovered.
And now for the blog I really wanted to write…
Velcro is important.
Sunday night we both left and returned to our tent in the rain. My bed was being dripped on. I couldn’t understand why. The fly didn’t usually ever touch the tent. Tonight it was and with a few adjustments to the stakes we lessened it.
The next morning, the rain had passed and I was laying in my bed. I was staring at the tent. That’s when I saw it. In our hurry to get the tent set up, before the rain hit, we forgot to velcro the fly to the tent. That little step turned out to be an important one. That is what kept the fly off of the tent, and the tent dry.
It took some doing, by a skinny and flexible Katarina, but we managed to do the velcro tabs and the tent dried quickly and it was now rain proof again too.
Too often in life we forget the velcro. So what shouldn’t stick to us, does.
The velcro is spending time in God’s Word and in prayer. Without this life is so much harder.
The more time I spend in His Word, the more time I want to spend there. And the better I know what I need to read again to help me through the storm.
Life is a series of storms, really. At least my life is. With 5 kids it seems like there is always a storm afoot somewhere with someone.
I wish I could say that I am confident in my gifts and abilities and that nothing phases me. But this just isn’t true. It is true that I know my gifts and abilities. It is true that I use them and know how to use them.
But it is also true I am very sensitive to praise and criticism. Ironically I see most praise as insincere and so reject it completely.
I have allowed my perception of insincerity to shape my thinking and actions. As I got praised more, I withdrew more and became more resistant to doing what I was praised for.
Now,I am realizing, through my son; that gifts and abilities are gifts and abilities. No amount of praise, sincere or insincere can change that. So I can accept my gifts and use them and not shy away from them or I can continue to reject praise and compliments and by doing so reject the gifts I’ve been given.
God made me for a reason and a purpose. He gifted me in the way He saw I would need, so I could do what He wanted me to do.
By not wanting to step on people’s toes and not wanting to seem arrogant or conceited; I have in fact rejected the gifts and abilities given to me.
I need to learn that I can accomplish and succeed and recognize this without being arrogant and self serving.
I need to see myself as I see my son. Full of potential and possibilities and hope and expectations.
I need to embrace my gifts and be confident in them. The trouble is, sometimes confidence scares other people away. They feel less able and less likely to help and contribute. I need to find a way to embrace my gifts and not come across as knowing it all. Goodness knows I do not come even remotely close to that.
If I am going to expect my son to see his gifts and embrace them, then I must do the same.
So, I will start by just trying to say “thank you” when someone compliments me. A plain “thank you” no “but” or excuses or reasons.
I am unique and I am made exactly the way God wanted me to be. I am going to try to stop apologizing for being me and being the way God made me to be.
I am sorry if I make you feel less or if you compare yourself to me. Don’t. Stop. Recognize who God made YOU to be and what He gifted you with. And do it. Live it. Be it. Embrace it.
So in the last blog I talked about learning who I was and to accept that and embrace that and BE that.
In college I found strength and encouragement I found people who liked me. I made friends. And I made mistakes. I met and married my husband. And I found safety and security and love all around me.
I was encouraged by my professors to do more and be more and love more. I was shown I could do so much more than I thought. I was shown I was unique and gifted in my own way. I still wasn’t perfect, but I never will be. I was encouraged and nurtured in my gifts. And I discovered I had gifts I never dreamed I had. Abilities I never even had thought to try.
Then I grew up. Graduated. Moved on into married life and eventually motherhood. And somehow doubt crept back in. Slowly, very slowly. But back it crept. I was never good at accepting praise and compliments, but now I almost didn’t like them at all. I deflected them. Didn’t accept them and certainly didn’t believe them. I came to be where I am at now. Unaccepting that I might be good at something someone else isn’t. Unwilling to believe that in any way I might be special. That God may have gifted me differently than others around me.
Slowly, my perspective has changed. First to be that the difference between me and those around me who can’t do what I do is simply that, like Steve, I just DO. Even when I don’t know what I’m doing, I just DO.
I have now realized, ironically through my reading to help my ADHD son, that that isn’t the entire truth. Yes, there is truth in that. But it is more than that. I am more than that.
God made me unique and special. God made me for a purpose and God made me perfect. Yes, my warts and all are a part of His plan. I have been telling my kids this every single day, every day on the way to my school bus since January. They know this. And I think they even believe it. And somewhere, along our daily conversation, I started to be open to the idea that this applied to me too. By saying it every single day to reinforce it to my kids, it reinforced to me.
Recently I’ve realized something.
I don’t like to take credit for anything I do. I don’t like public praise. Public thanks is very awkward for me. I am very uncomfortable when someone tells me I’m awesome or amazing or that they sure couldn’t do whatever it is I just did. I don’t like being in this position at all.
I used to LOVE getting praised and getting attention and standing out. It just happened so rarely. Like it happened almost never. I was always average. Middle of the class. Never bottom, never top. I never was the most popular and I was never quite the least popular. When I would begin to find myself and be comfortable in my own skin, we would often move. I was shy and slow to warm up.
Then came college. I met this guy named Steve Rehn. He was amazing. He was an encourager and he wasn’t afraid to do anything. He somehow, by being himself, helped me to find myself. He understood me and he allowed me to be me. Making mistakes was ok. Goodness knows he made plenty! He also knew that loud and outgoing exterior at college wasn’t all me. He really was like a loving big brother. If I had a big problem he was the one I talked to.
Steve was a prayer. I’d tell him my problem and he’d want to pray together about it. He was the first friend I’d ever had who was like this. We prayed a lot together. His place was always safe and welcoming. He loved me unconditionally and showed me I was loved by the most important one of all…Jesus. I already knew Jesus, but somehow he showed me that Jesus loved ME. The real genuine me. The me who got angry at Kim in 6th grade and after 8 months of being bullied and called names on a constant daily basis; I kicked her as hard as I could in the shin. I left quite a bruise. And years later still felt totally guilty. He showed me that Jesus loved me warts and all. Broken relationships and failure and innumerable failure, I was good enough.
I often think of Steve. He was awkward in his own unique way. But his heart was 10 sizes bigger than most. He always saw the best in people and he was able to forgive in a way I still just keep trying to emulate. He loved people. He was a missionary. He knew the urgency of telling people of Jesus. But he also had the time for people. I don’t remember him ever being too busy for me. He had a girlfriend and friends and college and a job…but he somehow always had time for me. It didn’t matter what I asked him to help with, he helped.
Once I was moving and needed help to move my furniture into storage for the summer while I did a summer ministry job. He found a friend with a truck. He found a couple friends to help load. And we loaded that truck up. In hindsight I don’t think he had too much experience in moving furniture. The very first corner we went around, my tall dresser fell right out of the truck! Right into the busy road. He felt terrible. I felt terrible. We loaded up my precious broken dresser, and secured it this time, and continued on. I still have that dresser. My dad fixed it up a lot. When I see it everyday, it reminds me that: life is short, stuff is just stuff, people matter more than things, help doesn’t require a degree but just a willingness to lend a hand, and Jesus loves ME.