So, I am finally taking the plunge back into school. It has only taken me fifteen years and a lot of avoidance to finally get off my tuckus and figure out what it is that God has been calling me to. I have loved my nursing profession but it is just not what my whole life is about. I love the job I have now in sales (yes, Jon, I do) and I don't want to ever not do that. In fact, I think I'd have a pretty good head for business given half a chance and would love it. I like making money and working and all those things and I am not ashamed to say it. I could be content to work in the business world forever.
However, in my personal life, God has been whacking me over the head very very firmly for a few months. I have shared before about my relentless pursuit of my God and how much I want to know him and serve him and live under his covenant and grace. So....I am headed back to school to pursue a degree in Religious Studies with the idea of some day doing some chaplaincy work. Maybe on a volunteer basis. Maybe getting the classes to just deepen my own faith and stretch my soggy brain a bit. I really don't know what the final picture holds. I just know that it's now or never, said He, and so here I go.
There! I have said it out loud, so now I must follow through! I will be doing this online through Regent University, which is not my first choice for schools, by all means, but is the only one that offers what I want completely online. I'd like to get enough under my belt that I can then perhaps attend class in a classroom locally, there just isn't much around.
So....since so little actually happens in my life, here's one more thing to add to my list!
Pray for me please. I may or may not make it through this with the patience that I need without prayer support (and offers of babysitting on occasion!) I'll be working full time, being a mommy, daughter, wife, friend, and student. No problem!!! AAARRRRGGHHH! But, if you know me at all, you know that I thrive on a little chaos.
I'll keep you posted. This starts in January.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
My daughter's friend was here yesterday for hours. In fact, she's a neighbor of ours, and about 3 years older than Erin. Erin is 7.
Each day I pray with my children before they leave for school. I tell them constantly how magnificent God is. How REAL he is. How he is responsible for every breath that they take and that any minute now he's going to ruffle their hair. I am forever telling them that He can do Anything they ask of Him in faith and that He will always do what is best, even if they don't think so at the time. My goal in life is to leave a legacy of faith and amazing reliance on the Grace of Jesus that my children will want nothing more in their lives.
But, my daughter's friend told her yesterday that God "isn't real" and that "the Bible is a lie."
When I asked Erin what her response was, she said:
"I was drawing a picture of the Bible. I told her that God was real and that all you have to do is look out the window to know that!"
Posted by Audrey Gilger at Tuesday, November 14, 2006
As a young Anabaptist wife I am in a unique position of being married to a veteran of the US Army. I am also the daughter-in-law and sister-in-law of veterans. Andy's Dad served proudly in WWII on board a ship as a radio man.
Veteran's Day this past weekend went by quietly for the most part. In our home, the men spent the day watching old war movies like Torah, Torah, Torah!! and documentaries about the Japanese and American air battles over the seas of Japan and Pearl Harbor and Guadalcanal and wherever else. (I admit that my grasp on the history of war in this country is limited as to chronology. ) There is a sense of pride and honor displayed in my husband when he talks about the military and his time there. The uniform, the ribbons, medals and other formal outward shows of valor mean a lot to him. (And, I admit to being very thankful that he learned how to iron so well).
There has always been a struggle in our home between the idea of being members of a peace loving congregation and the fact that my husband's family is rife with military personnel. That is the one and only thing about the Mennonite Church that Andy has not ever been able to reconcile with his own personal beliefs regarding war. Steeped in tradition and the culture of his life is military pride and steeped in mine is the idea that war is evil and wrong and totally against God.
Listening to Titus speak on the effects of land mines and cluster bombs years after the war was a grim reminder to me of something in my childhood that frightened me very much. Living in Hong Kong in the 70s and 80s, there were still many remnants of Japanese occupation of the city during WWII. A commercial on tv warned of the dangers of picking up unexploded bombs and landmines. I remember the commercial...a group of people hiking in the hills and find something interesting laying in the grass. Someone picks it up, only to have it explode in their arms and then there is just blood everywhere. As a child, that commercial terrified me and I was always worried about stepping on something like that when we would go hiking to the old battlegrounds in the hills.
I wish to applaude the efforts of Brian in our services over a few Sundays to recognize the men of the US Army that are fighting in Iraq along with the Iraqi people that are suffering. While I personally believe that violence only begets violence and that Jesus would be the first to campaign for peace without arms, we cannot deny the human toll this will have on our country as well as others. The American servicemen are no less human than their Iraqi counterparts, yet we vilify them for being involved in a war. We have somehow concluded that the only suffering in war happens to the innocent civilian victims of the war and don't have much sympathy for the suffering of the soldiers on either side. Let's keep remembering that there are mothers and sisters and wives and daughters on all fronts that are heart broken, hurting and need our prayers and support. These are the families that we will run into every day in our communities...we need to be prepared to love them and help them. We need to be ready to honor the sacrifices that they have made in their lives as human beings. We must be careful not to hurt them more by condemning their actions as evil and ungodly. We must be careful, oh so careful, not to judge.
Posted by Audrey Gilger at Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Being a mom is just the hardest thing I have ever done in my life! It tries the very edge of patience nearly each day, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I am writing a book called "My Side of Motherhood" and I hope one day it will be published. I think there might be people who would enjoy it, if not.....oh well.
It is a book designed for the real mom. Y'know the ones who have real issues. All glory is given to God for giving me a sense of humor when there are Cheerios permanently embedded in my beautiful kitchen tile and ketchup is a vegetable at my table! But, I find myself so often reading books about how wonderful motherhood is always and that's just not true! Flip little devotionals designed to get you through the day..yeah right! No offense to those writers and the readers who read them, I really like those books, but I think it's about time for a mother who hides in the bathroom to get away from the noise to step up and speak!
I do love my children, and without them, I just can't imagine. Here are a couple of exerpts from the book that are more serious. Let me know what you think.
It doesn’t fit yet.
Sleep calls me back under the warmth
But a cry calls me out.
Somehow morning came again and I am not ready.
The little feet and mouths
That follow me all day and demand of me
Make me tired.
Whose idea was this anyway? To have these little ones.
Was it mine? Was it his? Or did we just not think it out?
My plans are undone while little bodies get dressed.
My desires are pushed back while little bellies get fed.
My books go unread while silly games are played.
My God gets ignored while I wipe sleep from my eyes.
In each eye I see trust.
What did I do to deserve that? Why do I want that?
On each tongue I hear love proclaimed.
How will I ever protect that?
Can I return it the way they need?
I tuck them in. Tuck tuck tuck tuck tuck and a kiss.
Back out the door.
Turn out the light. Finally, rest.
But, I can’t. They’ll stop breathing if I’m not watching.
They’ll be taken in the middle of the night and I’ll never
See them again.
They’ll get cold if I don’t check.
They’ll be lonely. Scared. Afraid of the monster under the bed.
Each heartbeat depends on mine.
I fall asleep with the start of a smile
And a tear waiting just on the edge of my lid.
THE SIGN OF THE CROSS
As I tucked my ten-year-old son in to bed last night, he did a weird thing. With closed eyes and sleepy limbs he seemed to wave his hands over his stomach and chest before he pulled the covers up. There was something very deliberate about it though and it took me a minute to figure out what he was doing. I stood and stared for a minute before I asked him, "Do you do that every night?"
"Yes," he replied. "I always do that. It helps me feel safe."
It seems that my most profound moments with this child are when he is half asleep. This is the same boy who sat and talked to God at the foot of his bed when he was yet in diapers. And last night, he did something so simple yet so subconsciously that I wondered how often and how long he had been doing it. It is apparently part of his bedtime ritual, performed with the fog of sleep closing in, yet so meaningful to him.
He was crossing himself. Making the sign of the cross over his body to protect him from harm and notify the world that he is the child of God.
When will I be so entrenched in my relationship with my relationship with Jesus, that even in my sleep I invite him to be with me? When will it be second nature to me to call out to him, rather than a last resort when all my attempts otherwise fail?
When will I ever learn?
Posted by Audrey Gilger at Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I have fallen in love many times in my life. At least, I think so. The heart fluttering, sweaty palms kind of nausea that we come to recognize as falling hard. I have never been a man, but I imagine these feelings are similar for them. I have watched otherwise normal men I know get really foolish in the presence of women and can only imagine they are ready to buckle any minute. It’s great! If only it could be bottled and sprayed on every morning, the aroma of that kind of fresh new love would sustain us all through each crazy moment!
I remember the night I met my husband, I didn’t actual fall in love….I jumped feet first towards it and landed hard! And then I pursued this man. I called him all the time. I sent him balloons. I worked night shift and would stay up all day if it meant I’d get to hang out with him for a while. I memorized his voice, the way he walked, and I couldn’t get the thought of him out of my head. The first time he held me I nearly fainted, I felt so safe. He’d say things to me and I’d believe everything he told me about myself. He told me I was pretty, I was fun and one day that he loved me. I was relentless about wanting to be with him in every imaginable way. Nothing else in my agenda mattered if the promise of his time was there. I wanted to get to know everything about him. To learn his likes, his dislikes and what his dreams were. Every day I was excited to learn something new and I couldn’t wait to build a future with him!
I have begun to feel that unabashed, unembarrassed, anxious, impatient desire again. This time though,not with any man, but with my God. Jeremiah 1 says that before I was even a thought in a woman’s mind, He knew me. It doesn’t say that I was an afterthought or that I was someone He’d like to get to know, but that He already KNEW me! Wahoo! He has always known me, now I want to know him. He wants that too, and has made it really simple for me to do. In my hands, I hold His words and thoughts. He has written me a love letter and each morning I read another page. I have begun to read His Word as though it was written just for me. Each letter penned with love and a passionate desire for me to learn to know Him and everything He dreams of. I want to immerse myself in Him. Not only to hide His words in my heart in order to stay blameless, but to turn to his Word for everything. My first answer to any question should come from His heart, not my own. I want to drown in his love, to breathe out everything that I breathe in from his letter to me. Each night as I lay down, I tell Him that I can’t wait to talk with Him again in the morning, and the excitement I get when He wakes me is awesome! It’s that fresh new love, sweaty palms, crazy excited feeling again. I can’t wait to hear what fantastic thing He’ll teach me about my life and his desires today.
I have found in Him my perfect friend, wholly sovereign authority in my life and the lover of my soul. In the words of Moses to the Lord, “You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.”
Posted by Audrey Gilger at Tuesday, November 07, 2006