Monday, December 29, 2014

Contemplating Esther

So it was, when the king’s command and decree were heard, and when many young women were gathered at Shushan the citadel, under the custody of Hegai, that Esther also was taken to the king’s palace, into the care of Hegai the custodian of the women. - Esther 2:8 (NKJV)

As of late, I find myself contemplating this particular part of scripture in Esther. The Bible leaves me a lot to ponder in this situation, and though I certainly trust that God included what was most important in the collecting of this story, I also find it somewhat cruel in a way that what I want to know is missing...

Suddenly, all of the most beautiful women in the kingdom are gathered up to compete in what we would now call a beauty pageant - all so that the king might choose his new queen from them. And, spoiler alert, Esther impresses pretty much everyone, including the king, and is named queen. The God uses her to save His people. She was put into that place at that time for a purpose. (And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? - Esther 4:14 NIV)

I don't want to undermine what God has done here... but I can't help but want to know: how did she cope with her life suddenly reeling out of her design and into something she had never imagined [or had never dreamed, or maybe something she had never even wanted]?? And that seemingly small tidbit of information is missing.

Did she weep? Did she cry out? Did she once dream of being a simple wife and mother? Did she have a crush on a young man in the village where she lived? Were her hopes crushed? Were her dreams shattered? Did she mourn the death of the life she thought she might have? And if so, how long did it take?

... or did she gracefully accept the change? Is that why it's not mentioned: because she accepted her change of "fate" without a blink of an eye?

I can't help but wonder. Because I find myself relating to her - I am standing at a point in my life where the world is promising me that my life will change in a way that I never ever even remotely conceived. By the Grace of God alone, I am coming to terms with this "fate"... but I am also lamenting the loss of dreams that will never be, time that will be lost, responsibilities that will be gained, and injuries that will have to be overcome...

I know with absolute certainty that God will sustain me, that God has a plan, and that He is working in me. I am not so much afraid for my wellbeing as I am afraid of the pain and heartache that will come... Because the fact of the matter is that I don't want to change; I don't want to relinquish the life I seem to think I could have had.

Maybe Esther was raised accept God's Divine Plan with more grace than I have been. Maybe I am too accustomed to getting my way all the time. Perhaps that is the heart of the problem... It's not that I don't trust His Plan for me... He has led me to greener pastures every single time I have had the sense to let go and just jump into His arms...

But that's the hangup; how do I let it go? And this is where I wish I knew what Esther did. How did she give up her dreams and gracefully accept being married to one of the most notorious kings in history, just one woman among a multitude of concubines? In the end it was beautiful; she saved her people. But what about her heart?

... I will have to continue digging...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Masquerade

While discussing the February blog train colours at Pixel Scrapper, my muse decided to bite...
So this is my current sketching project.. I don't think the palette/theme is going to win for the Feb blog train, but at least the sketching has been a LOT of fun! :D



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Doughnuts

(Okay, let's get this out of the way, I LOVE Dunkin' Donuts, but for Pete's sake, it really irks me to see it spelled "donut". Ugh.)

I am not at the point of dreaming about doughnuts - my dreams seem to be reserved for the zombie apocalypse, rampaging velociraptors, and negotiating with sentient chocolate milk floods (which steal appliances and hold them ransom) and tornadoes, NOT the gluten-free items that I can't eat anymore. But doughnuts SHOULD be a part of that. They're that freaking good... and I miss them that much.

It's strange how the brain works. When I was a kid, my mother would take me and my sister to the local doughnut shop (who was also in the habit of selling "donuts" tsk tsk) early in the morning for whatever reason (I can't remember). What I DO remember is that I wasn't really jazzed on the idea of eating doughnuts. By the time I had finished half my doughnut and apple juice, I would have a wicked-awful sinus headache, so it really wasn't much of a treat for me...

Somewhere between then and going gluten-free, I discovered Dunkin' Donuts (they didn't really have much of a presence in the KC metro while I was growing up) and I fell in love. The doughnut sticks that they package and sell in vending machines became a breakfast staple while I did the corporate thing working at a call center in my early twenties.

Now that I am gluten-free (and have been for the last 6 or so years)... aside from a few options in the frozen food section of my local Hy-Vee supermarket, I really don't get doughnuts. And I miss them something awful!

My father-in-law, bless his heart, likes to go get doughnuts on Saturday mornings, and though the intention is nice, I cringe every single time he does. Even though I am not fond of the brand, those fluffy little pastries taunt me from their box, and I resist the urge to punch them in their smirking little faces! (Okay, not really - I AM prone to some creative exaggeration here. ENFP.) And it's even more complicated now that my daughter isn't eating gluten either. (It's hard to tell a 3-year-old she can't have a doughnut when her grandparents are eating them. And thankfully, the Saturday morning doughnuts have been scaled back pretty well.)

My hubby, the dear man that he is, has tried making doughnuts at home for me. But, try as we might, they just aren't quite right, and I get that terrible sinus headache (which I am guessing is some kind of migraine) from the smell of the oil by the time we are done... and then I have NO stomach for anything even remotely fried. :(

I am beginning to think that I am going to have to go the yeasty, waking up at the crack of dawn and rolling and cutting dough route... and I am not so sure I am ready to bite on that... but DOUGHNUTS! ugh.

It irks me that the average person gets to wake up in gluten-land and drive to the shop down the street (or stop at the gas station) and grab a wad of gorgeously fried pastry - and that is ALL the work that they have to put into it! But, as for me? Nope. I get to hope I don't anger the yeast. And wake up early. To roll out dough. And let things sit and rise. And then the frying. All for a freakin doughnut!

I mentioned in passing to my mother-in-law that SOMEONE should [get off their ass and] make a gluten free doughnut shop. It would be SO nice.
But, of course, her response was something ignorant about it "defeating the purpose" of doughnuts. It's really not her fault. Pretty much everyone under the sun thinks that being gluten-free is some fad-diet that makes the pounds just fall right off, which is a WHOLE other can of works so let's just go with: it isn't. 

I'm sure someone out there would say "well, why don't YOU do it?" And that's a reasonable enough question... and my answer is that it really isn't my calling in this world at this season in my life. Not gonna happen.

So, until someone else steps up to the plate... I guess I'll be working myself up to the idea of yeast and wishing I could dream about doughnuts for once, instead of shooting zombies or getting chased by brilliant raptors. :/

Ugh.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Please forgive our dust...

I am re-clothing this blog with some pretty new graphics, so there's gonna be quite a bit of dust, and probably some really ugly clashing colours.

Okay. Maybe not so much dust, but TONS of ugly clashing colours.

Please don't mind the mess. No links will be harmed in the making of this blog re-colour (I hope). And all the colours should be back to pretty in a few days (hopefully).

Thanks for understanding!! :D

Friday, January 3, 2014

When You Give God Some of Your Time...

It amazes me how much He can accomplish in me when I finally submit to Him, when I finally knuckle down and carve a slice of my day out for a quiet moment with Him.

I am incapable of being one of those morning dates with God kind of people - waking up at the crack of dawn to spend time with Him before my family wakes is impractical in this season of my life; the only quiet moments my daughter gives me are in the afternoons while she naps and the evenings after she goes to bed for the night.

I have spent a lot of time lamenting because I couldn't do the morning thing, enough so that I let myself get derailed by it.

I am the kind of person who often [mistakenly] thinks that if something can't be done "right" then it shouldn't be done at all. Honey, let me tell you that there is no wrong way to spend time with God! I have learned this the hard way, the stubborn and inconvenient way, the I-know-better-than-God way. And what I learned is that He is ready to take you as you are!

All you can manage is ten measly minutes in the shower, or the car, or right after the kids go to bed? Good; He'll take it! He wants to reserve that spot in your life. And on top of that, He wants to maximize this time.

Any time spent with God is time well spent, a sound investment. I can't count the number of years that I have logically understood this concept in my head, while denying it in my heart... Until I finally just gave in and did it, gave Him time.

It's not always a lot of time, and sometimes it is still sporadic - because I am human, horribly flawed, and still learning... but when I did show up, He showed me that it was worth it!

I started last year knowing that I had to make a change in my life, knowing that I needed to rely on Him far more than I had ever let myself before. I was drowning in the depression of being away from home and married to the Marine Corps. And though I had really fought a good fight on my own, I was losing ground faster than I could measure it!

Change began with a simple Bible study on the Proverbs 31 Wife of Valor and the very difficult choice of giving up some time with my husband. It wasn't easy.

Instead of falling asleep next to my husband, I chose to stay up an hour later on my own while the house was quiet. At first my husband resented this and felt neglected, and in all honesty, he probably was. But God took that opportunity to heal some very old and raw wounds that I had spent years trying to fix myself [ I am not a good physician]. The blessing became my newfound strength and ability to better care for my husband in other areas of our lives; it became my newfound desire to pray for him.

And the change in me, I discovered, was profound. I was [am] entirely the same woman I've always been, and yet better... better in that way that only God can make better, secure in a way that is only obtained through unshakable faith in God's unending and perfect love, capable in way that only God is capable [of moving mountains].

God used that time to prepare me, too. When life became unbelievably difficult towards the second half of last year, I had His foundation beneath me and His grace to strengthen and refresh me. When the fiery trial came and burnt so much of the film flam that I had invested my time in, I stood in the midst of the flames and took count of the blessings that remained... and I felt His grace and His strength move me, sustain me.

I continued to give Him my time, and I felt Him pour His compassion and grace into me, watched Him rebuild my marriage with the strength of gold, silver, and precious gems - not the hay that my husband and I had chosen to use. I saw my life transform into something new. As Capital Kings sing, "[He's] got me living how I've wanted all along."

And now, in this new season of my life... sometimes the only time I have to give Him are the ten quiet minutes in the shower [seriously], but that's enough.

He moves in my heart and whispers to me, "Write, Mollie, write. It doesn't have to be pretty or perfect. You don't need a fancy computer or graphics software; I have given you everything you need right here, right now. So write! Don't hem and haw over the content; I'll handle that! Just write already!"

So, I am writing... and I don't know how often it will be, or how poetic or profound it will be, or to what purpose it will serve... but I am giving Him time, and I am writing!