Thursday, July 13, 2006

a little bit off-beat...

Those people who know me well can tell you that I have a different sense of humor and outlook on life at times. One of my good friends in college used to call me "Crazy Jody".... and she was the one wearing striped red & green Dr. Seuss tights to class! I was the one hanging out with her though, so I guess I was a little crazy. Things make me laugh that would make others cry. I've always been good at trying to see things from a different angle.
One of my favorite mottos is "Why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary?!" I live by that when I can, when I remember, or when things in life are too normal that something in me says, "do something to shake things up a bit". So I do things like bake cakes for George W. Bush's birthday, or I crank music at the dinner table and me and the kids sing into our spatulas at the top of our lungs. Good, different, funny stuff that makes life a little more interesting along the way.
Sometimes it's tough for me to strike a balance between living life and dreaming about eternity. I get caught up in my thoughts that sometimes I wish my days had more minutes in them. Or I wish I didn't have to spend time thinking about what to buy for dinner, than what to make for dinner, then preparing dinner, then eating dinner, then cleaning up after dinner, and knowing I will do it all again each night of the week.
Do you follow me on this at all? My thoughts of Heaven and God's plans and our lives connecting with others consume me at times. I usually do my best thinking in the quiet of the late night or early morning. Today, after reading so many emails from some of you, I was again reminded that I am on the right path. It still has bumps and turns that I may or may not know about, but I know I am headed in the right direction. It got me thinking about you. I know I am no special person, no matter how different or crazy I may try to be at times, and yet God has made Himself known to me and given me a faith which I can't always explain, but I know it is real. It makes me feel a little bit guilty- like I have something really great in life, but I don't deserve at all. That's exactly what God's grace and mercy is though! We get something so wonderful in this life...and secure a spot in Heaven for all eternity, by accepting the gift of salvation from God- that we have done nothing to earn or deserve on our own. Faith, grace, mercy. They blow me away, and define my life simultaneously.
Several of you have emailed me about how my life experiences have made you seek faith, or made you finally believe what you sort of felt all along. I realized that my story of tragedy did the same thing for me several years ago. One of the news articles even had a quote about Chip and I saying, "Rather than reject their faith, their incident has confirmed their beliefs". That's so true! I have never felt closer to God than when I had no rhyme or reason to care that He even existed in my life. While Teagan lay in the hospital hooked up on life support, I can't explain it, but God was there. He has given me a real peace and filled my heart with hope since the minute my life took a major turn. He has been with me (I include Chip and the rest of my family) through it all. I don't deserve His comfort and blessings in life, but I accept them, and I keep asking Him for ways to share these blessings with others.
Yesterday, your comments and emails confirmed to me again, that this has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with God. It makes me wonder, what does God want to do in your life. Surely He doesn't just have plans for me. I know I'm not THAT special. =) Are you seeking Him and looking toward eternity? Are you struggling with something- maybe you have been for years- that just doesn't make sense, no matter how much advice or different things you try in life to make it right? Are you mad at God and blaming Him for your problems?
Maybe your issue is exactly the thing God is using to get your attention. Maybe through your struggle God is wanting you to turn to Him and rely on Him, even if it's scary and painful and even if He seems too far away or you feel too small to Him.
One of the best pictures I imagine of Heaven {which will turn into a scrap page at some point} is one in which I see Teagan surrounded by a crowd of people. So many people that I can't get to her as close as I would like to be. As I make my way near her and push through the people (saying "excuse me" all along the way, because even though my heart is pounding and I haven't touched Teagan in decades, I'm still being polite- I mean, I am in Heaven), I see Teagan beaming and when I get close enough to hear her she says, "Guess what?" (Teagan loved little guessing games.) She repeats herself, "Guess what, Mom. These people are all standing here because of you. These people are here because of what happened to us and how you responded to it!" I get choked up just thinking about it. That maybe it's true. Maybe I will get to spend all eternity with friends of mine and people like you because you simply watched how I lived and God spoke to your heart through me. It's a little bit off-beat... a little bit twisted. But it's thoughts such as those that bring smiles to my face; they lift my heart, and even keep me from making balanced dinners for my family sometimes. =) So, if what I have to say today makes any sense to you at all, thank God for the way He is speaking to you today.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jody - this is Beth of the purple layout...I had that exact same thought the other day, about the crowds of people surrounding you and Teagan in Heaven, all of whom were helped in their life journey or even first inspired to get in touch with God due to your great example of faith. I am really glad I stepped out of my normal mode of just "lurking" on the internet to email you what I was thinking about and the layout. Take care and God Bless.

Cris said...

Preach it sister girl! LOL

There have been a few times in my life where I wondered what God was doing. I think it would just make things a whole lot easier if He would just say "ok. This how things are going to go, but don't worry, because this is what will happen". But He doesn't work that way. He requires some amount of faith from us. And sometimes what He does can only be understood backwards. Looking back I can see the many places where God has been there for me in my life. And thank Him everyday, because I wouldn't be the person I am today if it wasn't for Him.

Also, I really love the idea of the layout for Teagan. I think it would make a perfect addtion to her scrapbook.

Anonymous said...

Jody, reading your words seem to help me understand some real important 'stuff'. You capture the real meaning of lifes largest trials and show people how to cope with their own upsets.

The vision of you seeing your sweet daughter surrounded by so many people in heaven is a beautiful picture,,,,God is blessing you with such thoughts...even now I see her in my thoughts...I may not exactly know what her little face looks like yet I know it is her....I too look forward to seeing her one day when my days are complete her on earth and my Lord calls me home...I will see her sweet face along with the others I know are there waiting for me. So I thank you Jody for sharing her life and yours with so many of are using your grief and loss to fill others with peace and you not see what God is doing here with you? He is aiding you by reaching so many who have needs and do not know how to fill them...You, Jody are that 'filling'...thank you,
an illinois mom

shawnna said...

that was the best blog post i have ever read

keep doing what ya do girl

you are truely an inspiration

Debbie said...

Wow, this is a friend of Rachel, s. Thanks a lot

Trace said...

Jody, you so, so, so rock! I've been reading your site far too long not to tell you that. I shed more tears on here than anywhere else, but joy and peace too! Keep it up and good for you for figuring it all out at such a young age. I think that comes with faith and grace too, no?

Peace in Christ,

Jenny said...

What a sweet little glimpse of Heaven you have seen Jody!

I can't wait to see this in your "faith book" or in Teagans scrapbook!

maggie holmes said...

great thoughts! i can totally relate!
thanks for sharing!