Saturday, May 26, 2012

asking. speaking. listening. trusting.

this has been one of those weeks which would be pretty hard to sum up.  a week rather difficult to wrap up.    it is friday night and i'm in bed early.  the hamster wheel has finally stopped spinning and no one seems to need me.  no one is calling. nothing is pressing.  sure there are piles of life in some state of disrepair...dishes in the sink...baskets of laundry...random stuff out of order...children to tuck into their beds.  but for the most part i'm done.  the week is winding down.  slowly. softly. quietly. finally.

but as i sit here typing, i'm pretty sure, as much as i'd like some rest, i don't want it to all be over. i don't want it really to end.  this was the final week of school for my kids.  yesterday my children walked through the doors of perimeter for their last time as pcs students and last night tyler walked across a stage and received his 8th grade diploma -- officially graduating from a place we've all called home for many years.  this week brought with it the end of a chapter.  the end of our time in a world which has impacted our family in a way i can't possibly put to words.

last week i underwent an unexpected surgery removing a mass from my breast.  this week another type of cutting.  another type of removal.  another type of pain.  saying good bye to a school, to a people, to an extraordinary place in time.  we aren't leaving officially until mid july, but for us, the school bell in georgia won't ring again....and this is unbelievably hard.  harder than i thought it could be.  certainly much harder than i want it to be.

i think i did a pretty good job this week keeping myself numb and together and slightly aloof. i  did my very best to keep the emotions in check and the tears at bay.  it wasn't easy.  but it was one of those weeks where i felt like i had no other choice but to be tough.  it was one of those weeks where i was certain if i started to cry, i wouldn't be able to stop. have you ever felt that way?  it isn't all bad.  i mean so much of what brings me to this sharp pinnacle of emotion is the pure joy and blessing of it all.  watching my 14 year old son, arm in arm with his childhood friends, young boys turning the corner into young men.  it was watching my sarah up on stage with her best girlfriends in her final talent show act at perimeter school singing and dancing to "we go together."  it was connor running to meet me yesterday afternoon with flushed cheeks, his last time wearing a pcs uniform, slightly rumpled and kind of dirty, of course.  those uniforms have been hanging in our closets and folded in our laundry room and discarded dirty on our bedroom floors for a decade now.  there were so many sweet moments this week as we wrapped up our school year and our time at perimeter.  too many to count.  words and hugs and hands held tightly.  the searing beautiful slice to my soul --  we love and we are loved.  is there anything greater?
ty introducing his mom at graduation 

in the midst of watching my oldest son graduate i also had the distinct privilege of being the commencement speaker last night.  i got the call a couple of weeks ago from the committee,  "jody, the class voted and they'd like you to speak at graduation." i was stunned with that news. as i shared last night with the audience, my first reaction was to get all weepy...but that quickly turned into feeling like i just might throw up.  i wasn't sure i could do this. i mean i knew this class well and loved them deeply, but speaking seemed an impossibility on a night like this, in a week like this, at a time like this.  i wasn't sure i would be able to get through the evening as just the proud mother of tyler, let alone take on the task of addressing these 79 teenagers and an auditorium full of their families.  i was overwhelmed. i mean it,  completely overwhelmed with the thought.  but, because i am a strange woman, i said yes.   "i'll do it. i'd be honored."

24 hours after saying "yes", i found out that i'd need not only to prepare that week for a speech, but also for a surgery.  i saw my breast surgeon tuesday and he delivered the untimely punch that he'd like to remove a troublesome mass (potentially scar tissue - but had to be sure) from my breast and he wanted to do it right away.  i would need to fit that into these final two weeks of school's ending, graduation planning and speech writing.  so as i sat there in his office digesting this news, my thoughts kind of went like this: "okay, so now i truly have an "out"...everyone will surely understand if i pass this opportunity by and hand off the speaking responsibility to someone else.  surely there is someone else not juggling a quick surgery and biopsy results a week prior to graduation. just call them back and tell them, sorry, i can't do it."  i talked to myself like this from the doctor's office all the way to my car.  and as i began to pull out of the parking garage i wasted no time in going directly to God.  i had barely paid my ticket when i started in with my words,  "tell me what to do, clear...tell me what you're up to...  give me an answer fast Jesus, because i'm kind of confused here...floundering, in fact...hello God, it's me, jody, again...i thought i was supposed to be spending these next couple of weeks writing and working on a speech...does surgery change all that? help me out here. God? are you there?  are you listening? God? God? God?"

the monologue in my head hardly slowed, never stopped.  i just kept talking all the way home -- and not only in my head.  i mean audibly. if you happened to be driving on I-85 that tuesday afternoon, you may have noticed an odd woman in her black yukon talking loudly to herself behind the wheel -- hands motioning and head bobbing and shaking. all the way home i just talked and talked and talked.  i just told and told and told stuff to God.  i seriously was almost to my street before i realized i hadn't stopped for a breath.  and what's even more important, i hadn't stopped for one moment to listen. i kept asking God for the answer, but that entire 40 minute car ride home,  i never got quiet enough to hear what He had to say.  isn't that crazy? what's crazier, is that this is how i operate so often. i'm pretty good at opening my mouth, but forget to open my heart.  oh for heaven's sake jody lynn, when will you learn?  be quiet. be still. just listen.

i pulled into my driveway and sat for a few minutes.  finally quiet.  finally still.  the impact of a second surgery set in...the craziness of the entire situation began to sink in...but in that stillness, in that sweet solitude inside my stopped car on my empty driveway i felt very strongly God saying, "just do the speech jody.  stop your ranting and raving and wild questioning of me, and just be quiet and do the speech."  and i had my answer.  sometimes it's like that.  clear as day. clear as writing on a wall.  but i first had to stop.  i had to be still.  it just took a few minutes...but i had to be quiet and listen.

and over the last couple of weeks as i have prepared for last night's i have worked on the words and the message and the timing ....i cannot even explain how God has used this time to work on me.  the surgery took place smack dab in the middle of it all.  more stitches and more sore ...a little more battered and a little more bruised...but reminded, once again,  God isn't finished with me yet.  God is always at work.  He isn't trying to wear me out, but He is wanting to reel me in.  He is wanting to pull me closer. through these crazy twists and turns of life, He is drawing me to Him.  and sometimes it hurts.  hard good byes, unpleasant surgeries, emotional speeches...come closer to me jody.  come closer. eyes on me, daughter.  it was the message He put on my heart  for those graduates.  "fix your eyes on Jesus -- the author and perfecter of your faith."  all last week i typed up those words and practiced them in front of the mirror.  i must have said that 100 times as i prepared to face graduation night.  fix your eyes on Jesus.  oh, isn't it amazing how God works?  those graduates may have voted for me to be their speaker, but God knew i, too, would need this message getting through this emotional time as well.  He wastes nothing friends.  nothing.  that unexpected surgery and the wait for biopsy results kept me raw...kept me close...kept me focused on Him.

i have to tell you, i was probably as scared of delivering that 20 minute speech as i was of that one hour surgery removing what could be more cancer -- maybe even more so.  it is crazy to think, but on the top ten list of greatest fears, public speaking is actually two steps higher than cancer.  (i just googled that).  can you believe that? actually, i kind of can after this past week. i mean i can do the public speaking thing, but something about this night and this audience and this moment in time felt HUGE to me.  it felt serious and grave and completely out of my reach.  i was so nervous.  i wanted to focus only on sharing with those graduates something good from God, but i had to first take my message to heart and listen to my own words -- fix your eyes on Jesus.

that night is over.  the speech went well.  i have sighed many sighs of relief today.  i am so glad i did it and so thankful the kids asked.  but mostly humbled to have a part in an evening like that.  we are so thankful and humbled to have had a part and a place in a school like this ...all these years.  i am not sure i'll ever be able to look back at these last two weeks and completely understand how God poured all that He did into these 14 final days.  it doesn't make sense to my small brain. and though i don't always understand the hand of my God, i am always learning, more and more, to trust His heart.   i know with complete confidence,  no thing happened this week which He didn't ordain, order and direct.  

all things hard and all things good for His glory alone. sometimes we are required to speak...and sometimes we just need to be quiet and listen.  i'm learning. 

"fix your eyes on Jesus --- the author and perfecter of your faith." ~ hebrews 12:2


Simply LKJ said...

Jody, they couldn't have picked a better person to deliver that speech! Thanks for the message, yes...we need to "fix our eyes on Jesus". I too am guilty of never slowing down. But, I have to admit...I have the past few weeks. When I normally would be frantic trying to get everything ready to throw a party, I have actually been very calm. God speaking, "Lauren, enjoy only comes once." We watched Katie graduate Thursday, entering a new phase in her life. We too will enter it with her, along with being empty nesters. I learned to be still and listen, enjoy each day a little more. Blessings to the family as you all prepare for the move!

dlkburgebud said...

As usual, you never fail to amaze and inspire. Would LOVE IT if you posted a link to your speech...I know it would be just as inspirational for all the non-8th graders who follow your blog. Did you remind them to wear sunscreen?? (remember that one...not sure why I do?) You're all still in our prayers (moving and good-bying) and our praises (we love scar tissue!) Love, lu

Jody said...

Ohhhh, Jody Lynn,
This was so revealing to me as to how we all talk to God. I thought I was the only one who rants, raves, and forgets to be still and listen. It's nice to know I'm not alone, friend. You are so eloquent with your words...thank you for constantly writing. I'm so glad that even as you move north, we'll still be able to read about the McNatt Family.