Saturday, July 7, 2012

I refuse....

Another hot, dry day in Wichita Falls.  To add insult to injury, there's been a fish kill at Lake Wichita, which is very close to our house.  I've discontinued my early morning jogs on the trail, simply because I cannot stand to breathe in the stench.  With water levels low, temps high, along with high water temperature, golden algae again wreaks havoc on a local water body. 

I'm glad Mark's not here to see (or smell) it.  This was a man who took his job so seriously that he would lose sleep over worrying about golden alga, dead fish, and limited fishing resources for his region.  I've written before how much I envied him, with a job that he truly loved and was committed to.  Who hasn't heard the old saying, "Find something you love, and figure out how to get paid to do it"?  He was one of the lucky ones that did, after completing a M.S. at Murray State University in 1988.

In my lifetime, I've been a medical technologist, computer analyst, software installer, site manager for a computer company, choir director, church pianist, and preschool teacher---all prior to Mark's death.  He was with me during that whole career span.  Wherever his job took us, I found work.  He was the main breadwinner.  I was the complement, the one with the salary we saved.  I look back and can honestly say I liked the various jobs I had--some more than others--but I never loved any of them. 

Then Mark died.  I didn't have the strength to continue as a preschool teacher.  I knew that the love, attention, and the intensive one-on-one time I gave to my little students needed to be reserved for only AJ and Ben.  With Mark's pension from TPWD, I've been allowed the chance to be a stay-at-home mom.  It was a no-brainer for my family as we struggled with the multitude of changes forced upon us. 

Not even a month after losing Mark, I felt pushed to email the editor of the local paper, with whom Mark and I have been friends for years.  His weekly outdoors column hadn't been picked up by anyone.  And for some strange reason, I wanted to take it on.  Call me crazy (and many have!), but I emailed her a rough draft of a column.  To my surprise, she said "yes."  September 2011 I began writing.  About the outdoors.  As a single woman of two boys, totally clueless about camping, fishing, hunting, and most other things, but knowing that I had to learn because I promised Mark I would .  For our boys. 

Guess what?  I love it.  Me, a writer.  Never would I have imagined this for me.  The last time I was a writer was as a high school senior, when I was editor of our newspaper.  I won a couple of essay contests then, too, but never considered journalism as a career choice.  Instead, I have a degree in biology.

Here, counting down the months to the beginning of my 5th decade on God's green earth, I have finally found what I love to do.  And I'm getting paid to do it.  My writing's improving as the months roll on (believe me, I had no where to go but up!).  I won't be able to get rich writing a weekly column for one local paper, but it helps me pay my health insurance premium each month.

That job and this blog has led me to another writing outlet:  A Widow's Might, through Proverbs 31 Ministries.  My first devotion was published online, and I've gotten some touching, wonderful responses back.  I'm attending a writers/speakers conference later this month.  I'm speaking at a writer's workshop here in town before I leave. 

I woke up this morning with this song running through my head:  "I Refuse" by Josh Wilson.

Sometimes I, I just want to close my eyes
And act like everyone's alright
When I know they're not
This world needs God, but it's easier to stand and watch
I could pray a prayer and just move on
Like nothing's wrong

But I Refuse

I don't want to live like I don't care
I don't want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
I could choose not to move
But I refuse

I can hear the least of these, crying out so desperately
And I know we are the hands and feet of You, oh God
So if You say move, it's time for me to follow through
And do what I was made to do
And show them who You are

I don't want to live like I don't care
I don't want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
I could choose not to move
But I refuse

I refuse to stand and watch the weary and lost cry out for help
I refuse to turn my back and try and act like all is well
I refuse to stay unchanged, to wait another day to die to myself
I refuse to make one more excuse

I don't want to live like I don't care
I don't want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
I could choose not to move
But I refuse


 I have found my calling.  It is to minister and share with others going through similar situations like my family is experiencing.  God gives me the words that seem to help in some way. 

I refuse to sit by and do nothing when I can stand up and talk to people who are going through agonizing times.  God is calling me to do so.  I'm not yet sure of all of the particulars, but I know with every fiber of my being that He will reveal more as the days go along. 

In the meantime, I will be content but I will not be quiet.  God's amazing love continues to transform my family and mold us into something more beautiful than I could've ever imagined.  Even with that most wonderful daddy & husband up in heaven. 

Tough days?  We still have them, I'm sure we always will.  But we'll continue to push onward to the prize.  The prize Mark Howell is enjoying with our Saviour right now. 
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Christmas, 2012

Christmas, 2012