Monday, March 30, 2009

When Tears Come ~

The tears came again today. I knew for a couple of days that they were probably on their way because I woke up and couldn't figure out what to do with myself. I mean, I had plenty to do, that was not the problem. I had notes to catch up on, the dog to walk, cleaning, laundry, bills to pay, groceries to buy, supervision homework... plenty to do. I started one thing and got distracted and tried another. Consequently, very little got done. My heart was heavy and it was slowing me down. I even resorted to country music. The playlist went something like this:
"How Are You Doin' Since You Did What You Done to Me?"
"Before He Cheats"
"My Give-a-D*mn's Busted"
"He Ain't Worth Missin"
You know, real I'm-so-over-you songs. Then the list took a turn for the worse:
"I Told You So"
"Neon Moon"
"You Lie"
"Here Comes Goodbye"
Those cryin'-in-your-beer songs that make you want to jump off the roof of a 3-story building. I wasn't depressed, I was just out of sorts. And my thinking started going down the wrong road. Poor, poor, pitiful me! And the tears just started coming down and the tension was released and all the sudden my good sense came back to me. I reached beside me and picked up my Bible and opened it up and started reading.
Psalm 71:1-7 (NKJV) 1 In You, O LORD, I put my trust; Let me never be put to shame. 2 Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; Incline Your ear to me, and save me. 3 Be my strong refuge, To which I may resort continually; You have given the commandment to save me, For You are my rock and my fortress. 4 Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, Out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. 5 For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth. 6 By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You.
And that is what I did. I decided that God would be the one to whom I continually resort and I will give Him praise. I will lean on Him when I am confused and don't know how to get through the day. When I start thinking those sad thoughts and the tears come, I can remind myself of God's greatness and His knowledge me.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I got run over by a bus yesterday...

"I was thrown under the bus." Have you ever heard that expression? It generally is said when something happens and someone doesn't want to be blamed for it so they point an accusing finger at you. You were just thrown under the bus. That happened to me recently and I lay there bleeding, so to speak, for the rest of the evening. The wind was sucked out of my sails, the spark left my eye, the hop in my step was gone. And I was angry! To top it all off, the person who threw me under there would not look me in the eye or speak to me. By the time I left for the night, I'd had as much passive aggression as I could take for one day. The list of emotions was long ~ confusion, frustration, hurt, and most of all anger. I breathed a prayer of desperation as I finished up my last minute duties, "God please help me, I don't know how to stop feeling this way, I don't know what to do." A fraction of a scripture went through my head but I could not put it together - something about being nice to those who aren't nice to you. When I got home I spent some time winding down before going to bed and when I lay down I could not stop the emotions from bubbling up. I was worried and anxious and I felt like a fool. I couldn't even pull together a prayer so I said something like this "God, please, I don't know what to say, can you fix it. Good night."
I woke up at 9 this morning and decided it would be a special day. I took my special dog for a special walk. I made special coffee (Hazelnut Cream) that my special friend had given me. Then I sat down with the most special book of all, the Bible. I started reading first in Deuteronomy and came to this verse and it jumped out at me. I'm not trying to take it out of context, but it is a good analogy at this time in my life.

Deuteronomy 2:7 (NKJV) “For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.”

I feel like I have been walking in a wilderness for a while! I have pursued the path that God wants me to pursue and it has had some rough patches. But as the verse says, I have lacked nothing! God has been there for me and given me what I needed to make it through. But then I turned on over to the New Testament and here is what my eyes landed on. Having just been thrown under the bus, these words were quite meaningful for me.

Luke 6 (NKJV) 27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. 32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. 37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

I want to be right. I have been resistant and easily hurt. I have been trying to figure out how to make things better by doing this thing and that thing. I've been wondering who to trust and laying low to avoid being hurt. But today is a brand new day. Maybe I'm in a wilderness right now but maybe this is where my purpose is at this time. So while I'm here, I will serve my purpose and keep loving the people around me. Keep giving, expecting nothing in return. Keep helping and keep encouraging. Because everything that I do will come back to me in good measure.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Whatsoever Things...

I talked to an old friend yesterday. Not an old friend but someone I've known for quite a while but I haven't talked to for about a month, maybe longer. Actually, I have a lot friends with whom I haven't talked for a while. It seemed that every time I spoke with someone, words just came spilling out that I had repeated 1000 times before. It is cathartic to tell someone about your pain, about how you've been wronged. But after a while, it becomes a way to reinforce the pain and anger and hurt. As Christians we are instructed to think about the good things.
Phillipians 4:8 ~ "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy ~ meditate on these things."
That's difficult sometimes. I start thinking about how things didn't go my way or about why someone else got something I wanted. Or something they didn't deserve. And before I know it, I'm mad at the world and nothing anybody does or says is right. So my goal today is to think only on the good things in my life and find the silver lining in all the other stuff. And I have PLENTY to think about!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

40 Wedding Anniversary ~

These are pictures from my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. The date is March 7th, 2009. We are so proud of them!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Would you do it all again?

I was listening to the radio on the way to work on Monday. This is Wednesday so I had to mull this over for a couple of days before I could respond to what I was hearing. There was a lady named Jill who had twin sons and her husband walked out on her the first week the boys start 6th grade. She said that it was a year before the husband decided he wanted a divorce although she had prayed the whole time that God would change things. When all was said and done, God woke her up early one morning and said "Would you go through it all again if I asked you to?" She first said yes but when she was fully awake she realized what God had asked. During the ordeal and following it, in her pain, she had asked God to search her heart and show her anything that wasn't quite right.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
When I heard her say that I immediately thought, "But I did my best! I did everything I could and it wasn't good enough!" But then I realized, what I did wrong had come before the marriage. I had set my eyes on the wrong things and worried about what other people thought of me instead of what God wanted. I'm responsible for the mess I made by not trusting God and taking things into my own hands. But throughout the past year, God, in His grace, went before me and made the crooked ways straight. When I started trusting Him, He directed my footsteps and protected me from total ruin. There is no way I could be where I am at now if I had not gone through what I have gone through in the past year. It was horrible, the worst experience of my life. But if that is what it takes to find the way everlasting (vs. 24) I would have to say, I would do it all again.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Prayer for a Good Husband ~

As many of you know, I was married in October of 2007. It was a year of disaster and insight and learning. It was a year of happiness and heartache, more of one than the other. In the aftermath I have questioned the big picture of my life and what was supposed to be, what really was, and what should be from this point forward. I've spent a lot of time alone figuring out how I feel and how to handle the judgments of others. It is between me and God to decide what my future holds ~ my part is to simply follow Him there. For the past 6 months I have sworn that I would never get married again for fear of making yet another mistake or being hurt even worse. But here is where I stand on the subject of life when it comes to me.
Nobody walks in my shoes but me. I have spent far too long worrying about what others think and what looks right to those around me. I deserve to live MY life. Some say that if you have been married before, well, that was your chance. I don't agree. I don't believe God is happy with divorce but I also do not believe that He expects you to continue in a marriage that is destroying you physically, spiritually, emotionally, or all three. After all, would it be right to participate in your own murder? A friend asked me that and I said NO. I do feel that somewhere along the way I will meet someone who has the same desires as I have. So in the future, if God sees fit for me to marry again, that is what I will do. It may be a long time and it may not. It will definitely be scary and require a great bit of trust on my part. But I don't believe in letting fear hold us back from the good things that are offered us. The following is a prayer that I found recently. I did not write it but it sums up what I feel in my heart.
O Jesus, the dearest Friend I have, in all confidence I open my heart to You to beg Your light and assistance in the important task of planning my future. Give me the light of Your grace, that I may decide wisely concerning the person who is to be my partner through life. Dearest Jesus, send me such a one whom in Your divine wisdom You judge best suited to be united with me in marriage. May his character reflect some of the traits of Your own Sacred Heart. May he be upright, loyal, pure, sincere and noble, so that with united efforts and with pure and unselfish love we both may strive to perfect ourselves in soul and body, as well as the children it may please You to entrust to our care. Bless our friendship before marriage, that sin may have no part in it. May our mutual love bind us so closely, that our future home may ever be most like Your own at Nazareth.
And if I never marry again, I have confidence that God will make my life all that it was meant to be. In the meantime, I will wait to see what surprises He has for me around the bend.

Musical Chairs ~

Imagine 14 grown men playing musical chairs... walking slowly around in a circle, tiptoeing from one chair to the next and hesitating before moving on. Their ages range anywhere from the 20s up through the 50s. The seriousness on their faces tells us how much they want to win this game. The prize is $1.50 (enough for a bus pass) and an extra evening snack. When the music stops they all scramble to get a chair, pushing and shoving and accidentally ending up sitting in each other's laps. The whole group, including me, breaks out in laughter, rolling around in our chairs, pointing at each other and harassing the one who lost his chair. Everyone seems to forget the hardships and doldrums they've experienced that day, at least for a little while.
When they walked into the room and saw the chairs set up to play a kid game there was a collective groan among the group. They all seemed to think they were too tough or too grown up to enjoy it and it was a waste of their time. The objective for them when the game started was to get it over with ~ as quickly as possible. However, when one person would be left standing, they wanted to get back in the circle and try again! Truly this was a phenomenon I had not expected and had not seen up until now. We had to run and get our supervisor so she could witness the whole thing ~ the intensity with which they played, the encouragement for each other when one got put out ("that was a good try, good job!") , and, best of all, the laughter. At the end they admitted they thought it was going to be stupid but really enjoyed it.
So next time you (or I) feel low, just think of these 14 men, most of whom have lost everything, walking slowly in a circle, laughing and competing for $1.50 and an extra snack.