The truth as I know it:

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time & miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands. ~~~ Kristi Larson

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Beautiful People are Made

In counseling, I'm processing the difference between compassion and co-dependence.  When people hurt me, I often see them as wounded, hurting people and I instinctively want to make it better for THEM.  And I think there is a fairness in that, a goodness.  However, how much of that is because I feel that my self-worth is tied up in them seeing me as worthy?  I think alot!  And that's how I end up in relationships where I accept less than what is best for me.  I end up accepting things from friends and spouses that diminish my value because I don't, deep down, believe I'm worthy of being treated better.  I somehow see that I "deserve" to be last on the list.  

I think part of this is my religious background.  I was sort of raised in a religious environment where I was taught to put myself last.  My parents surely didn't put me last, it's not that.  But it wasn't considered "Christian" to expect certain things for yourself.  When someone hurt you, turn the other cheek.  Repay evil with kindness.  And you know what?  I'm passing it on to my kids too.  When someone is mean to them, I use that old expression that I learned in Sunday school, "Heap coals of kindness onto them."  Why am I teaching my children that the meaner someone is to you, the nicer you should be to them?  Isn't this pretty much what led me to be devalued in the first place, somewhat of a doormat for the past few years?  

In fact, I think Jesus was trying to tell us the importance of loving OURSELVES FIRST when He said, "Love others as you love yourself."  If we are to know how to love others, then JESUS tells us that we must know how to love ourselves. If I loved others the way I love myself, always putting them last and expecting them to take hurt upon hurt without regard for their own feelings, then I'd have no one in my life at all.  

For now, I'm really trying to learn how to love myself the way I love others.  I have to learn to protect myself the way I protect others.  I have to see myself as the hurting little girl that I see in my friends when they are angry or cross the line with me.  I have to learn these things and it's SO difficult and so painful and so lonely and so hard.  But there's no shortcut to it.  I want the blessing I know God has for me at the end of the road.  I don't want to miss it because I took a shortcut through the pain, but oh, dear, the pain! 

Matthew 22:38-39

38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[a]

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's a new day....

It's hard to get up in the mornings.  My alarm goes off and I want to pull the covers back over my head.  But, today I have a few appointments and a reason to get dressed, so that's a very good thing.  I'm trying to be intentional about how I fill my days, not over-booking, but certainly trying to keep busy.

When the rough patches hit, I confess that I want to lay down and just give up.  I just want someone else to come and tell me what to do and where I'm going to land. I want someone else to have the conversations about the tough things.  My heart is weary of all the pain.  I don't know how people go through a divorce when it's truly just "I'm no longer happy."  I could find a way to be happy if there weren't these huge transgressions.  And even then I could probably figure it out to avoid all this if all this hadn't occurred on top of it all.  I'm exhausted.  Have I said that?  Did I mention that I'm just freakin' TIRED!?  I'm tired of the fight, tired of being intentional for my kiddos, tired of trying to prop them up every day when I'm barely standing myself, tired of worrying about where the money for unexpected things is going to come from, tired of worrying about how in the heck I'm going to take care of this huge yard and four kids and a 25 year old house all by myself without my parents close by.  I'm weary of all things.  I want to have some joy, some fun, some rest, some relief from the strain of it.  I'm so tired of the guilt I feel over the legacy my children will now carry.  I swear I'd do it differently if I could stomach it.  My heart hurts at the thought of what my kids will endure for the rest of their lives.  Oh how I ache for them.  I can't stay for them, I've been told 100 times by counselors and psychiatrists that it is no more healthy for them to live in a home where there is discord than it is to live in a single parent home where there is peace.  But so far, no one has peace.  People tell me it will come.  My friends remind me of what my August and September were like and they say it's better now.  I guess it is.  But it doesn't feel better.  It feels the same.  I do know that there was a brief reprieve.  Maybe  why this feels worse.  There was a two or three week period of time where I thought things weren't too bad.  But then that seems to have only made the contrast of how I feel now more acute.

Psalm 147:3-5
"3 He heals the brokenhearted 
   and binds up their wounds. 
4 He determines the number of the stars 
   and calls them each by name. 
5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power; 
   his understanding has no limit."

Thank you, Lindsay, for reminding me of this verse.  I LOVE the thought of him literally wrapping bindings around my wound.  I think of the way I tenderly "doctor" my children's scrapes and cuts, how I make a big deal over the smallest of things and I rush to alleviate the pain of true hurts.  I can imagine our Lord doing this for me, rushing to my side when I am alone and hurting, wrapping my heart in bindings and holding them tight until the pain has eased.  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Just Breathe

I think I've quoted this before, but there is a line in a Jars of Clay song.  The song is called Work.  The line says, "I have no fear of drowning, it's the breathing that's taking all this work."  That is SO accurate for my life right now.  I have ridden this wave of emotions since April of 2010.  Days when I would wake up thinking that life was possibly resuming something that looked like normal.  Thinking, "Okay, I can do this... not exactly what I thought I wanted, but okay God, we'll go with it."  Then out of nowhere I slam hard into a space that has no oxygen, there's no normal in sight, there's only lonely and scared because how in the world am I going to do all this?  How am I going to take care of this house and four kids all by myself?  Really?!  I look around and all I see is work work work and no one to help help help.  So, I don't fear drowning.  Drowning would probably actually be better.  I'm drowning for sure.  Actually going down would mean I could stop fighting the water and the waves and just let go.  But I can't do that.  Number one, I have my kids to fight for.  I have to keep swimming (like Dory in Little Nemo, I've said to myself 1000 times and more, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming....") Plus, I honestly and truly don't know HOW to stop swimming.  I've been swimming all my life.  I've been striving toward something that felt invisibly pulling me along, a feeling of unrest before, now a feeling of life or death, but still, that same feeling with new intensity that I have keep going.  I just hate waking up in the morning wondering what I'm going to do for 14 hours until I can go back to bed and forget the world for a while.  I dread the new day and what pain it might bring.  I have always sort of hated New Years Eve because alot of people get excited for what a new year might hold, but since my sister was killed, I've thought of it as "what if this is the year your sister dies, or what if this is the year your husband leaves you, or what if this is the year it REALLY gets bad."  I hate when people say, "It can't get any worse, because it can ALWAYS get worse."

So, I know it's nice and depressing to read my words on a Monday morning.  I know that it's not the ridiculous antics people usually come here to hear about.  There are still alot of funny things that happen in my day, but I see them through a painful fog right now.  Last week, I was almost cheerful, I said to a friend, "This is the first time in a long time I haven't dreaded the new day, I think I'm coming through the other side."  WHAM! Thanksgiving and reality and fear and I didn't see it coming. I truly got clotheslined by it and am sort of experiencing a shocked feeling of once again trying to get up off the floor.  God, how many times must I pick myself up?  Lord, how many times must I hit a low, think it's the bottom, only to realize there's further to fall?  How much must you allow me to hurt before it's done? I look around and see that You have gently put people and words in my path to encourage me.  You have been with me, I know You haven't left my side, and I have physically felt that God Himself has suffered with me all this time.  I'm just calling out today that my praying friends would intervene for me, I need something encouraging, something hopeful, something new....

"The Lord hears his people when they call to Him, He rescues them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, He rescues those whose spirits are crushed." 

Anyone know what verse this is?  I found the quote, but couldn't find the Scripture location.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Time, Obedience, and Trust

Today's sermon was about prosperity.  That God's intention is for us to prosper and ENJOY the gifts He has given us.  It's sort of a foreign concept to me because my religious upbringing left me believing that God loved me, but that He was ready to thump me on the head anytime I did wrong, which in my life was alot because I'm a rebel at heart, natural challenger of authority, tell me I can't and I will die trying, etc.  It took 41 years, but I think God has finally thumped it out of me!  I'm broken of spirit.  This week, Thanksgiving, put me over the edge.  I think I came undone.  It was lonely.  I missed my kiddos, who were with their dad and my in-laws, who are my family too.  I met them all for the first time 18 Thanksgiving's ago.  It was so hard.  The hardest week of my life.  In the process of my grief, I also carelessly hurt a friend.  So, here I sat today, in church, listening to how God wants to give me these great things and how He has planned things for my life that are beyond my imagination right now and I just want it to be true SO badly.  I want to skip through all this difficulty, all this first holiday as a broken family.  I want someone to wake me up when the pain is over and tell me I can start to look for more than one day at a time now.  I want to take a breath without it hurting.  I want to look forward to the day, and the night, and tomorrow without dread.  I want the loneliness to end and the healing to begin.  I am so tired of hurting and so tired of fighting for rest.  I'm just tired.  Scared and tired... mostly I'm just tired.