Thursday, June 24, 2010

healing thoughts from my life

Excerpt from Strong Women, Soft Hearts by Paula Rinehart

"A group of Lithuanian teachers was offered the opportunity to come to this country to relax at a retreat center for a few weeks, courtesy of a few generous Texans. These teachers had never been out of their country-many had not been more than thirty miles from the gray, high-rise government apartments they knew as home.

As you can imagine, this was a dream come true for these women. They boarded a plane that carried them halfway around the world to a place awash with color and sun, fresh fruits and vegetables, opportunities at every hand. There were no restrictions here. They could explore to their hearts' content. They had been given, essentially, the keys to the city. As the week progressed, though, a strange situation unfolded. No one knew quite what to make of it. Two of these women never left their rooms. They remained there most of the week, too afraid to venture out.

Fear can have this kind of paralyzing effect on anyone. We allow fear to reduce the world to a couple of small rooms, where things are known and familiar and we feel in control.

When we limit ourselves to the small rooms of life, we find ourselves mired in the small stuff of life. Small conversations about someone else's goings and doings with a little piece of gossip thrown in for size. Small shopping trips to collect more small stuff to be cleaned and dusted. When we're honest, though, we know that's not what our hearts want. Jesus said there is no real life in all that stuff.

Living the small version of what we're meant to live is, essentially, a response to pain. Sometimes the painful happenings of our lives are our own doing. Some of our wounds are inflicted by others. It is easy to build small lives around the pain we encounter, to get lost in one thread of the plot of the story and miss the big theme.

Really knowing God is the hope that the One Who spoke the worlds into being would want us. What He is after is us-our laughter, our tears, our dreams, our fears, our heart of hearts. Remember His lament in Isaiah, that though His people were performing their duties, "their hearts are far from me". We've never been wanted for our heart, not for long. The thought that God wants our heart seems too good to be true."

And a few weeks later I journaled the following:

God, the passages I copied out of the book a few weeks ago really reflects my heart. The "small shopping trips to collect more small stuff to be cleaned and dusted". I just did that yesterday! And the day before that. And two days before that. And the result? A cluttered house. A broken budget. A small checkbook balance (or a large credit card balance!)

And it's not fulfilling! The pleasure of owning the new stuff doesn't last more than a day or two. And then it's just more "stuff to be cleaned and dusted".

So what is my heart REALLY looking for? The obvious answer is a relationship with You. and again, a passage from the book: "I've never been wanted for my heart, my truest self. Not really. Not for long. The thought that God wants my heart seems too good to be true."

That nails my thoughts exactly! I've been rejected (we all have!) and by those who had claimed to love me. So I look for everyone in my life to do so. When a friend ripped me apart for my chosen lifestyle, she judged me, found me lacking, and condemned me. Then she walked away from my life and never looked back. She never saw the smoldering pile of debris and wreckage that she had left my life as. She didn't care. And I know, deep down, that it shows HER lacking, not mine. I needed to change my choices, yes, but condemning and judging was NOT the way to get me to do so. Love and patience and prayer was the ONLY thing that worked.

And we went around that mountain again, years later, with Casi. She went the same path I did, and she also received the condemnation and judgment. And her father and I responded with love and patience and prayer. And God used THAT to draw her out of her lifestyle of bad choices. I wish more "Christians" could see that condemnation and judgment only cause pain and more separation. It NEVER draws a person back to God! God Himself saves it for a LAST resort - the final response to a stubborn heart that refuses to turn to Him. His usual method is love and patience and a gentle beckoning of the wandering heart to come back to Him, away from the dangerous choices.

Well. I didn't know we were going to go THAT direction God! You just provided some healing! :-) Yes, my friend rejected me. Yes, she found me lacking. But she was in the wrong. That is not a reflection of MY value or worth, but really of hers. My daughter doesn't have LESS value because some people in her life condemned and judged her . Not at all! Her value is exactly the same. And so is mine.

"Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to Your great love remember me, for You are good, O Lord." (Psalm 25:7)

***end of journal***

I feel compelled to share this. Yes, it reveals a very vulnerable part of my heart. However, God really used this journal entry to provide some BIG healing in my heart, and if, by sharing it, He can provide some healing for another wounded soul, then who am I to keep it to myself? To God be the glory!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

broken heart

My heart is hurting tonight. As a mom, it's heartbreaking to watch your child be in pain when there is nothing you can do about it. Casi is sooooo depressed! She hates school. Doesn't feel like she has any friends. Only wants to be with her boyfriend. Wants to quit school and move up North with him but doesn't want to wait until she's 18 to do it. :-(

I wish I could take away the pain!!! I know that I can't. I know that God doesn't want me to. I know that through the pain she'll grow stronger and be a better person for it. I know that she WILL make it through this! But that doesn't make it any easier to watch her go through it!

So many things in life right now are just barely tolerable. And nothing I can do to change any of it. Except pray. And wait. And hope that something, soon, will upset the status quo and things will change in my little world.

I keep saying to myself over and over that I cannot control how other people act, only how I REact to their actions. But it's hard. Oh, it's so hard! It's hard to keep doing the right thing. It's hard to keep my attitude right. It's even hard, at time, to trust in God to handle it all! I'm such a perfectionist and control-freak. I know this! I like those qualities in myself sometimes. Other times, I hate them. When they make my life easier, I love them. When they make it harder to deal with stuff, I hate them. Makes sense, right?

Oh, how I wish I could make things better for everyone! Marriages. Finances. Relationships. Emotional health. Physical health. Attitudes and moods. Choices. "If I ruled the world" runs through my mind right now. Good thing I don't!! Good thing God is bigger than all of us and knows (really KNOWS) what's best and what's right and what needs to happen.

I'll just turn to Him, once more. Turn to Him and trust Him. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak (O, Lord, give me strength please!). Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall (how true that is! I watch it happen almost daily!). BUT THOSE WHO HOPE IN THE LORD (I do, I do! I hope in Him! He IS my only hope!) will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.

This is what I cling to. He is who I hope in. He is I Am and I'm SO THANKFUL for that! I'm thankful for His strength. I'm thankful for His power! I'm thankful that He knows all, is all, is everywhere at every moment. Not limited by time or energy or finances or emotions or health or anything!

K, I'm going to go upstairs and lay down and cry and pray now. My heart still hurts. I know He's got it, but it still hurts. Love you all.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

8 months?!?

Has it really been 8 months since I've last posted? Wow! I couldn't even BEGIN to catch up!

OK, in a nutshell...since then I've:

...Started back to college for a degree in Graphic Design (LOVING IT!)

...watched my daughter move past her rebellious years. And, while still feisty as ever, she is growing up to be a strong, amazing young lady and I'm VERY proud of how far she's come!

...brought my son to a psychologist to deal with his depression and anxiety BEFORE it turns into a huge problem, he's been diagnosed with ADD and is on the same medication as my daughter. I'm comfortable with the diagnosis b/c his psychologist took over a year to make it, so he really knows my son and his personality and the challenges he faces

...continued to sing on the Worship Team at church and I'm LOVING IT! Really learning to push past the complacency and apathy that get in my face EVERY TIME I sing for the Lord, and enter into His presence. He is so amazing!

...quit drinking completely! I've not had one drop since the end of November. God made it very clear that I had a choice to make. Him and worshipping Him, or alcohol. Um, no "moment to think" needed there! The decision for Him was made before the question was completely out of His mouth! He wins over everything, hands down. I've not regretted that decision once and am loving how He's growing me in Him since then. (Dar made the same decision as me and I love that we're on the same team!)

...joined with my sister. She's lost 25 pounds and I've lost 18 since December 26th! I've gone down two shirt sizes and one jeans size. Wow! I never thought I could do it, but having a Panda partner sure makes it easier! Accountability! I feel better and have more energy, and that's WAY more important than clothing sizes!

Can't think of anything else to say at the moment, so I guess that's it. I'll try and blog again before another 8 months is up!