Monday, December 29, 2014

Only Wait

In the early 80's I spent some time away at school (we won't say where) and I suffered with a lot of anxiety and depression, not because of being away from home per say, but because of the difficult circumstances in which I found myself.  To help me cope with my situation, I journaled a lot.  Most of my writings have been trashed through the years, but my mother saved a few pieces.  I'm sure I must have scared my mother to death at times, but almost as soon as I would begin writing, I would begin to heal and grow.  I post some of these writings here because perhaps there are those who are in despair or feel at their lowest, and I want them to know that it is possible to make it to the other side.  These present hard times are not permanent.  They are only for a season.  Keep in mind, these were not meant to be poetic or grammatically correct.  These writings were never intended for other eyes.  If my writings are too difficult to read at this juncture in your life, please, please skip down to the last one. 

It's been a long time, hasn't it?  I wonder if I've really progressed any.  Only you Lord, only You.  Only You can heal this aching heart of mine.  Only You can fill me with Your love sublime.  It's just You and me, Lord, just You and me.  It's just me and You in this private battle, Lord.  It's just me and You through all the hassles, Lord.  Thank You, Lord; You're all I need.  Only You, Lord.  Only You.


God's sustaining grace.  Sometimes His grace is the only thing that keeps me going.  Failures and set backs come, but still I continue to trudge along with a song in my heart.  God helps me to laugh at my failures (and boy, do I have plenty to laugh at).  I pick up the broken pieces of my heart and go on.  Christ causes me to ALWAYS be victorious, even in my failures.  People thought Christ was a failure.  Here was a man who said He was almighty God and yet, he was hung on a cross and died.  What men thought was His greatest failure was in reality, His greatest victory.  God doesn't want the wise, because it is in their own eyes that they are wise.  God exalts the simple, the foolish, those who remember that they are nothing more than dust.  I praise God in my failures and that I can recognize them.  Because in my weaknesses God can use me and cause me to triumph.  I will give Him the glory for those triumphs because I KNOW that those victories were not won through my own strengths.


Is anyone there, Lord?  Is anyone there?  I reach out for friends, but no one seems to care.  No one needs me, Lord.  No one needs ME.  I want to give of myself, but everyone seems too busy.  I'm not too busy, Lord  I'm not too busty.  Whatever You want, Lord.  Use me.


Oh God, is there no one but You, no one to tell my problems to?  Doesn't anyone hear, are You still so very near?  So many hard places to go through; why must I always continue?  Oh God, I just want to stop; I want the whole world to stop.  Why don't they leave me alone, God; why must I always stand alone, God?  I need someone to hold me up; I just can't seem to keep it up.  Please Lord, let it all stop.


Doesn't anyone really care about me, Lord?  Doesn't anyone really care?  No one really listens.  No one has time.  Why do people tease me so?  Don't they know I hurt so?  No one sees my private tears.  No one knows my secret fears.  Why can't they see it, Lord?  Why can't they see it?  You know my heart, Lord.  You alone know my heart.  I shouldn't have to ask them.  I shouldn't have to ask.  I need to be loved so badly, Lord.  All I want is a hug.  Why does life hurt so much?  Why does it have to hurt?  Do people hurt others because they hurt?  Lord, don't let me hurt others; I know all too well how it feels.


The beginning of another overwhelming week:  where does it all end?  Such demands people make on my life.  I feel like I'm in Vespers and I hear an unending choral chant of the word "time."  Time.  Why is time so important?  People constantly rush about meeting deadlines, keeping appointments, and trying desperately to make the grade.  What is the point of life if we don't have time to live it?  Life is passing us by.  It is the "modern" man that is primitive in that his day to day life has become a mere ritual of rush.  People no longer ruminate and think out that which they are to do; they merely act out their lives as programmed beings. We are free moral agents ( I wasn't reformed at that point lol) or are we?  Other people run our lives for us.  Why is this cycle so seemingly unbreakable?  Enough:  This isn't getting me anywhere.  I must learn to say "no" to some things.  But why is it always my social life that goes first?


When I cannot understand my Father's leading, and it seems to be but hard and cruel fate, still I hear the gentle whisper ever pleading.  God is working; God is faithful, only wait.  There's my answer!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Suffer the Little Children

This past week, I discovered that I had become a cranky old person.  Oh, I always knew that I had a cranky side, but I didn't realize the depths of my sourness.  Let me explain.  You see, I have always hated it when the prelude music is playing at church (particularly when vocals are included) and people in the congregation are talking and visiting, rather than preparing their hearts for worship through quiet meditation.  I have, likewise, hated it when an individual or choir has finished a piece of music during the worship service and people clapped as if the performance was for them rather than worship offered up to God.  Mind you, I still feel that just prior to the worship service is not the time to be discussing yesterday's "great" game or what we think is going to happen on Downton Abbey tonight; nor do I feel that it appropriate to applaud worship music.  I have changed my attitude towards the people however.  
It all changed when I was watching a special on Christmas celebrations of Europe.  At one point during the program, I saw a congregation and then the Pope appeared.  My first thought was, "Boy, I bet those Catholics show respect and don't muck up the worship service."  Wrong!  People randomly began to stand and take photos and videos DURING THE WORSHIP service.  I didn't even allow photos during my wedding because it was a sacred event.  I thought, "Man, I bet the Pope won't stand for that!" Wrong!  The Pope was not flustered and not a single Cardinal or Bishop batted an eyelash.  What?!  What I did see, with new eyes, was the Pope seeing the neediness and the pain of the people.  He blessed them.  He suffered the spiritual children to come to him.  He did it without dumbing down the service or stooping to their level.  He loved them and blessed them.
And so, I need to be more patient and see more the pain and neediness of people.  Not just in church, but everywhere.
Matthew 19:14English Standard Version (ESV)
14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Saturday, June 14, 2014

More Than Happiness

Very often I hear parents say that they just want their children to be happy.  I am not one of those people.  Don't get me wrong; being happy can be a great thing, but it's not what I want most for our daughter.  I just want our daughter to be doing whatever God calls her to do.  This will in turn lead to a greater happiness, but it is NOT to be our primary goal.  Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, not to glorify ourselves.  The notion that happiness is or should be our goal is faulty because with happiness as the goal for our children, more often than not, there is a great deal of unhappiness because we have over protected and spoiled them leading to dissatisfaction and boredom because that kind of happiness is transient.  This worship of our children's happiness has greatly contributed to a nation of self-entitled "kidults" who cannot support themselves or contribute anything of significance to their community.  It seems as those adults are currently an endangered species.  Oh, there are adults out there, but they are increasingly not the norm. Oddly enough, those adults who are happiest are those who work the hardest.  This subject is something I hope to explore in depth in the future.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Oompa Loompas and Tour Guide Barbie

We women are odd creatures.  I say this because we seem to sometimes feel the need to reinvent ourselves into something we are not.  This is most often evident during times of stress, life changes or even a sudden realization that we have aged before we feel ready.  How many times have you seen a woman who is approaching an age milestone, particularly 40 or 50, suddenly start coloring their hair, dressing too young,  trying Botox or visiting a tanning bed?  These changes wouldn't be so bad if tanning beds didn't render us as orange as an Oompa Loompas and the Botox didn't cause us to permanently have vacant Tour Guide Barbie expressions on our faces.  But even younger women fall prey to this inner need to shake up their image, more often than not by either dressing inappropriately for their age or just plain inappropriately by over-sexualizing themselves. 

The flip side to these transformations is that there are those who seem to get locked into a certain style or look and never seem to be able to escape no matter what their age and are clinging to something temporal, making them look equally ridiculous.  Imagine if my husband, at his present age of 58, had fallen victim to this trap and was  still sporting a fringed leather jacket and bell bottom jeans!  How ridiculous that would look!  And yet, we are often guilty of the same things and the only ones fooled are ourselves. 

Since we are often unaware that we ourselves are guilty of the same things that we laugh at in others, how can we combat this?  I could point you to some fun and educational propaganda films from the 1940's and 1950's or give you a list of hard and fast rules, but I would not bind the heart where Scripture does not.  Instead I point us toward Scripture. :

   Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.  I Peter 3:3-4

 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. I Timothy 2:9-10

When we look in the mirror, what do we see?    Are we dressed respectably, with modesty and self-control or are we focused on extravagance?  Do we even think about these verses when we are updating our wardrobes or image?  Refocus your heart on developing a gentle and quiet spirit and you will be developing a timeless beauty that is always age and life station appropriate.  Be who God has called you to be and not some image that Hollywood or Madison Avenue advertising says we should be.  Embrace where God has you in life and find your security in Him alone during turbulent times of your life.  Does that mean you shouldn't buy that new handbag or get your hair cut?  That's not for me to say.  What I am saying is we each need to evaluate where we are in our present life and ask ourselves whose image do we desire to reflect and does what we're wearing  or how we're behaving properly represent that?  For some of us, this is something we need to re-evaluate often because it is all too easy to be sucked in to the world's ideal of what we should look like because we are bombarded with it night and day.  It may difficult for us to discern when we've over stepped our bounds.  We may be tempted to ask our friends the stereo-typical, "does this make me look fat?"  Instead, we should probably choose someone whose character we admire and ask them, do I look appropriate?  Am I presenting myself in a way that honors God? If we have developed that gentle and quiet spirit, we will be receptive to God's leading in this. Sola dei Gloria!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

In Like a Lion....

Well, I finally have time and quiet in order to compose my thoughts, but my thoughts are defiant little ones today.  I have been that way all weekend, not because of work stresses but because of IT.  It has arrived again.  Every year starting mid-February and lasting until April, my allergies kick in and I am ill with not only sinus congestion and an increase in asthma, but also with crazy dreams, restless nights and a brain of full of thoughts that just can't seem to organize themselves into anything resembling  coherence.  If you see me staring off into space, it would probably be best to just quietly tip toe by.  There is no "snapping out of it" until at least April.  I was so grateful when I discovered this pattern, because it used to frighten me when it came round.  About 12 years ago I was going through some old journals when I noticed the same symptoms at the same time of year, so I turned to that time of year in all my old journals and found the same pattern.  At least now I can relax and let it simply be and tweak my supplement and food consumption accordingly.  I do have lots I want to say and can mentally write books in the wee hours of the night, but when I awake, those blogs are forever lost in a mental fog with a twinge of crankiness.  So, I don't write sometimes because I don't want the cranky person....Gentleness is my aspiration, and so, I hold my tongue....for now ;)

Sunday, January 05, 2014

I Gave at the Office

This morning I awoke with feelings of sheer panic and all of my emotions were centered on my job.  Since this is not normal for me, I spent some time reflecting on the current position in which I find myself.  I have, once again, slipped into savior mode at work and let my obsessiveness reign.  I'm not saying that things shouldn't be done correctly, etc.  I believe in all things we should strive to perform our duties in a way that brings glory to God, but I'm getting off topic.  Let me start at the beginning of our marriage....

When my husband and I were married in 1987 (you do the math), we discussed whether or not I would work outside the home.  I knew in my heart that I could only do well one thing at a time, and we decided that one thing would be home & family.  I don't need to tell you how the economy has changed or how my husband's income has not kept pace with economy, because most of us have felt it sharply.  When our daughter was nearing college age, I went to work to help out my exhausted husband.  At first it was just two days a week, and I could easily juggle that.  Over time, my hours kept increasing, as did my responsibility level at work.  Now, I find myself only doing one thing well and that one thing is work.  My home & family have suffered much (as well as my health and nerves).  That's not right!  For me it is sin.  My family and home needs to come before my job. 

Am I quitting? No, my husband still needs me to help him and our daughter has a year and  a half of school left.  What needs to change is my attitude.  I need to go back to taking my breaks, leaving on time, and not answering texts and phone calls from co-workers when I am off work except in emergencies.  We just finished the first week of January in pharmacy which is typically the busiest week of the year; it did not disappoint.  Now, I'm starting this week having to cut three hours out of the next three days to keep from getting in trouble with upper management....and thus, starts my panic.  At the end of the day though, I must remind myself that my duty is to be faithful to my job in the allotted time given me (this applies to all areas of life).  My duty is not to get it all done or be anyone's savior.  Ultimately, that is not where my responsibility lies.  I'm sorry that it falls then on the pharmacists and I truly hate it, but if I don't relinquish control, God will not be honored.

And so, I need to refocus my energies on home & family, where I have always believed they should be focused.  I will still try to do a "bang up job" at work, but I will leave on time and leave the work there.  This is my new year's resolution....hold me to it, people! ....maybe, I'll have energy to get back to blogging then :)