Friday, October 28, 2011

The Encounter

I finished reading the Encounter at 3 a.m.  It is now 3:38. I’ve written my review, and a heartfelt letter to my birth mother.

The book reminded me of the Shack. He called it a parable. This one, however, based on the combination of two true stories. The fictional parable itself was compelling. I read the book during a very busy day in less than 12 hours. Carried it with me. Read a page at a stop light. I just couldn’t put it down.

I was reading parts of it this wee morning, and it finally internalized to my story. Andy Andrews says of it, “you’ll learn things about yourself that you never knew were there.”  It didn’t even dawn on me throughout the book, that the man was seeking out a meeting with his birth mother, whom abandoned him at 4 in Alaska, and that much of the anger in his life was from not being able to sort out his value  - the resentment and lack of forgiveness – of that day. It wasn’t until he looked through a scrapbook, and saw the pictures in print, that were also in his memory, of their last day spent together, that it all focused in my mind.

You see, when I was little, my mother, a native Alaskan, also abandoned me.  I remember the day quite clearly. It is a movie that plays through my mind. When I think of her, I remember that day. The emotions, the place, the kitchen, the bedroom, the words spoken, and then the lack. I remember that feeling of complete and utter void. My father had left my mother, and then my mother had left me.  My turning point in my story, was that we were sent to live with my Grandparents for a time – and then back with my Dad and a new step mom. Their love for the Lord, their guidance and love and grace, their simple life style (all four of them), kept me from internalizing the whole story as something that was done TO me, and just as something that happened. I think that’s why it took me so long to see myself in this book. I don’t feel like anything was done in my past was specific to ME. I was just a  participant. Without realizing it, by the end of the book, watching this father and mother painfully reunite, hearing how all of their perceptions of what they thought the other was feeling were wrong – and they began the road to reconciliation – acceptance – I realized I was wiping tears away. I think for me – it always boils down to the not knowing. Not understanding how a mother, any mother, could abandon a child. I do assume, that they think that being out of the child’s life will make it better. I wish they knew how untrue that is. 

I already have sent an email to my birth mother. We recently caught up on email and a tiny bit on Facebook, although she only logs on about once in six months. My life is there for her to read about, my feelings, but I have none of hers.  I wanted to write to her and tell her all the things that stirred in my heart for her because of this book. Personal thoughts. Not for the wandering eye.

Page 47 says, “you have to go beyond the entitlement of resentment so you can have the freedom found in acceptance.” I find this to be true to any situation. From waiting in a long line and having someone cut ahead, lane changers in traffic, to things happening today, expectations not met by other people, broken possessions, to the past. It seems I hear a lot about the word Forgiveness. But there isn’t a lot of how that gets walked out. The Forgive and Forget, I think should be changed to Forgive and Accept, and then apply real grace and mercy. Do your best to find the truth, hear the perspective of both sides, find empathy. Even though he was looking for truth, he wasn’t looking to be sympathetic or empathetic until they faced a situation of death. Then he found it in himself to demonstrate grace.

I too, with my birth mom, stand on the brink of death. She is in the final stages of cancer. Her health, our lack of income and a vehicle, have prevented our meeting. I never saw her after she left our home when I was little, until a brief meeting when I was 18, and then a summer spent together a year later in Seattle while I was in the Coast Guard. Even though we’ve lived 4 hours apart, I’ve seldom known where her location was or had a phone number. For many years, I only had her first name. It’s been over 22 years now since I’ve seen her. I would like to talk with her in person. Not as the confused 18 year old, full of life and passion and self confidence, ready to prove myself to the world, but as the 40 year old, full of mercy, grace, humbleness. Willing to hear her real story. Listen. Sip tea. Hear what these years have been to her. From the beginning. I may never have the chance that he did, to read through his mother’s scrapbook of his life. I do see, that I do not harbor resentment – I have come to acceptance long ago – that this is just part of me.

It’s funny. I was just having a conversation with friends, over tea this week, and we were opening up our lives, talking about our childhoods. One badly neglected and abused as a child, one badly abused physically and mentally.  I felt sort of bad. My real memories start at age 5, with a  Beaver Cleaver life. A near perfect childhood. That has gone into marriage and motherhood. Hard knocks yes. American Poverty and physical hardships of illnesses yes. I do know pain and hurt. Hurt is hurt. But my childhood with my grandparents and parents are filled with love, peace, joy, and strawberries. I had mentioned as such, how grateful I was for such a wonderful childhood, when I hear of other children who have gone through similar family rips, who did not come out the other side so well.

I am sure, and as reading this book I kept seeing visions, of my grandmother, both of them actually, who breathed into me what I did have, what I could cling on to – my Mother Pat – the Lord – the New family. I knew how hard my Father was working to make the family work. I knew that my life was sort of a make up of what went on before. My grandmother Ruth breathed it into me. Centered me on the Cross and not myself. It is a trait that has carried with me through adult years. Circumstances and Events, although not fun to go through, are mean to be lived through, and then walked away from. Learn, grow, and then walk forward. I was never given a choice to feel entitled to resentment. Entitled to anger. Entitled to fear.

I hope to pass these same character traits onto my own children.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Women of Faith–What spoke to me?

Looking through my notes – I thought I’d share a few of the highlights that were written on scraps of paper at this weekend’s 2011 Portland Women of Faith Over the Top conference.

It was dark – for the whole first day, scribbles without names – you may assume that either Patsy Clairmont, Andy Andrews, Lisa Whelchel or Marilyn Meberg spoke these words -

Fear is the misuse of a creative imagination. How can I turn that part of me off?  Logic.

God doesn’t ask us to understand, he asks us to obey, sometimes, when we obey, He allows us to understand.

I was reading today, in Daniel 10:12 – The Lord is talking to Daniel, in a time – a 3 week period – that he was waiting for an answer – “Then he said unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before they God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.”  Daniel had a problem, and he had to choose to set his heart to understand. The verse is pretty cool as it goes on in the rest of the chapter to explain why the answer was slow incoming.  I am ever amazed at how may scriptures start with Fear Not. Do Not Be Afraid. Have Courage. And this one – paired with the knowledge that Daniel had been seeking understanding for weeks – I dunno. It’s comforting.

`I have pondered the “Refuse / Replace / Repeat” urging from Patsy.  Of how to get those thoughts out of your mind. As I sit here and type, Pandora is blaring from the TV in the front room. I realized, I had not been listening to the Praise Music, so it wasn’t in my heart, and I haven’t been memorizing scripture, so it wasn’t on my tongue.  Setting those things straight this week. I want Healthy Wholesome Thoughts. I may have to set emotional boundaries with some of my friends. 

Speaking of emotions, I think Patsy said – “ We make ourselves desperate by these wide expanses of up and down emotions.  Find Balance!”

“Have you become a person other people want to be around?”

“When you spot the enemy – Do Good!”

On Restoring Relationship - “Starting points usually start with Humility.”

On Practicing Emotional Balance- “Pick a time that was difficult – do not whine or exaggerate giving yourself unnecessary stress reliving the wrong that has happened to us.”

“Please make me sensitive to how I act – It reflects you.”

“Mistake or Choice – I’m sorry never works for a choice – you did it on purpose and got caught – the words and heart need to say – ‘Will you forgive me’.” Andy Andrews

“Don’t place expectations on a friend to fill your need” Lisa Whelchel

“Identify safe friends – perfect doesn’t bring connection, imperfection does. Immanuel – God With Us – With Me, Accpetance and Understanding” Lisa Whelchel

Lisa – with laughing with a good friend, “It’s the kind of laughter, nothing is really that funny, I’ll laugh or I’ll cry”

“Transparent or vulnerable? Transparent lays it out there, vulnerable brings it close enough to touch or hurt you. The desire for connection outweighs the fear of rejection.” Lisa Whelchel

“Don’t force an answer where an answer doesn’t exist – Perspective – Calm, Calm, Ideas – Lead to God” Broken quote from Andy Andrews.

“Your Will is stranger than your emotions.” Andy Andrews. Careful Purposeful Parenting!

“He didn’t say no to a dream, he said yes to a dream he has for me that I don’t know about yet.” Sandi Patty

Exodus 14:14

The Lord shall fight for you and you shall hold your peace.

“Watch what happens when you over react. It is almost always a matter of perspective.” Patsy Clairmont

There ya go – so if you hear me talk in person – you’ve heard me bring these up a few times. A few of them are going into my memory banks. There are a few more quotes from Andy that we are working with through the boys’ lives.  I had a really great weekend.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hearing through Church Leaders

In God’s Perfect Timing – our men at church have been teaching/sharing about Planning – through the book of Luke. I thought I’d type out some of the random quotes that I wrote in my journal – I don’t always write down who was speaking – so – consider them all from the Vineyard at Coast Vineyard Church.. . . spoken through the Spirit – straight into my ears to my heart!

We were in Luke 15 talking about Value. Do we value Jesus’s authority? How does He pour His values into our hearts? Where our treasure is – there our heart will be also – in order for our values to change – I need to see what God Values – If I really value it – I’ll do it.  What do I do? What do I value?

And I am in the season of planning – for a new learning year. The responsibility placed on the Homeschool Mom –the fingers pointed at all of the Character, Attitude, Aptitude, and Ability – no such finger is pointed at any one teacher in a child’s life at public school. Children just get to be children at the local elementary. The Child is some sort of Watched Product in a homeschooling home. So – funny – this day – our speaker mentions – “Murmuring blinds us – takes away our vision – blinds us – so we can not see what Jesus sees.” I can find my self murmuring under breath of the worry of this great task.

Jeremy quoted C.S. Lewis while speaking about Luke 16 -

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”

In Luke 17 – The Kingdom of God is not with observation -  You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you. And now, with the Holy Spirit in us – The Kingdom of God – In In Us.

Jeremy gave a heart felt sharing of his life – urging us to also live a transparent life. My blog is part of that. My speech is part of that. I have prayed for it so much – that I have found myself unable to play the games of say this – to mean that – with hold this information – to be secretive of that – My life – is Life. Shared. Openly. I have nothing to hide.

And the theme wove itself together of the last few weeks – of our need for that Cornerstone in Luke 20 – the need to build ourselves upon that rock. The Need in 1 Cor 7 – Let every man wherein he is called abide with God – those that are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.

And as I plan for the year – Why is it that my mind gets heavy on the academic – and not as heavy on Christ’s teachings? Like it is a given, an aside, an assumption that we will be in the word each day. Should I not just also assume that we will be in Math and Reading each day was well?

My brain is full, my heart is heavy on other things – I’ll post this crazy bit into my ponderings blog – and be back later for a “Part 2”.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


episynagōgē - Epee-Synago-Kay – Is it Synagogue? Our words – Assembling Together comes from this word – or Gathering together.  A Gathering together in one place. Which has become known as the Religious Assembly of Christians.

I woke this morning with the love of The Body in my heart. A note from a friend, visits from family and friends, neighbors and relatives. I eagerly wake to find messages and notes tucked in various spots in cyberland – ready to spread a smile on my face. I eagerly devour the word – and I stop to ponder -

On this drizzly grey May morning – as my family is in slumber, waiting for the wake up call to assemble together with other believers in the area -

I think on the – Do not forsake the gathering of yourselves together verse. And my mind connects all of The Body that I have gathered with this week. And yet – most of it was one on one. Or in 3’s the most 4’s.

This morning I look up the verse in Hebrews 10:25 - Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

The word assembling there- is not meant as a one on one experience. It was meant as An Intentional Gathering In One Place.

What if?  This month we have had National Day of Prayer.  How many attended? We have had online chats, blog swaps, Facebook Page Parties. Twitter. But What If?

Only once a month – each follower of Christ – no matter the denomination – or title – gathered themselves together in one place? 

Once a Quarter?

Once a Year? On the same day? The pull from the businesses, radio, tv and internet. The void that would be in the world – because the saints have dropped their doings – and spent an hour – gathering together. In worship – of the Risen Savior – collectively – to hear from His Word. Simple. No agenda. No “Training”. Just provoking each other to Love and Good Works.

People fail to talk about the rest of Hebrews 10. Sin. Covenant Breaking. Or vs 31 - [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

I urge you – to read chapter 10 – read anything – and see if your heart isn’t stirred to gather together. To see the faces of the saints. Not for a coop. or a Tupperware party. Or a Beach BBQ – or a Barn Raising. Not for anything. Other than to worship the King. Without focus on the sinful man to your left, or the harlot woman to your right, or the sinner behind the podium – trying his hardest to gather the saints – sinners themselves – judgemental above all – to focus – intently – on Christ alone. Drums, versions, rules, Let them wash away. Hymns, concerts, speed, noise,  - let them be washed away.

Be filled with the Word. The Love of the Savior – hug a friend. Gather together. Join with a completely strange fellowship this morning – expect nothing. Give everything.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mornings in the Word

So in this age of electronics – I must confess that over the last few weeks – I have not spent time – in the paper confines of the Bound Word.  Oh – on line and in devotionals – in pieces of the Word – and through worship songs rejoicing on Pandora, my CD’s and on the Digital Channel on TV. Not far from The Word – But not IN, swimming among the paper pages of the Word in Print.

There is something mighty about a Sword that one can hold in the hand.

Which Brings me to my pondering of today -

During the cleaning of the flooding of the basement I found my Grandmother’s Bible – an old black leather King James. It was covered in a mossy green, like a little moldy cocoon. With careful cleaning, it has been restored, and laid open in the house by the wood fire and in front of windows, I love the smell of the wood fire that permeates each page.

And this morning, as I sat in my new reading place by the window – It is her volume that I chose to read. Her scribbles and exclamation points and marks of My Favorite fill the margins.  What greater gift to leave a Granddaughter than your  underlined bible?

And I was praying for the unity of the Body. Of the followers of Christ – who have each dug their heels in to the experiences that effect them – that raise this point over that – who feel pain over different areas – and to this new generation of electronic users – who can spew partial sentences – and for those who read them and inflict their own experiences into what the meaning must be – and judgment is cast – and lines are drawn – and people are separated- by the spewing of typed words. . .  and My heart has been sad – watching through this second wave of the sifting of people.

My eyes have been drawn this morning to a remembrance of a verse shared – this Sunday in church – something he said was from Psalm 133.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious ointment upon the head,
that ran down upon the beard,
even Aaron’s beard: that went down the skirts of this garments;

As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

As I see effects of the sun, peeking over the eastern hillside, slowly appearing over the lake, bright rays of light start to sparkle – and the dew is on the deck – and the dew has moistened, cleaned the debris of yesterday -

That I pray for my brothers and sisters – mostly today – focused on the ones who proclaim Christ Crucified  - Who proclaim that the Word is True -  I pray that as the dew descends upon the mountains today – that the Lord’s Blessing – Of Life for Evermore – of unity of the brethren – to be poured out.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Deliverance at Purim


Spring opens up – color, scents, growth, beauty, newness and growth from what seemed to be dead. And so it is with my heart!

I am feeling the growth and newness ( and the loss of midsection ) as my chemical levels even out with my thyroid and vitamins.  And yet, as I spoke in the last post – I know that there is something that is still lacking.


Sunday came – and the choice of where to worship – The boys and I had a long discussion in the morning of the why’s of our choices – and we settled on being submissive – even though Hubby is at work most Sundays – we are going to choose his choice. (Of which, he said later in the day, thrilled his socks off).

One of the details we discussed was the music. Although, for a concert I really love the music – the musicians are amazing and passionate, their hearts are full and they joy is abundant. The congregation really rocks out! For me, being new,  I don’t know most of their songs, or the arrangements of the words that I do know, being played to their writings.  I have spent most praise sessions enjoying the worship of those around me, while I am glad to be sitting in the Presence.

Yet, as we walked in a bit late – they were playing a song that I knew. Followed by a whole set of “songs that Angie would have chosen”.  And I felt the Father’s arms of comfort around me.

And then – the leader stopped. He urged us to think about the words. If we didn’t know the songs, or if they didn’t apply to us, or if we weren’t quite where the songs words said – to speak them as a prayer, of what we would want for our lives, or pray for a friend that comes to mind that the song does apply to – praying for those around us – instead of just singing out – words that may not be true to us.

And he started on – a familiar hymn -

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Yes, He has taught me to say – It is well, It is Well With my Soul.  I can say that. I do say that. I even trick myself into believing it sometimes.

But Sunday – when we sang the chorus – a couple times repeated – the silent wet drops of tears started to run down my face – as I knew – should I sing it to the choral standards of loveliness – that it would be a lie.

As the instruments melted together – beautifully, and the congregation sang, over and over, It is well. With my Soul. It is Well, It is Well, With My Soul. I knew – there was something unspeakable – that my own understanding could not comprehend – that was not well.

And so I prayed.  With my whole heart. Without words. HEAL ME! Fix this damaged heart! Wipe away the stress and pain! Or give it a Name! Give me A way to detach from whatever is pulling me under! Make It Well With My Soul!

And we continued to sing, and I felt as if the Lord himself were standing by me, arm on my shoulder as we continued -

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

And Christ seemed to look right at me – and assurance flooded in – that He has regarded my helpless estate – he knows, and I felt the healing. Flow through my entire body, badly cut bangs to sand clogged toe nails. And as we continued through the verses and chorus, I could feel the healing roll over me. The Strength filling my inner body.


( I warn ya, this is a long post – cause – it was a long Sunday!)

And then the service started – And we were in Luke – at the Lord’s Prayer – I’ll save everything I learned during our exercise for another post – We prayed through each section of the Lord’s prayer, pausing for 2 minutes (monitored by the iPhone) for personal prayer. We were at the section of Give US this day our daily bread – and saving all that was revealed in that phrase for another day – the personal prayer that was pouring out of me came in jumbled words.  Mourning. Sorrow. Pour laughter in. Replace the mourning. Trade in my sorrows. Fill US with the presence of the Show Bread, fill US with You! I couldn’t quite get the words out that was filling my mind, but I felt healing. I felt the mourning and sorrow being physically replaced.


That evening – we read Esther chapter 9 as a family – and I almost fainted when I read verse 22 -

As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.

And suddenly, the flash back to the time of prayer.  When I was feeling rest and release – the assurance that Christ would turn my days into good, and that feasting and Joy were possible.

And I was able to share with the hubby and the boys, all of my words for the day – (even more than written here) – and we were comforted for the days ahead. We watched A Night With the King in honor of the 13-15th Days of Adar, 2011 – the time of Purim – to remember when the Jews were delivered from evil, and they were turned from sorrow to joy, mourning into a good day.

I leave you with the last verse -


And Lord, haste the day
when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound,
and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul

It IS well With my Soul. I love a Savior
who loves me so intimately and deeply!

Freedom to Wrench a Gut Laughing


Do you see that little boy up there? Joy. Laughter. It is in the 30’s temperature wise, with rain that light and freezing. The wind – over on the right hand side of the screen there is blowing the dry particles of sand into our flesh like a sand blaster. The birds are attacking, and pulling the bread from his hands.

And he thinks it is the greatest day ever. Because he is with his dad on the beach. The laughter cuts high above the wind and rain. Fills the entire area. We are the only crazies on the beach.

It is times like this – when I can see growth of healing in me.  It has been about 5 weeks since my doctors appointment – and I can physically and emotionally feel – the growth, healing, change, increase. And yet, the freedom of laughter under attack – is not quite there.

I used to have a friend say that she liked it that I could laugh through anything. Now I smile on the inside more than gut wrenching laughter. I am glad that I am healing – that He is healing me – and I am glad that I am finally awake enough to want more.  Freedom. Freedom from the remaining heaviness that hovers over the day. It is not enough to be able to physically, prayerfully, emotionally rise above the heaviness – I want it gone.  And that’s powerful.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Questioning Church

This last topic. I have been pondering in my heart for weeks. I am having a hard time voicing it, even in my prayers.

I know many of you have struggled with "church". The Church Body. Denominations. Traditional? Contemporary? Saturday? Sunday?

I am pretty confident in my thoughts on denominations - if it is in the bible - I believe it. Simply. Fully. Sure I love a good Greek and Hebrew Study as well as the next academic geek - but simply, I believe the Holy Spirit will interpret scripture far more clearly than the Strong's dictionary or a lesson in history. If I need another book in order to understand what you are feeding me - then I turn off my brain.  If you need to tell me a personal experience to explain why the verse is relevant to your speech, I will ask for His guidance to hear truth.

So I can attend just about any congregation's weekly gathering. I may not stay and hang around if I constantly have to adjust what I have heard and line it up with truth to my boys - but I love the saints, and the gathering of those who have put their faith In Christ.

My ache in my heart stirs from the BUILDING aspect. And the choosing of a congregation.  In a town where there are so many wonderful choices, and the Spirit seems to be still on direction. And we visit these beautiful families gathering together. And they so want us to join with them.

And we are looking for some great church kids, similar ages to the boys, and have struggled to find any attending congregation. So we stop searching - and gather with a group of ladies. Whose love and joy of the Lord  is refreshing. Their outgoing comments encourage, and the Pastor gives admonishment and encouragement in the word.

And yet - I still feel the loss of church family - as even after a year - we have not created outside friendships, save for the one neighbor that attends there. Offers of fellowship outside of meeting dates are turned down.  Children do not come to befriend our boys. And I am left week after week feeling the lonliness in a crowd.  I hear from one sister - and she tells me of her jealousy that I came into the crowd, and the time that the other women give to me. I can't help but stare in silence. Because they say Hi to me for 10 seconds on Sunday - she is unable to give friendship?

And then the illness comes full force. It started in November, then worsened with a viral infection in December, and lasted through the first week of January, and slowly through to February we fought to leave the house.  And we are unable to attend on Sundays. Unable to attend anything.  And little did I know at that time that with my body shutting down, the depression was tightening around my heart and mind.

And no one came. And our house flooded. And our Bank Account Broke. And our stomachs were hungry. And no one came.  And our son walked to a nearby church.

And then they came. By txt and by email. Of questioning. of Shame. of Hurt. But no offers to pick up the kids, even after my urging, to bring them to fellowship.

And so - as we pulled out - we gravitated towards those who did come, and give food, and encouragement, and teaching - while we were at the bottom of the pit.

And then they came again, with hurt, and advice, and hurtful comments.

And now - as I am coming out of the fog that has been the last 3-4 months - I am seeing more clearly. And wondering about these buildings full of people wanting the approval that comes with joining their membership. And hurt around town, from those we didn't choose.

Do we have to congregate in the same building to a part of the same Body? Or to maintain friendships?

And today - it came to a head for me. And broke my heart. And it is the first time my heart has been full of sadness and the weight of pain and mourning.  As I approached two christian sisters today - and they shunned me. Openly. Before my children. Swiftly and quickly as I tried to embrace them after not seeing them for months.


Why?  Why do we have such a tiny little town full of so many tiny churches?  One church trying to build  a multimillion dollar monument to attract the rest of the town.  "When we get the millions, and build the building, then THEN we will be able to go into the community to find those who do not know Christ". Yep. Out of the young pastor's mouth.  Sigh.

What do you think? What part of Sunday Church is biblical to the Body of Christ? Sorrow. Sadness. and a Broken Heart for His Body.

He WILL give you more than you can handle -

I remember the conversation.  I was sitting at her kitchen table. A bold, confident Survivor. Of loss. Of a child, both parents, a spouse and all of her other children. All within a year. Several friends and family members to death, and several to moving away in bitterness. A church that turned their back on her. A community that forever will glace with eyes that wonder what the truth is, but will not bother to ask.
And I gave the Christianeze reply -

"Well. God must think you are pretty strong. Cause He will never give you more than you can handle."

I remember her eyes. Horror? Hurt? Betrayal? And she she told me of how she definately could not handle this. And that the Holy Spirit carries her through the days and nights, holding her up. And then she feels the pull of falling.

And now, months later, I ponder that phrase - and realize - That when I am weak that HE is strong. That HE wants to "handle it."

And yet - I feel the pull - of the lie from the enemy - that tells Christian Homeschool Moms what they are supposed to do - look like- teach - produce- creat- cook- clean - serve- all while facing life's challenges.

And anything less than Joy and Rejoicing in Everything - comes out looking like Sin and Failure - judgement from those who know you nap through afternoons and skip math several days a week because you don't have the mental capacity to explain least common denominators one more time.

So you push. Knowing you are "Supposed to Handle". Supposed to have joy.

And this week - I have a friend who has lost her husband for a couple of years to the Justice System.  Framed. Took a plea on the court's advice even though he maintained innocence. And then got the full sentence. And a friend who's marriage rips apart in a violent court struggle, while the husband flaunts his affairs and spending. Of a mother who's husband left her for a fling in town, and now has to earn a wage, learn a trade, live on her own. Another mother who left her husband, physical abuse, verbal abuse, and it took all the courage in her tiny little heart to tell, and leave. Moms who are dealing with the addictions of their spouses - in silence - and fear - and turmoil.

But we still proclaim it - after the heart is split open and the words are poured out. It is our response.

"Well, God must think you are strong. He would never give you more than you can handle."

And I heard from a friend this week - she has to leave the dream home that she thought she would raise her unborn child in, and continue to raise her son with her beloved that fights each day to earn a wage in this downturned economy. Her home has been snatched from her, along with her hope - and her outward joy. And those who come around her to pray - say Chin up. And She says - God must think I am pretty strong.

And that's when it all comes full circle to that conversation a few months ago - at the kitchen table - and I resolve to NEVER speak those words to another hurting sister EVER again.

And I stand on my soap box and scream BULL SHIT!!!! It's a lie. From the Devil. It's not in His Word. It's not the heart of Jesus. It is not the softness of the comforter of the Holy Spirit. It is B. S.

I looked it up this week. It's not even in the Bible, although memorized and spouted off as God's Holy Word.  The closest thing to line up - is that God will never tempt you beyond what you will be able to walk away. In the case that you can't say ' God made me sin ' .  He will always give a way out.

And having a weak humble heart and spirit is not sin. It is not a temptation to avoid.  Self loathing? Not asking God for healing? Pulling others in your mire? Sinking into the temptation to dwell in the pit instead of facing life? Maybe. But a day or week or month of quiet stillness. Resting in Him. Is not sin. 

Have you read the beatitudes lately? Blessed are the Poor in Spirit?  Not sinful are those who can not handle living in this world that is not our home.

And today, as fires rage across Oklahoma, and waves surge along the Pacific Coast and demolish Japan - my heart is heavy. Wondering how long we will wait - while He waits for his Bride to be ready for His return.

I may struggle with depression. My body is not in shape. I am tired. And my heart is sad tonight. But my hope? In His Return? Is how I get up in the morning.

Of Healing

I have felt my body go downhill physically of the last several months. I think the low point came in June - and has just not bulstered from there. My immune system seems to be on the brink of death - as we seem to catch every cold that has come to our county - when we have gone several years without a sniffle.

After bowing out of every planned activity from December to early February - including not really planning for Birthdays and Holidays - I sought out a doctor to help.

After a quick blood test - she told me several things that were wrong, and easily leveled out with simple medications.  She prayed for me. I told her of some of the personal things I was going through. She gave me an EKG to rule out heart attacks. She said I had classic signs of long term stress. Stress? I love my life. What was she talking about???

That was the first week of Febrary - and I am finally feeling like I'm seeing sunshine again. She said it would be 4-6 weeks for the Thyroid to stablize, the vitamins to soak in, and the body and mind to heal. Maybe longer for the latter.

I am learning more about the stress in my life. That has shut down my body, led to depression, and heart attack feeling anxiety. And through it all - trying to maintain a pollyanna persona - do it all -get-er done- cheerful pace. I have known for a few weeks that I wasn't fooling anyone. . . .

I have asked the Lord for healing.  Instantly the pain and swelling in my heart let down. The numbness to my hands receeded, the ache in my ribs went away. That alone cheered me up.

I have been praying to seek out what the "Stress" is that is out to destroy my life and limb.

Without sharing all of my personal details - I can say that most of it was internal. Even if it was a situation around me- it was the way I processed it.  If you are having trouble with Anxiety and Stress and Depression I'd rather talk about my journey out face to face, or email to email than here on the ponderings blog.

I will say that the most healing thing has been my own voice. Acknowledging what I can't do. If I had a broken arm, I'd be in a cast. If I had knee surgery I would have crutches. But with this brokeness, there is no sign or signal to those around me than my humble heart, willingness to share, and willingness to play the weaker part. My family has stepped up. I feel very loved and secure, and I have prayed for the guilt of "not doing" to vanish.

One thing I have experienced - is that my frustration and anger are quite diminished. Knock on wood - but pretty much entirely.  I think my struggle to maintain, brought in the hightened level of "almost over the edge" and the quick replies came from that. With this new mellow weak humble meek spirit, that I have received through going through healing, I have lost the bend up frustrations. I wonder if my spirit feels as those do who are hospital bed bound. At some point. You just have to realize. You can't move. Or Stir. And you have to rely on others for everything.

I never thougth I'd say this, but this is the season I am in. I think it is what the Lord has been trying to teach me sense He took me from my over active life in Central Oregon.  The strength, peace, assurance, renewed hope and love for others that has developed over me sitting down. I have no words.

I am praying for my friends that I know are going through the same thing - either through physical shut down, or outside circumstance, or mean people.  I pray for you. Your name is ever on my lips.

Heavy Heart

I was just thinking - of how I haven't shared my ponderings with you here in a while.

I have a few topics - but when I sit - they all get muddled together, into a huge whiney post.

Today my heart is saddended for those who have lost lives and property from the quake and water.

Our entire town feels like it is in the after shocks  - people were evacuated. You feel so relieved that your town wasn't hit - but then feel a bit guilty for those that were. 

I'll keep thinking - pondering - and sharing. But for now - prayers for our rescue workers and for those helping in Japan.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Let Go of the Rope

In years past - I have feared hitting rock bottom. In finance.  In struggles. With addictions. In self destruction. Especially Finance. I had said it many times, and heard others speak of it, with fear in their eyes. "What if we hit rock bottom?" "Wonder if they will have to hit rock bottom?" "I don't know what will happen if they hit rock bottom."

Know what we found out?  Rock bottom isn't that bad. Its the end of the fall. The Rock is firm. A person can stand back up. On steady feet. We've hit it a few times, and really? I fear it no longer.

Several times over the past year and a half, the Lord has been teaching me to put down my yoke, to take His. Mostly in relationships and activity. The Striving. To be a mom. A Homeschooler. A Church Member. A Group Member. A Friend. It has been the year of realizing I've been working too hard. I find myself slipping.

And thats when my wording changed. When Satan slips in. I start to feel that I'm at the end of my rope. Dangling. The struggle. Feeling so tired, yet gripping all the more firmly. Striving.

Ever wonder why the Lord allows us to get to the end of our rope before His answer comes so quickly? My mind swirls in circles as it reaches out to create the scenario that will save me. Finding none, my mind starts to turn off. Shut down. I feel myself slipping from the rope.

Finally, my stubborn fingers let go.

That's when I find my feet.

Back on the Rock.