Surrender….Not just a Cheap Trick song.

So, this is a big share for me. I have alluded a few times about a difficult relationship and my failed attempts at reconcilliation. Today I had a big DING! go off in my head. (again?) I had a few little dings pinging around here and there about it but today the big DING! hit me.

Dang! I AM a human being!

You see, my first mistake has been the fact that I believed that the descriptive word “difficult” or “strained” or “bad” that I put in front of the word “relationship” was a SHARED belief between me and the other party.

My second mistake…maybe there is no heirarchy or order of mistakes…my OTHER mistake was my timing in my efforts to “repair” or “reconcile” this relationship. Just because I thought the timing seemed appropriate does not mean that it WAS APPROPRIATE for that other person. Looking back at all this, that person has every reason to think, say, believe that I am a stark raving LUNATIC. That person did not know that I had been having “nudges” I believed were urging me to move toward “fixing” the relationship. For all I know, that person was able to put the past in the past and I am digging up corpses. To that person I look like an insane mechanic that is changing the oil on a car that just had it’s oil changed and in the process replaces oil with transmission fluid and therefore creates a NEW (and/or worse) problem.

My big DING! though…this is what hit me…maybe all this time, these “nudges” I was feeling were more about NOT taking action. These nudges were more about me realizing that this is beyond MY control and that I should turn it over to GOD and pray….”Search me O God”…SURRENDER. This is bigger than me. I do not have the power to change anything or anyone other than ME.

Dang it.

(Trite cliche: Hindsight is 20/20.) Sometimes in my efforts to “be (or do) better” I need to slow down and examine the possible outcomes. (Glib response: Haste makes waste)

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” ~ Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)

“Investigate my life, O God,

find out everything about me;

Cross-examine and test me,

get a clear picture of what I’m about;

See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong-

then guide me on the road to eternal life.”

~ Psalm 139:23-24 (MSG)

…To Return to Facebook…or not.

It has been over 40 days. I “signed off” the Monday before Lent began and it is now the Wednesday after Easter.

I don’t miss it.
I have had such a nice time not being there.
I have reordered my life without the distraction. I know, I am a grown up and I should be able to do both/and – to that I say “WHATEVER”
Obviously, I am not that responsible.
Let me tell you what I realized. Before my Facebook vacation, the first thing I did in the morning was get up with the alarm and then get Paige up for school and while she was showering and getting ready…I was on Facebook seeing what everyone was up to and when she was done about a half hour later I would hit the shower and get ready.
I replaced that time – with reading my Bible. I fell in love with that pretty fast. Even so that now on the weekends it is the first thing I do in the morning. I have read Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts and the first 4 chapters of Romans. Quite often, I take a full hour of it because really, I do not have to look pretty to go out to the bus stop with Paige.
I also feel like I am spending more time with Dave and the girls. Well, actually, physically it is the same amount of time, just more present.
I have also had more time to read other things. It has been awesome.
So, what am I to do?
#1 I am deleting my Twitter account. Don’t need it.
#2 I am going to go on Facebook and post this message.
“I don’t hang out here very often anymore. I won’t be updating my status. If you want to see what is going on in my life go to my blog. If you really are my friend, you have my number, give me a call to chat or maybe we can do lunch.”

the jerk

I am starting to wonder how much the devil listens to the “little details” of our lives.

During the planning of a large event here at the church, I felt like the lives of we women playing significant roles in pulling off this event were either under attack or being over taxed. I won’t get into those details here…don’t want the jerk (that is what I call, Satan, Lucifer, the devil…whatever…I call him the jerk – no capital letters.) reveling in any glory.

However, I will share this, since I am the only one this is affecting. The other day my husband was talking about an issue I have with one of my elbows and I told him that it has not been bothering me in the way that it had in the past. It used to hurt really bad after I had been sleeping and then just ache, all the time and if I used it for anything it went from ache to PAIN. Well, for a few months, I had not felt that pain after waking or the ache unless I really overused it, and I had learned how to use it to a certain point and then let it rest.

Well, let me tell you, no sooner had I said those words…the next evening I awoke from a little early evening nap with my elbow in excruciatingly familiar pain and since then…the old ache is back and it makes me wonder…

the jerk

Just venting.

1 Peter 5: 8-11 (Message) Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.

This was said about me on Facebook:

“Cant stand “church going “, hypocritical people who judge those before they know them!! Remember god does not judge so neither should you!!!”

Why does this bother me?
I think it is because, I feel like I make Christ followers look bad to this person…and in turn to all this person’s friends on Facebook.
Which in turn, is a poor reflection on Christ. (and He obviously had nothing to do with THIS!)

I know this person is lashing out at me, but it made me evaluate my action or statement that caused this person’s reaction. First, it had nothing to do with the person who made the comment, this person’s outrage is on behalf of someone else and is part of a long line of miscommunication that I went to the source that same day and sorted out. Second, no, we as human beings are not to judge someones heart or character. That is the job of God alone. However, as human beings we are allowed to judge behaviors and to have opinions. Without that, there would be pedophiles, rapist, murders, and thieves running about willy nilly as well as generation upon generation of unruly and undisciplined children.

On top of that, “the best predictor of future behavior, is past behavior”

And so in the wake of a very trying couple of weeks I find this just exhausting.

People are having a hard time accepting that I am a Christ follower.
Maybe they CAN accept that but seem to think that now that I follow Christ that I am no longer supposed to act like a human being.

I am not perfect.
I still cuss (GASP!)
I still have fears
I still drink (FOR SHAME!)
…I did quit smoking…but that was for purely selfish reasons…like wanting to live longer.

I am sure there are a plethora of things that I still do that are not Christ-like…

…but I am not Christ.

I am human…and as such, throughout my day I find myself turning to God in a constantly ongoing conversation where I ask his opinion and …don’t hear an answer right away…or ask forgiveness (and receive it) for a comment or even a thought that was just inappropriate, or an action that I should not have done, or for hesitating when He presents me an opportunity to further His kingdom and it turns into an opportunity lost. However, this relationship I have with Him, also fuels me to get over myself and do what I can when I feel it is what He wants me to do. Learning to tell the difference between what He wants and what I think He wants…that can be a challenge but it takes an investment of time to learn the intricate and quiet language that he uses to reach each of us in our own unique ways. I am investing in that. For the record, I feel that even after 5 or 6 years now, I am still in freshman classes….first semester.

My love for Him, and His for me has opened up this line of constant communication that I cannot imagine my life without. It has brought about me a sense of peace that is almost always present but there is still a part of me that gets riled up when I begin to feel persecuted…such as the comment made above. It usually happens when my past collides with my present. There is a lot more history behind that comment than the comment alone. I have to remember that.

The God sighting in all of this was a comment made back to that person on Facebook:

“God does judge, but he and he alone has that responsibility.I love the Lord, and so I love people too.God said ” love thy neighbor as you love yourself”. I hope this helps you…. I don’t know what you are dealing with , but know that you don’t have to worry about what people think about you, but what God knows about you.”

The door to forgiving

In this journey to end my relationship with FEAR and ANGER there has been a huge discovery. First let me say that I am not on this journey alone, I have a counselor, having an objective perspective from someone who does not know all the people involved in my past hurts is very helpful. Not to mention a husband who loves me, that may not understand all of this but is okay with my travel plans.

My first milestone was the realization that I am human and having feelings and addressing them is OKAY. (I tell people this all the time…but did not realize I was not applying it to myself) If you ignore or suppress or try to control your feelings it really creates a bottleneck and eventually those feelings will find a way to be dealt with. I had heard this before, but did not really HEAR it, if you know what I mean.

So my latest discovery is that my Fear and Anger were unaddressed and misplaced. I had earlier realized some of what I was afraid of and what I was angry about BUT the WHO behind the WHAT was misdirected. After my last blog post I had so much emotion rolling around inside of me that I ended up leaving an important meeting because I was making myself SICK trying to not cry…so I left (discreetly) and went and typed a 5 page “This is what is p!$$!ng me off” paper. I even used the F-word in it once and did not edit it out. It was very cathartic but afterwards I felt like a lunatic. It did not solve the problem. I wanted so very badly to send it to the people that I had been typing about but all that would do is cause them unneccessary pain, or anger and me guilt for causing it. So I emailed it to the guide on my journey and to a trusted friend who has been through the process and knows my story so as to get some perspective. My guide sat down with me the next day and noticed a pattern in my writing…I did not want to BLAME the people who hurt me for my hurt or for the dysfunction they created. I did not understand the ripple affect that not BLAMING them had created within my own household. My wise counselor pointed out that if I am not appropriately placing BLAME for these things then I am likely taking on the responsiblity for everything myself.

Yep, that sounds about right. I was raised to take responsibility for myself and not to be a tattle tale. Pouring my guts out to a counselor feels a lot like shirking responsibility and tattling. It is REALLY uncomfortable. The whole process is exhausting. Sometimes the need for change is very strong, but you cannot open the door for change if you are sitting comfortably on the couch of your own misery. So, I made the decision to get my lazy arse up off the couch and open the door.

I was still afraid, I thought that placing BLAME on those who hurt me would make me even angrier at them. My anger toward these people was never really obvious to them, or anyone really, it was just a heavy emotion inside my heart that I let build and build over time. Outwardly, no one knew…even I did not really KNOW…I just felt a shift in the tectonic plates of the relationship…so slight and so slow that if it had been an earthquake, it would not have registered on the Richter Scale and would have been dismissed as a vehicle passing by or a strong wind.

My desire for Change was stronger than my Fear. I opened the door, I made it happen. I let myself place BLAME for the hurt. Yes…I was angry. Even though there were years of anger there that I thought would just flood over me and I would possibly wallow or drown in it…God was right there with me. He did not stop the flood, but He held me up and when I thought I could not breathe He handed me an oxgen tank. When you have that kind of support…standing in the middle of a tidal wave is not quite as scary.

Once the wave passed and I could see what was on the other side of the door, I was amazed. Funny how, I did not realize that by not opening that door, I was barricading myself from all the paths and doorways on the other side of it. I did not realize that by not blaming I was blocking the way to FORGIVING.

The logical part of me knew that my hurt was not my fault. I took on the responsibility for my feelings but in my core I knew it was not mine to take and so why would I need to forgive myself for something I did not do. Even if it is appropriate to BLAME oneself for something I think it is harder to FORGIVE ourselves than it is for us to FORGIVE others. It is hundreds of times harder when it is misplaced BLAME. Forgiveness may not be on the other side of that door…it is in the wrong place. Is it possible that you have to keep walking through poorly placed doors until you find the right one. I think so. Is it worth it?

I found the right door quickly, maybe not everyone does, but I feel the payoff of FORGIVING and I think so.

My journey is not over, but I think I am going to hang out on this path for a little while.

Near to You

Have you ever broken up with someone and felt the pain and grief of that loss?

Have you ever considered that you can have a committed relationship to unhealthy feelings and thoughts?

Well, I hadn’t…until recently. I won’t give my emotions a fun name like “Mr. I.M. Steamy” so I am simply going to call them what they are: Fear and Anger. So, i guess I was double dipping, playing the field. Couldn’t commit to either of them…that should have been a sign that BOTH of them had to go. At times Fear and Anger are healthy and appropriate, but I apparently am having a secret affair with them, and it is an unhealthy affair.

Today, I broke up with them.

On my way to work. I gave them up to God, and cried like crazy while driving. I expect that like most unhealthy relationships, I will attempt to revisit Fear and Anger…they have been a part of me for so long that it is gonna take some time to move on, but I am going to have to continue to refocus on God and trust that He will steer me in the right direction.

Music has always been a way for me to connect with God, and this song was first to play on the CD that I had in the van…and WOW did it really connect. So, this is the song that I played and sang over and over all the way to work and I was singing it to God. My words to Him, played out in a song by A Fine Frenzy, it is called Near to You. This particular video really shows how my Fear and Anger divides, discolors, and distorts my Focus away from what really matters.

Odds are that I will have to go through this process more than once, like a bad habit. At least now I am aware of it.

I know that I am better near to Him. It’s a start.

Clouded judgement

In a conversation regarding a conversation regarding a conversation, a wise counselor (person 1) spoke about how she pointed out that the person she was speaking to (person 2) did not hear or acknowledge the other persons (person 3) pain in a conversation that she (person 2) had with that person (person 3). It was a profound moment for me.

That person (person 2) had just shared the same conversation with me and I had agreed with her perspective…I did not feed it, but I felt that she had done a good job in handling the situation. I forgot that there were TWO people involved. TWO people that I cared about. TWO people that God loves and I was not thinking of that other person’s (person 3) pain either because I had not been in proximity to their pain.

I have been trying very hard to be neutral and available to both of these people because they are both my friend, but when it came down to it, because person 2 had been sharing more of her pain and struggle with me than person 3 (who has not contacted me in sometime other than to forward a silly text) my judgment had become clouded and I forgot how much he matters and rather than providing her (person 2) with a suggestion that would soften her heart and even segue toward forgiveness, I gave her kudos for recognizing her boundary issues.

Imagine my palm slapping my forehead.

Dogs can write? (long post warning)

I am going to take a risk here. I admit that I just read a book (in under an hour) that was “written” by a dog. Not only is it a dog, but a deceased dog. However, because it happens to be the deceased dog of one of my favorite authors – I read it. Some of you are thinking this is immature and some of you might take my suggestion to read the book and think that IT is immature…your opinion. I am okay with that. On occasion I can be immature. I know this about me. “it is what it is” and you would find that quote even funnier if you read this book. So here it is:

So, all of that to say…READ this book. BUY this book. All the proceeds go to Canine Companions for Independence.

One thing I love about this book is the fact that it included some text from a book actually written by Dean Koontz that I found very cool and I will share that here…but this reflects Dean Koontz and is from his book Odd Hours but I digress – here is the excerpt from Odd Hours reprinted in this book:

“Grief can destroy you – or focus you

You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone.

Or you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn’t allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it.

But when it’s over and you’re alone, you begin to see it wasn’t just a movie and a dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes together or worrying over a high electric bill. Instead, it was everything, it was the why of life, every event and precious moment of it.

The answer to the mystery of existence is the love you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deeper beauty of it, to the sanctity of it, you can’t get off your knees for a long time; you’re driven to your knees not by the weight of the loss but by gratitude for what preceded the loss.

And the ache is always there, but one day not the emptiness, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life.

I want that read aloud at my funeral (in the distant future) and handed to everyone on a laminated card as they leave the service.


Bad days.

So, I have not had a seriously bad day in a really long time. I actually forgot what it was like to have one of those days when one thing happens and another thing follows and another little bad thing and then just something that you expected but hate happens on top of it. Well yesterday was that day. Details will not really be following. We all have those days in our life but I am writing because really, I have been blessed and it has been a while.

Every few minutes when I am dealing with the details of say…the auto accident Breanna had yesterday…I am reminded of the bad day and I have to say…God…just get me through this. Just get me through this one moment. I feel like I am saying it alot today. Every once in awhile I think my life really SUCKS but then you know what…it doesn’t. I am just emotionally at a place where I am a bit on edge so it amplifies everything I experience. I just have to keep talking to God. I know he won’t give me more than I can handle.

I will say that in the midst of it all, it was great being able to spend 90 minutes with a group of ladies that I love, who let me share and made me laugh. We need to have those friends who will lift you up when you feel down. God never intended for us to go through life alone.