Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dead Woman Walking

Two months have passed since my last blog.  Two. Very. Long. Months (years?).  I think I have developed racer's fatigue...I have been feeling drained, dull.... well, dead.  This is not suppose to be the normal state of a growing Christian; as the word"growth" implies, forward momentum should be occurring only it doesn't seem like I'm going in any direction but around the same ole circle.  I've come to the conclusion that perhaps this is due to the length of time I've been struggling along with ever worsening health problems.  Afterall, 27 years is a L O N G time when you're talking pain of any kind.  Some suffering sorta blows into your life , then blows your life up and blows on out of your life.  Other times it just never ends.  Years go by and a dead marriage never revives or that child never straightens out or a sick loved one becomes bed-ridden, or...well, you can fill in the blank.

With this dead feeling persisting, I began to call to my Father for help, sending up flare prayers twenty times a day asking for a renewed mind or energy of spirit.  Eventually, He brought to mind a very well-worn verse to my attention through my mom: Romans 12:1.  The idea of being a "living sacrifice" was not a new one to me, of course, but I had always glibly attributed that concept as just the normal status of being born again and growing in the Lord.  I don't think that anymore. The word "living" means exactly the same thing in Greek (what the apostle Paul spoke) as it does in English, as I discovered looking the word up in Strong's Concordance.  But "sacrifice" had additional implied meanings (like the word "love" in English can mean loving hot dogs all the way to loving God; it depends on the context).  In Greek "sacrifice"can also mean "victim".  Bingo!  That really caught my attention!

Being a victin is EXACTLY how I sometimes felt inside.  A victim of bad genes or a victim of my insurance company or, well, a victim of God.  Afterall, people's suffering and pain ends for thousands every day... why not me I would wonder?  I knew this was incorrect and immature spiritual thinking, for as I have often written, God loves me and is in control of it all so why worry about it.  But somehow, I could not get my perspective adjusted; I was just out of gas.  OK, God was in control, but what was the vital, daily reason behind the awful daily grind of suffering?  The spark of living wasn't even a dying ember... I felt as useful as a dead woman, as vibrant as last decade's hit song, as fresh as trash!!!

But  suddenly I  realized that God meant for me to be consumed by the grind, destroyed by the suffering...a living dead woman!!  By allowing myself to be a victim of the Lord has created a deep shift in my thinking.  No wonder I felt destroyed and victimized...I WAS a VICTIM OF GOD, a woman whose dreams were dead, my career over, my usefulness non-existent.  Alive but dead!!!  You see, I now no longer think of my empty pain- filled, boring useless days as nothing?  I am beginning to understand  (a little) that DEAD is ALIVE to God.  I don't have a clue how my reduced life has any spiritual impact but God does.  He wants me to see my suffering as an avenue of death creating "death" creating spiritual momentum as I CHOOSE to present myself to God as a WALKING DEAD WOMAN. Wow!!  That is a re-energizing concept.  So now when my pain meds aren't remotely working and I want to die...I just smile (sorta), because I already am!  And knowing my God, this concept will create more life bubbling up in me that only He can give!  Will I suffer less?  No.  Will it be easier?  No.  But I have a sneaking suspicion that being a victim of God's is going to be one exciting way to die!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Storm Damage

A few weeks ago, the last remnants of the latest Gulf hurricane came through.  It didn't bring any severe weather to the Memphis area, but it did bring a lot of rain and strong winds.  When it finally blew on, I noticed all the damage the winds had done to my roses...petals everywhere.  Also, a potted hibiscus that was covered in blooms had been blown over and rolled to a stop several feet from its place on the patio.  The was extensive bloom carnage and I was upset!  These beautiful blooming plants are around our pool & patio area, over which my kitchen window looks.  I've spent many pleasant moments gazing at the riot of color all the many various plants make while rising dishes and loading the dishwasher.  But now after the storm, all I saw was RED!!!!  I fussed and fumed over the destructiveness of the storm and hoped my garden would rally before the Autumn temps came.

To my surprise, not only did they rally, but within a week or so, they looked even better then they had before the storm.  It reminded me of the great ice storm that hit the Southeast in the early '90's.  Our three year old weeping willow on the corner of our yard was so weighted with ice that it was literally uprooted.  The whole neighborhood grieved its sure demise.  We even had people we didn't know stop their car and holler their condolences over the beautiful baby tree.  After the ice melted, my husband walked out to survey the damage up close.  He told me that it was about 85% uprooted and was going to dig it out, cut it up and dump it.  But I begged him to give it a chance since Spring was just a few weeks away.  Well, he wasn't thrilled with the idea, but he and a friend worked all Saturday trying to get it upright and firmly staked in the ground.  And would you believe it not only lived, but grew more lush and more quickly than it ever had.  It was a joy to the neighbors and a wonder to me. To this day, over 15 years later, someone will occasionally comment on that winter and the miracle weeping willow.

Well, of course, to you gardeners out there, these stories are not surprising.  Plants thrive if "wounded" correctly...commonly know as "pruning"!!  Are you seeing the marvelous lesson the Heavenly Father gave us through His plants?  Are you being pruned by some sudden and/or violent storm in your life?  Are you, like I was, seeing red and inwardly hoping to just survive..
forget about thrive, through the storm damage?  Take heart....our Father is a master planter.  He is pruning us in order for a more vibrant, healthy person to develop!  Just endure the  "dead-heading"!  He will create beauty out of the storm damage!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Changing Times

I like change...well, some of them, anyway.  I like the change of season; I like to change my furniture arrangement or my hair color.  But I definitely DO NOT like any change that stresses me out or upsets my plans...who does?  Recently our two sons moved out of our home into an apartment.  I like their roommate.  I like their apartment.  I do not like their absence.  In fact, I thought I'd never get over crying every night I passed their former (empty) room.  We see them every week and often talk on the phone but it's not the same as having them here.  I found it ironic that this change has created two very different reactions.  I'm sad...they are THRILLED!!!!  They are reveling in their new status and I am wallowing in longing for the way it used to be.  This is a phenomenon I've observed many times.  A divorce often results in one very ecstatic "free" person and one that is totally devastated.  One person receives a promotion while another feels "passed over".  There is a strange dynamic to most changes...two polar opposite sides.  It's a ball when a change is positive...but what about when you are on the down side of the situation?  How do you cope with the pain that change often brings?

I recently posted on my FB status that God is more interested in changing us than He is in changing our environment.  Perhaps that's the real reason behind sudden, unexpected negative changes...God is trying to CHANGE US.  You know the old saying, "no pain, no gain"?  Could it be that a fundamental way to deal with change is to see God's hand in it?  I know that this is paramount...GOD IS IN CONTROL.  When life is going from bad to worse, I am learning to look for the area this change is most affecting in ME.  My husband and I are very close, but we're drawing even closer now that we are back to being just a couple.  When I realized this, the tears over my empty nest began to dry up.  I am seeing a very positive aspect to what felt like a catastrophe to me.  If only I could immediately see the wonderful thing God intends when the change hits me, I might be calmer  during the change.  But, that would not encourage faith, would it?  When the bills are passed due and a lay-off occurs and panic sets in...use that panic as an indicator that God is at work IN you by changing things around you.  Exercise faith in God that He hasn't lost track of your life, even when it really looks like He has.  Looking back over my life, I can clearly see what a total waste of time panic is and how pointless it is to resist or resent change.  Instead, let's purpose to learn to embrace it and leave the outcome to the Lord...after all...HE NEVER CHANGES and that's a fact that will never change!!!! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dark Times

As you probably have noticed, instead of "blogging" twice a month, I'm posting about every six weeks. It saddens me to find myself falling more silent these past months, but there is a reason...the suffering has increased. I realized a few weeks ago that I have been sick about half of my life, and barring a miracle, will leave this world in an ever weakening body. I know many of you are suffering intensely; trudging on through a maze of difficult situations. Some have been enduring for years and years...finding no end in sight. But whether the trial is very long or over in a few horrendous weeks, the suffering ebbs and flows. When the fire is burning hotter, as it is in my life right now, one thing is becoming clearer and is a SOLITARY JOURNEY.

Each experience is as unique as a fingerprint. For example, two women living through the dying moments of a marriage can relate to many common experiences: fear of loneliness, pain of rejection, the false guilt, etc. But each woman will react to various aspects of her experience very differently. One may feel adandoned while the other will be relieved the marriage is over. In my case of illness...all understand the frustration of dealing with doctors/insurance/drug companies, etc, but while one may react in fear, the other reacts in rage. I find these subtle differences can create a real feeling of isolation. Nobody really "gets it". No one can really relate to my struggle intimately, not even my very loving family I am blessed with. I find these subtle differences make a huge difference when trying to communicate what I so desperately need sometimes. For example, sometimes we may just need to be listened to but find ourselves in a conversation trying to explain ourselves to the very person who supposedly knows us well. This can dramatically increase suffering. Depression, a very common problem when in heaviness of the heart, can be amplified by feelings of solitude or aloneness. And who wants suffering to increase?

Right now, my condition is worsening (as most chronic illnesses do ). This has thrown my entire family into a kind of tailspin as we each try to absorb the changes and what they mean about my future. You may find yourself in a worsening stage of your trial...and everyone around you is reacting differently to this intensening of the suffering. This is a very, very critical time. In fact, it is during these worsening stages that all may be lost if you don't CONSTANTLY keep your focus on one thing and NOTHING ELSE. This essential thing is the absolute and total LOVE your Heavenly Father has for you. He, and no one else, completely understands the great yawning crevices of fear or loneliness or longing that can torment you. He, and none other, knows the cry of your heart as all about you lies destruction. He alone is the healer of broken lives, broken hearts and broken dreams. The Bible tells us that He both wounds us and heals us. That only He knows the deepest need of your heart and has the way to relief. Yes, I cry to my loved ones...but I'm learning that there is only one ear I need to cry to...the ear of the Lord. So as I pass through these worsening times, don't think my lack of writing means I'm barely coping...rather, let it be a testament to the fact that right now, as it is very, very hard.....I whisper only to Him.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Down But Not Out!

I must say, life at its best , IS HARD!!! Sometimes, it seems that no amount of trying changes a thing. I am definitely weary, worn-out, tired-of-the-struggle and just plain wiped-out. There's a book entitled, "Where does a Mother go to Resign". Well, I want to know, where do I go to resign from everything!!!! Ever feel like me? I know it!s not too cool to admit those feelings, especially in Christian circles. Afterall, we are supposed to be humming along in our walk with the Lord, but I think I have stopped walking or even crawling for that matter. All I can do... is stand. Fortunately, there is a verse in the Word that tells me that standing is exactly what we are to do when we have done everything else. To stand means to be in an upright retreating or forward movement. Just holding...the...ground. Do you realize how extremely important it is in warfare to hold your ground? It means that you are not giving up ground that was hard won in the first place. That you are in a position to move forward when the time is right and the General says to move on. Standing ground in war also means that you are in a position to receive supplies to aid your next assault on the enemy. I believe that Christians are involved in spiritual warfare at all times. But when you are suffering pain (or have been wounded), you are truly engaging the enemy. He is wiley, and will hit hard when you're hurting...he wants us to retreat in fear or revolt in open rebellion against our Commander. But when you have fired your last round of ammo, and it seems certain that you will fail...KNOW that STANDING is an aggressive our Enemy hates, because it represents that we are still in the fight...still hanging on, even though we wish it was just over!!! Right now, I am in a very tough fight as I know many of you are. Stand, fellow warrior!!! See the importance of standing. Don't believe the lie that it indicates quitting or failing. It doesn't! Stand on the rock of God's unfailing love and care, on His absolute knowledge of the entire war and His never ending wisdom as He leads us through this long, hard fight. Remember, He walked a very painful road on Earth, and He stood His ground to the very end, and He will do the same in us!! PRESS ON!!! S T A N D!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012


I feel I need to update my readers (and I am really glad you stop in and read!) since it has been quite a while since my last post. My on-going health issues have taken a sharp downward path that,frankly, caught me by surprise. I have been in a leg cast for 5 months. It has been AWFUL! My doctor made it abundantly clear that I was not to walk at all except to the bathroom and into his office...with a walker. Enforced sitting is a marches onward as I am frozen in time. My recliner and I are one unit now....not a joyful union. My family has been great, but they have had to reorganize their schedule so I am never alone and take care of my every need. Lots of tears of frustration. I mean, I have my "big-girl" pants on as high as I can pull them and I still act like a blubbering idiot! This cast, by the way, is an all-out effort to save my foot...a very, very scary thought. Next I will be wearing a metal brace and those very attractive orthopedic shoes for a year!! I also got the jolt of my life when my neurologist told me that I could very well end up catherized, on a feeding tube and ventilated eventually if my ivIg infusions don't work. Of course, my insurance company chooses this time to balk at providing those infusions ( $20,000 per month). More blubbering ensues. So, I have been overwhelmed, scared to death, and quite literally speechless at times. I have learned when life swamps your boat, all you focus on is bailing for your life! And that's what I have been doing these last few months...bailing. I will say, though, that I can attest with absolute assurance that Gid is indeed the "high tower" He is called repeatedly in the Psalms...a book I have been hanging at out some lately. Without Him to turn to in the periods of pure terror these last months, I KNOW I would have had a nervous breakdown. Is the outlook still grim? Very. Am I still freaked-out? Absolutely! But when I am, I run to Him, cry to Him and tell my Father all about it. And you know what? Peace emerges and I am calm again until the next big wave swamps me. It's impossible to choose the trial. But we do choose how we go through it. I can choose to have a nervous breakdown or I can choose His peace amid the hurricane. I choose His peace. What about you?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tidbits to Ponder

1. God is FAR more interested in our character than in our comfort. 2. God is more interested in what I am than in what I do. That is why we are called human beings not human doings. 3. Happy moments...PRAISE GOD Difficult moments...SEEK GOD Quiet moments...WORSHIP GOD Painful moments...TRUST GOD Every moment...THANK GOD 4. You can gaze at God and glance at the problem OR you can glance at God and gaze at the problem. Expect vastly different results. 5. Saints are not people who necessarily have light from God. They are really nothings through whom shines God's power to endure, to hope and to love the worst of people in the worst of circumstances.