revelations

Where have I been? Well, everytime I feel like I really have this whole thing (life) figured out I am immediately and squarely slapped and awakened from that delusion.

My thoughts have been consumed lately with frustration. Frustration with someone I love so very deeply. That has been compounded because I felt that God is not offering the guidance I need (of course I really mean the guidance the other person needs). I keep dwelling in that frustration and the real thought, when all the niceites are peeled away, is Lord please change them. Make them more of what I need.

I have not been able to figure out where I am going wrong and why I can't seem to find my way out of this maze of emotions. Until right now, 3:30 am. I have prayed and asked for guidance, and I believe I have indeed received it. Praise be to God. I know it is the Holy Spirit because so often my understandings or answers to prayers come in this way, in the middle of the night. Maybe it's because in that quiet still, (my sleep) it's the first moment God has a minute to get a word in edgewise? Maybe it's the first moment my thoughts are released and I am not so hellbent on believing I have bits and pieces of this figured out already? I don't know, but many time throughout many battles in my life the Holy Spirit has come to me in this way, in the quiet and the darkness of the night and guided my soul into the light of the morning with the scriptures.

So what has the Holy Spirit said to me? I am up, reading scriptures, praying and writing as I try to make sense of ALL that I know has been re-revealed to me this night, this morning.

I should share that I tried to go back to sleep when this began. I thought, "Oh that's a nice thought, I should really think about that more tomorrow" But I couldn't sleep. I had to go to the bathroom. I did. Still couldn't sleep. Then I was thristy. Got a drink, still couldn't sleep. Finally I realized that my guardians were not about to allow me to sleep through this moment. So before they gave me cravings for bacon and eggs I submitted and here I am.

This was the vision, or image if you will that woke me and began this, it was a doorstep a threshhold, and a door. It symbolized a visitor, a guest, an entry, a beginning. My frustration is on the other side of the door. Each time this emotion, this instance, this same battle presents itself, it is there waiting at the threshhold to be invited in. And each time I welcome it with open arms into my home, into my life, into my heart, into my peace, into my family. (Now the imagery of thresholds, as it applies to marriage, and being carried over them is fascinating but will be left for another night)

That visitor is small, and unassuming but that visitor is destruction. Like a termite or a single cancer cell that goes about wreaking havoc on what is good and healthy and strong, I invite in the destruction and allow it to make itself at home. It may seem mellow dramatic, but when I trace back all that goes wrong in a moment, a week, a weekend, or even a year, it goes back to allowing that unholy visitor or visitors, into my life.

So I ask in my prayer how can I can I recognize it, how can I know that it is destruction calling? How will I know not to let it in? It is actually simple. Through the honest examination of me.

The doorway is in my very heart. When life, or some person does something it is simply a knock at the door of my compassion. It is a caller needing/waiting/challenging the Christ within me. But instead of meeting the caller with the compassion of Christ which would prevent the destruction from stepping foot into my heart and home, I push Christ aside and choose to face it myself. In my own arrogance I stand unarmed, incapable, of facing this intruder. I am not as acquainted with the enemy (the enemy being evil and all that radiates from him) as Christ is. Christ not only recognizes him immediately in whatever his disguise, but He has defeated him!! he has conquered him. Yet I push Him aside to greet the intruder and because I do not recoginze the destruction or think I can handle it, so I invite him in. Then I set about being upset with the ones I love and with Christ for not giving me peace, joy, and fixing all my woes. It seems fairly foolish now that I see it.

This would be a simple fix if the destruction rang the door bell and announced itself like the Avon lady, "good evening, destruction calling, may I come in?" But the enemy, the master of lies would never be so forthright. Oh no! The voice I let in says, " You are right to be angry, you are right and they are wrong." Now that is something I can embrace, come on in! That thought leads to righteous indignation, and to a battle, an argument, saying things that shouldn't be said, bringing up the past, and on and on. buh bye peace, hellooo frustration.

Sometimes the caller says things that go something like, "Well are you just gonna lay down and be walked on?" " Have you no standards for how you will allow yourself to be treated?" " Where is your pride?" " You don't deserve this."

By the standards of the world all those things would be valid questions to ask. Maybe it's why they feel so natural, because I have made myself a little too at home here. But my true home is a heavenly home with my Father, and He calls me to this-

"Love is patient;love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. it does not insist on it's own way;It is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends." 1 Cor 13:4-8

He doesn't say love is patient when you are right, or be rude when the person has it coming. He doesn't say insist on your own way if you are reallly, really sure and your friends agree, that you are right. It does not say sometimes it's okay to be irritable. It doesn't say hope a little, endure a little...you get the idea.

As I meditate on those few passages, I am shamed. I am ashamed to my very core. That is a commandment that I break every day of my life. Everyday. A dozen times a day.

Everyday God gives me opportunities to practice this thing He calls me to. He allows the enemy to knock on my door. I can get out of the way and let the love of Christ within me, the love that IS fully capapble of being patient, kind, and enduring all things answer or I can answer with my puny bag of useless tricks and manage as best as I can. Is it any wonder that this isn't working? Really? Should I be surprised?

No.

Now if I fail on this simple task all day, everyday, how dare I be indignant at the failures and shortcomings of others? Who am I to throw stones really? Are they wrong? Maybe. But am I so arrogant to think I can change them or worse that Christ can't? That somehow I need to get in there and tell them like it is and THEN, oh then they will see the light. Hmmm, how's that workin' ?

When I do step back to consider the shortcomings in others, which to do so I see now is to indulge in utter arrogance, but this is where the Holy Spirit has led me so stay with me here...

When i do step back and look for a moment. What part of the whole do I even really know? I see how this person affects me and my life. But maybe just maybe, the part I see is only the top of an ant hill. The real context, the real work, the real turmoil is buried deep beneath the surface. It is beyond my understanding, my ability to repair, MY capacity to love. But it is not beyond Christ's. And that love lives within me, if I would only call on it, call on Him.

We all have a cross to bear, a brokencontraption to drive through this life. We live in a fallen world. I don't, no, I can't even begin to know what someone else's true cross is. I only see the product of it, the top of the ant hill. I pray for them but only for what they can change that will make me feel better and not for the deep sorrow or struggle that only Christ knows.

If whatever action, word, behavior, or injustice is committed against me (real or imagined) were committed say because the person had a brain tumor and their consciousness was altered, would I be angry? If I were I would get over it fairly quickly because they can't do any better, they can't help it. If they had an illness would I truly hold their feet to the fire for words or actions that sting? No.

Yet I do so everyday when I have absolutely no understanding of what their true, deep struggle is, what demon, what illness, what caller of their own they are battling. How deflated my arguments and protestations seem in that light.

But what about boundaries, does that mean live with and endure anything, be tolerant without limits? Yes and no. Yes in that I don't have to allow these moments to turn my heart cold. I don't have to lose sight of love, patience, and kindness. But no in that I do not have to entertain the enemy someone else lets in through their doorway into my life. I can excuse myself. I can go to another place, a room, a house, a park, whatever. I can choose not to engage in the battle. I can have a boundary that isn't enforced by anger and force but by love and prayer.

I wonder what would happen if when someone hurt us we immediately dropped then and there to our knees and prayed for them and for ourselves for comfort? What on earth would they think?? Would it defuse the situation or inflame it? If it weren't done to shock or shut up the other person, but sincerely to prayerfully consider how to proceed in the next sentence, would it help both parties recognize that the enemy is knocking?

I have a heart filled with hope this morning. It's now 5 am, the sun is coming up soon, and I am going to make some coffee, and make my husband some breakfast. I have scratched or plunked all this out on this but the real work has not begun. I must pray on all that has been revealed to me. I believe I could pray without ceasing on this tiny little portion of the scripture and revelation until I die and not fully grasp all Christ has for me to learn.

I share this with you that you might know the struggles of my heart and because I felt called to do so. Maybe this is meant for you in some small way. If it is, I ask that you not rest on my interpretations or understandings but prayerfully discern them and call upon the Holy Spirit to guide you to the truth Christ has for you.

Blessings in Christ

Solar powered

aaarrghhh!

I can deal with cold, I can live with snow, sleet, and even cold rain. But this overcast depressing sky needs to go!

Thankfully Sunday a brilliant blue sky recharged me a tiny bit. Hopefully it will sustain me throughout this coming week.

I used to joke that I am solar powered but I am starting to lend that joke real creedence. I can only do so many days of cozy, so many days of snuggling under a throw on the couch with a good book. All things I love and embrace about winter don't get me wrong. My fireplace is one of my favorite things in the world. I love a roaring fire, I have one almost everyday. But a bright cold snowy winter day is much more appealing than this smoky grey world I am oppressed by through my window. The trees look so much worse on this kind of day too, everything looks so much worse.

I have no problem at all believing suicides are higher in the winter...what else do you have to do but sit around and contemplate how miserable everything looks...and then of course how miserable everything is...add a bottle of wine, a bad movie and chain letter email you didn't send immediately to 10 ppl and that's a recipe for disaster my friend.

You know what I will think about today to get me through this? Yeah spring is an easy one, but entirely too generic for me. I will think of the Love Boat. Exciting and new...come aboard, we're expecting you...er uh ME!! Yep today I will be visiting the Love Boat. Gopher can fetch me some tanning lotion (no sunscreen -this is my winter fantasy getaway and rather than be safe from harmful rays I will be tanning-thank you). Isaac can make me a frozen watermelon daquiri and Doc can write me a script for valium. WAIT!! That's still a recipe for suicide! Medication, and liquor! I could fall of the boat and drown...and I can barely tread water. Geez, the winter blues has really infiltrated. Okay scratch the valium, just a virgin daquiri and maybe I will take the sunscreen.

Did the rodent see his shadow??

First Things

My baby boy took his first steps today.

He is 16.  I don't mean he began to walk, he took his first steps into adulthood. He had his first job interview today. He got the job! Of course he did! He was hired as a lifeguard and swim instructor at the YMCA. He handled all the phone calls, arrangements and went into the interview on his own.

I 'm so proud. My heart was so full when he left the house, I thought it would burst. I can't imagine any other calling in life that could mean more to me than sitting in the front row for the story of my children's lives.

Sitting back enjoying a hot cup of coffee I let the memories wash over me. I was privileged to be there for all his first things. His first tooth coming in, the first one he lost, the first dentist visit and braces. I was there for his first injuries, first cold, first surgery. I watched his first scoots become first crawls. First steps, first time on a swing. I potty trained him and danced with him in the bathroom the first time he told me he had to go and we made it on time.

I took off his training wheels and watched him go at full speed without assistance as if he were born on a bicycle. I walked him into his first day of Kindergarten and walked him out of his last day of public school only a few years later to begin our homeschooling journey. I was there the first time he saddled up on a horse and discovered a lifelong passion. I bought the drums, help him set them up and listened as he pounded away at the bass. I took him shopping for his first suit, let him drive for the first time, and took him to get his permit and license. I took photos went he went to his first dance, earned scouting patches and when he sang in front of people. I was the one who walked him back to the pharmacy when he stole a chapstick at age 3 - his first and LAST crime.

I taught him to learn. To understand history, algebra, geography, music, science and literature. I watched him make him friends, nurture his passions and reach for his dreams. Above all, I get to share my love for Jesus with him. I see him love the Lord and I know through grace God has used me to minister to him.

I ask you, could anything be more rewarding?

The day is coming when the children will move into their adult life and I can chase down whatever personal dreams I have left...there really aren't many that haven't come true. Then I will embrace with joyful sorrow the lasts. The last night at home in his old room. The last family meal before he leaves home. The last morning I get to wake him up with a kiss on the forehead. Many lasts have passed already. The last time he nursed, the last time he crawled in my lap crying, the last time he slept in the bed with me because he was afraid of the dark, the last time I washed his hair. Sadly I didn't know they were the last. They passed without fanfare into our history. Thankfully I have a thousand of those times in between to comfort me.

I am so thankful for my husband, his loving self sacrifice to shoulder the burden of this family's finances, has made every joyful moment in my life possible. He could give me no greater gift. Thank you honey.

This was first published at 3:51 pm on 2/7/07 today 2/7/18, finds this son married, working, buying their first home. In July they blessed me with my first grandchild. The lasts were hard. The firsts keep coming and I'm still right here loving every moment with my family.