Tuesday, December 11, 2012
DisappointmentsTGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. - Proverbs 13:12
Life is filled with disappointments. Many of God's greatest servants experienced deep disappointment in their journeys of faithfulness to God. Joseph, after spending years as a slave and in jail for crimes that he did not commit, revealed deep disappointment when he was forgotten another two years in prison. John the Baptist, when awaiting execution, doubted whether Jesus was, in fact, the Christ because he was sitting there awaiting his death. Elijah, losing all hope and despondent to the point of death, asked God to take his life in the desert; and Peter, who left his fishing business and invested three years of his life only to watch his Savior crucified, wondered whether the purpose of those three years could be justified.
When life doesn't add up, it leaves the heart sick. When we have done all we know to do and the formula has not worked, it leaves us questioning. These are times that try the very souls of men. There is no human sense to be made of it. We are left with a choice: to cling or not to cling. There are times when holding on to our Master's robe is all that we can do. It is all that He wants us to do.
The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not obtained by sudden flight;
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.
Standing on what too long we bore,
With shoulders bent and downcast eyes,
We may discern-unseen before-
A path to higher destinies!
There is only one answer to life's disappointments. Like the psalmist, we must "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken" (Ps. 62:5-6).
This is one of the few email devotions I read regularly. Os always has something worth sharing and he blesses me almost daily.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
If someone is so deeply depressed that they can't even go grocery shopping and barely have contact with the world, what is the point of such suffering?
Mom said, she still felt it was worth it, but that she finds herself asking the same questions. Which I think is fair to ask.
The first thing that comes to mind is the idea that my faith is only important outside myself. That if I'm not impacting the lives of others, my faith is useless. However, I see that there is error in this thought, for God did not save me only to have me share with others. He saved me to have a relationship with ME.
So I go to: Why must there be so much suffering?
And the very next question I hear is: How much suffering would be acceptable?
I don't have an answer for that. Because if I say half, my measuring stick changes and half of today's suffering will soon feel like too much.
Then I think:
- How much suffering have I been spared from?
- Is this all just a first world problem and I am complaining about not having "enough" when I actually have "abundance" according to the world's standards. (example: I'm completely stuffed from a potluck and eating out today. Certainly this is not a 3rd world problem where every day could mean the difference between life and death.)
- Is all the "stuff" of first world living actually a kind of curse because it changes my expectations of God?
Monday, November 19, 2012
Thursday, November 8, 2012
(800) 2-REASON (562) 595-7333 www.str.org
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
I am lonely.
My marriage is a shell. We are roommates and parents with occasional benefits. I am the one doing the pursuing and I so want to be pursued. I want to be... wanted. To feel pretty and loved and interesting. I want to say "I deserve" to feel these things, but I don't know that I believe life is about my happiness. There is certainly happiness to be found in life, but I do not believe it is the goal. There is more to it than that.
I guess I am just lost with my marriage in trouble and my husband tuned out and here I am feeling better about myself than I ever have and "nobody" to appreciate it. It doesn't seem fair; but then I tell my children constantly... life is not fair.
I am hiding in romantic stories of fictional men who care. Right now I am no disallusioned by relationships. I give too much and so often that I think I have trained others not to give back. So foolish. I wish I'd learned to balance this all better.
Maybe I can sleep some of this off.
Friday, September 14, 2012
I'm glad it happened because I desire truth and know without it we can accomplish little.
Life has been pretty stressfull in our home.
My husband was just laid off and while there are some good things to that (he's not stressed about work, he does all the driving for the kids to and from school and the house is really clean!!) it also comes with a down side. Not having enough money to pay everything being the primary one. Looking for a job when there really aren't any.
On top of that, our marriage is broken. Not irreparably so (in my humble opinion), but broken all the same. I've been asking (telling) my husband that I really need more from him and that I'm not going to last much longer without more. This is a conversation we've been having for years. I cycle through not being able to stand the loneliness anymore and then we make a few improvements and that placates me (and him? I don't know) and I can go forward again for a while. I'd recently had this "please talk to me" conversation and last Friday my hubby decided to... talk to me.
Except, it was a really bad day.
I was PMSing in an almost criminal fashion. Lack of sleep and had a bad day at work. On top of that, I was feeling neglected by friends and getting kind of angry with all the people in my life that weren't living up to MY expectations. (harumph) Ever been there? Yeah, not fun.
So I come in and sit down ready to lose myself in a tv show and pretend I don't feel like I do. My husband doesn't let it go. Now this in itself is fairly miraculous. He would normally try once and then say "OK" and go hide in his mancave. This time he pushed. We ended up going outside to sit in the car in order to have a little privacy from our children. There we talked (I talked) about me feeling strongly that he doesn't like me much. Telling him that I am the same woman he fell in love with and married. I still care about things and want to make a difference. I still want more out of life. I still love him and our kids and want to create a wonderful home for all of us. But I am lonely and it hurts and I am reaching a breaking point. Long story short, my husband admitted that he doesn't like me much (but does love me); that I can really make him nuts. That he has changed and he doesn't think there is much more to life.
Thinking over that conversation... I cried for 2 days. I even woke up at night crying. It was rough. But... I was also relieved. This truth I can work with. There is something here to work on. So after the initial waterfall of tears, I was able to think more clearly. Gosh... it sounds like my husband has lost hope. He doesn't have anything to dream about. Man, I'd be miserable too if I felt that way.
So, in moving forward in our relationship, we are now spending one night a week together to work on things. My only issue now will be not to try to make all the changes I"m hoping for at once!
Looks like my husband is stubborn too.
Monday, September 10, 2012
God, Do You sense an independent spirit within me--one that hinders me from joining others in the mission You have called me to? While I do enjoy independence, it's nice sometimes to depend on someone else, to not have the whole weight of the world on my own shoulders. Help me to work with and live in harmony with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I want to help keep unity among believers as we go forward for the cause of Christ. If that means You need to work on that independent spirit within me, so be it. Help me, please. I love you, God. In Jesus name, amen.
(Today's Prayer is taken from Prime Time With God by Oz Hillman)
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Today I learned about having a critical spirit and how that creates a lot of dissatisfaction in our lives. being critical, thinking that we know the "right" way to do something really feeds pride and adds that it's not just that I (we) are right, you are wrong. Having a conversation with a friend about her father and him trying to teach a life lesson about the importance of higher education after watching a fast food worker mess up an order. Initially it struck me as just mean or petty, but as I listened, I thought, you know there is some truth there. Yes, not getting an education can lead you to working fast food. It is something parents use to help their children see the consequences of their choices in life. The other side of that is a lack of empathy for the worker... or the idea that each person needs to justify their life before you as if you (we/I whomever) in this scenario are the judge and jury to the validity of that person's life.
Man, I'm realizing how tired I am and I hope this all makes sense in the morning. I so rarely have time to write and I have much I want to say.
So being judgmental and critical can really kill your dreams. I think in addition to being critical of others, you (we) are critical of yourself as well.
A friend of mine and I talked about this today. I took it to heart as well and had to go back through my relationships to see where I am guilty of this behavior. I don't want to be but apparently it's contagious from those around us and I imagine others aren't that keen to be with us -- unless your plans for reveng are entertaining of course.
Here is today's Jesus Calling:
Do Everything in depdence on Me. the desire to act independently -- apart from Me--springs from the root of pride. Self-sufficiency is subtle, insinuating its way into your thoughts and actions without your realizing it. But apart from Me you can do nothing: that is, nothing of eternal value. My deepest desire for you is that you learn to depend on Me in every situation. I move heaven and earth to accomplish this purpose, but you must collaborate with Me in this training. Teaching you would be simple if I negated your free will or overwhelmed you with My Power. However, I love you too much to withdraw the godlike privilege I bestowed on you as My image-bearer. Use your freedom wisely, by relying on Me constantly. Thus you enjoy My Presence and My Peace.
What is God speaking to you about?
Monday, July 30, 2012
I want to say -- this is absolutely false!
We have a reasonable faith! Believing in Jesus as the son of man, in God as creator, in the ideas and ideals of Christianity is sound!
I have struggled with what to do about homosexuality for a long time. I think the struggle comes from my dislike of the hateful manner many Christians take towards this issue. I dislike the extreme focus on it and feel that while we need to stand up against sin and encourage others to live a better life -- we need to encourage them towards something good as well as away from sin.
Here is a well written article on the topic.
I hope you have the time to read it.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Or I will go along for a while doing all I should and then notice that I have stopped doing something. It's like I am waiting to see if I will get caught. How long it will take before someone says something.
I'm not sure what this is about. I want to explore and bring this part of myself under control.
I am dealing with my extra curricular activities being on hold and trying to figure out what how to spend this time. I gave myself some time to chill and watch tv and be irresponsible; but after a few weeks, that option is pretty old. So now I need to focus my attention on something, I'm not totally sure what that needs to be. I also need to work on having more friends. I've allowed myself to be too isolated.
This therapy blog is interesting. Being honest online is interesting.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
In black and bitter cold.
Each one possessed a stick of wood,
Or so the story’s told.
The first woman held hers back.
For on the faces around the fire,
She noticed one was black.
Saw one not of his church,
And couldn’t bring himself to give,
The fire his stick of birch.
He gave his coat a hitch.
Why should his log be put to use,
To warm the idle rich?
Of the wealth he had in store,
And how to keep what he had earned,
From the lazy, shiftless poor.
As the fire passed from his sight,
For all he saw in his stick of wood,
Was a chance to spite the white.
Did naught, except for gain.
Giving only to those who gave,
Was how he played the game.
Was proof of human sin.
They didn’t die from the cold without
They died from the cold within.
Then I am reminded of the book "Why Should I Be The First To Change" by Nancy Missler. It's a small little book with a powerful punch. I think perhaps I need to slide it off my bookshelf and let it lead me through the screaming and rebellion I am in right now.
Perhaps this is part of the process? The faith issues, the not volunteering. The growing selfishness. Part of the process I am in to take me where God is leading me. Where I am seems worse than where I was, but I understand that sometimes our journey feels that way. It doesn't mean the destination isn't worth going to.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Saturday, June 2, 2012
There is this idea inside of me that I am being super productive and getting so many projects done with great ability. When the dust settles there is often a messy wake to look back upon. Projects started and not finished. Not even cleaned up after often. It can be quite frustrating for those around you.
Once one passes the stage of "I can do anything" (so if that's bipolar, perhaps mine is "I can do most things") there is another level added. Irritability. Things start to really get on your nerves. You (OK, I) start to get short with people, my speech is clipped or aggressive. I don't want anybody around me. Everything pushes my button of frustration.
Then we add that I am right. There is no arguing with me. Now this is probably also part of my personality -- cyclothymia or not -- but it's intensified here.
I have most likely had this mood issue from my teen years. I can remember having anxiety and panic attacks as a child and occasionally sleepwalking; though I think now that it was panic attacks that woke me up not actual sleepwalking. I spent up to the birth of my first child at 28 dealing with anxiety and panic attacks without any medical help.
It was not fun, but I will say that I did manage to live through it.
I had a brief diagnosis of panic attacks and anxiety and was given medication and a little hope that this could be managed better.
Then I got pregnant again and I wasn't even given the option of taking medication. Doctor took me off everything until I was done nursing. Which of course I did for 13 months after birth. So close to 4 years with the addition of a fairly decent bout of post partum. Mine started as peri-partum, which is to say that it began in my 2nd trimester. Don't get me wrong, I was beyond thrilled to be pregnant! I wanted children since I was one and to finally be pregnant! The bag of tricks that came along for the ride was not something I wanted to carry around.
Finally getting a full diagnosis and medication was a life changer. Since then I have been working on the adjustment to living with medication and still learning the signs and control over myself and my mood.
It is a daily process.
I choose to be grateful I have the opportunity to have help and be a better person.
Monday, April 23, 2012
I am in a class right now and realize I have lost my vision for my life. I used to be happy with my life and pleased that one of my main goals was to encourage and bless others. I have lost that. (I think I may know where I put it.)
I am looking forward to getting back on track.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
I have been willing myself to go so far as to want to be healthy with the idea that if I wanted it, there was an outside chance it might happen. (btw, I cannot type for anything on this tablet!) So after a year of this wishful desire to want to care and then want to do sometbing about it I have begun to actually (gasp) do something.
I started walking. Not far or anything. I think it's been maye 4 days and already my body wants it. I know this is ultimately is this thing but I'm having a hard time accepting this. this isn't who I have always been. I tend to be more sedentary, leave me one with my happiness box and we'll all be fine. Life is more than a writers stories and memories.
I walked last night in some pain. Tonight I worked overtime for the second day in a row. I wasnt going to walk. Mh body rebelled. Unbelievable! So I had to do something while waiting for everyone to fall asleep.
I keep thinking about the quote... Fat doesnt taste as good as thin feels.
We talk about these kind of things at church too. That all we see in the world that requires change is so overwhelming... we end up doing nothing. So many people are without food and clean water, so many people ask for money to correct this problem, how do I know where to put my money, my time, my prayers? So I do nothing. Kenton says, help the person in front of you right now. Take advantage of the opportunity to give or to serve that presents itself to you today, this week and next week, take advantage of those opportunities. You may end up in a larger roll than expected; you may not. Brings to mind the starfish on the beach with one boy throwing them back one at a time. Adult comes up to the boy to ask why he's doing that, it won't make a difference. The boy responds, throwing one back into the water, "It makes a difference to this one."
4 Things You Can Do Right Now That Will Better The World
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Right now I've been watching Medium. I am on season five and I am totally in love with Joe Dubois. He is such a loving and sensative father and husband. I love how he deals with his crazy wife and all the weird things she puts him through. Even when he's upset and frustrated with her he is so loving. I even googled the actor who plays him. Oh man... I have it bad.
The good thing is that looking at their marriage it makes me want to be a better wife. Perhaps if I am nicer (because Allison is way nicer to her husband than I am to mine).
Before that I was in love with the guy from Law & Order Criminal Intent, Vincent D'Onofrio. I googled him too. (I google everybody.)
I wonder who else I've fallen in love with on TV. Probably every decent lead character.
So right now, I'm sitting here with all the things going on in my life watching a tv show and loving the husband on it...loving all the characters.
This makes me think about the Happiness Box. Do you remember that from psychology and philosophy class?
"We have developed a machine, a box with some electrodes and a life-support system, which we call the 'happiness box.' If you get in the box, you will experience a powerfully pleasant sensation, which will continue indefinitely with just enough variation to keep you from getting too used to it. We invite you to try it. If you decide to do so, you can get out of the box any time you want to; but perhaps we should tell you that no one, once they have gotten into the happiness box, has ever wanted to get out of it. After ten hours or so, we hook up the life-support system, and people spend their lifetimes there. Of course, they never do anything else, so their bodies tend to resemble half-filled water beds after a few years because of the lack of exercise. But that never bothers them either. Now, it's your decision: Would you like to step into the happiness box? Why or why not?" (Solomon & Higgins, The Big Questions, 8th ed., 30)
I think the TV (maybe in combination with the Internet) is a happiness box. Sitting on a comfortable sofa with a steady supply of food or snacks or... chocolate and coffee! I go there a lot. I have to admit I like it there. Anybody want to join me?
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
I didn't sign up for anything. By that I mean that... I didn't sign up for anything at church. I applied to do a different kind of ministry, but nobody has contacted me about my application so I have no idea if they will want me to join in on the fun and chaos.
No women's bible study; which might not seem like a big deal to you, but I do this as a matter of fact and have done for for over 15 years. This past year is the first time in many years that I've not been involved in one.
The idea of not doing anything over the next few weeks or months kind of makes me nervous. The idea of not being committed to anything also kind of makes me happy. I'm just not sure I would continue to feel that way. So, I asked if the church needed any leaders for the next round of studies they are doing. I've led 2 groups, so I am at least qualified.
I guess I'm feeling a little rudderless. This whole not having enough friends has thrown me a bit. I guess I was so happy with having a group of friends for a while that when it whittled down to almost nobody I didn't quite know what to do with myself. Now I find myself reliant on one whole person to fulfill all my friendship needs and that's not fair -- or possible. I've now added a second person, so that's good. I can work on building some more with one or two people at work, but they also have very full personal lives. Hmmm, not sure where to go with this.
The plus side is that I am spending more time with my family. That is always a good thing. Perhaps that is what God intended.
(side note: Lord, please help my daughter to find the power cord to the tablet so that wonderful little device might be charged and used and appreciated once again!)
I have so many wonderful ideas that if employed with consistency would put me in line for Mother of the Year; but that caveat (consistency) is the trouble. Consistency is not a strong suit for me. I am good at going to church. I can be consistent there it seems only.
So, I remain bored. Bored means I watch too much TV. I've been watching a show about a family and am now falling for the husband/father because he's such a great hubby and father and it warms my heart. I know he's fictional (I even looked the actor up online to read more about him...silly I know). I go through periods like this where I latch on to someone because I've spent time getting to know a character.
Well, bored or not, it's bedtime and I have work early tomorrow.
Blessings on you all.