thepalmofhishand

What in the World is God up to?

The older I get, the faster time flies by

It’s been close to a year since I posted here.  I wish I could tell you how radically my life has changed–how I found the answer, the formula, the magic word, to peace and assurance.

Sadly, I cannot.  If anything, it has been darker and more confusing the last couple of months, but I do have a precious, new granddaughter since I last posted.  We don’t do boys, evidently.  I have two daughters, and they have 5 girls between them.

My husband has steady work now, which is an incredible blessing.  I still have a job (with co-workers who frustrate the heck out of me.)  We still have our house, food, indoor plumbing, A/C, cars money to go out to eat.  But, somehow, I still feel robbed of some of the things we used to have, or be able to do.  My husband’s arrest will never (thanks to the internet (sarcasm)) be a faint memory.  

I find that I am angry about that, my siblings insensitivity, losing the will and ability to work on my novels, losing the plans and dreams we had for the future.

Yes, it is gratitude I should be feeling, but I do and I don’t.  Is it God who speaks into my heart, or is it sometimes Satan?  Is it true that if I read my Bible everyday, pray for at least 10 minutes everyday, stop cussing, give 10% to my church, then I will feel God’s love on me like the warmth of the sun when you’ve been cold for a while?  Does God truly NOT see my sins?  Somehow, I just cannot believe that.  

I’m still in counseling.  But the urge to scream loud and long is with me a lot.

Going through the motions

Going through the motions, Jesus,

Singing praise to You,

Even though my heart feels hollow

In everything I do.

Going through the motions, Jesus,

Wishing prayers would flow,

But I don’t trust my motives

There’s confusion in my soul.

Going through the motions, Jesus,

Wondering how it can be

That I can be so doubtful

After all You’ve done for me.

Going through the motions, Jesus,

Longing for the day

When peace will be the hallmark

Of my life and always stay.

Going through the motions, Jesus,

Please write it on the wall,

That You will still delight in  me

Through all the times I fall

I’m tired of going through the motions, Lord

Sink Your love into my heart

Wrap me in Your loving arms

Make my life Your work of art.

I wrote the above lines in church this morning.  I was singing along and realized it was just what I always do.  I haven’t written here in quite a few months.  I really thought I was getting better, moving past my past.  However, the last few months have been “drifty.”  

I guess I had expectations of God that I didn’t realize, but now that those expectations have not come through, it’s obvious I had them.  My poor therapist is hearing the same angst, seeing the same tears week after week.  I don’t know how he stands it.

I’m tired of being nice to co-workers who continually screw up because they refuse to learn how to do something right, or they blame it on their computer.  And yet, I’m still nice.

I’m tired of a boss who has absolutely no backbone, and takes for granted all the crap I have done to keep his business open.  And yet, I’m still nice.

I’m tired of friends who don’t tell me the truth, forget my birthday, and don’t pay their share of the bill.  And yet, I’m still nice.  And then there is the friend who, no matter what hell is going on in my life, it cannot be as bad as hers.  When we’re together, 90% of the conversation is about how tough she has it.  She has no idea how depressed I have been in the last two months because everything is about her.

I’ve prayed, begged, sobbed, read my Bible, gone to therapy….but God feels far, far away.

The Death of Someone Who Loved Me Well My Entire Life…

My father died 10 days ago.  He was 91, in frail health, so it was an incredible blessing that he died quickly and at home.

Because of his health in recent years, and his age, I was unprepared for the intense grief I have felt and continue to feel.  In fact, the emotions have been stronger this week than they were the week after his death.

My dad was not a perfect man, but he loved fiercely and consistently.  He adored my mother, and some of my ache is for her lonlieness upon losing her husband, lover and best friend of 66 years and 9 months.

He was a frugal, sensible man who strove to live a life of kindness, compassion and love.  As a follower of Jesus Christ, he believed that knowing Christ well, and demonstrating Christ’s love for others were the most important things he could do.

It is a sad, sad thing to lose someone who has loved you well for your entire life.

I’ve Turned a Corner…

10 days ago, I was babysitting my youngest grandchild, and while she was napping, I was praying. I became aware of a lightening of my spirit. It wasn’t overly dramatic, but it was palpable. My soul finally believed more than disbelieved that God loves me unconditionally.

Doesn’t sound like it should have taken me 50 years to come to that point, does it? But I’ve been wrestling with the after-effects of childhood abuse for many, many years. After my world crashed in the summer of 2012 because of my husband’s arrest, I started a journey of at least once-a-week counseling sessions, a 12-step recovery program, and hours and hours of tearful prayer.

Quite honestly, I had come to believe that insecurity about who I was to God would be my thorn in the flesh that would keep me on my face before Him.

So much has happened in the last 26 months. If I’d had any idea what I was going to go through in that miserable scorching summer of 2012, I would have ended it all before I got to the good stuff—-reckon that’s why God doesn’t tip His hand.

Am I serene, secure and selfless all the time now? No…but I am so much better than I used to be.

You can’t hurry God; He may not come when you want Him, but He’s right on time. (I stole that from a song)

Thank you, God, for the gift of grace through Your son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for the people you have brought into my life in the last 26 months, especially Jon, my counselor, my friends at CR, and my pastor, Shane.

Hang in there, fellow struggles who feel like the pain will never end. It just takes a while to get to the good stuff.

Amen

Spiritual amnesia…

Surely there are other Christians who have wrestled with confusion about who God is–how He loves us, or not; how He punishes us, or not; whether He REALLY can pay attention to each of us every single minute, or not.

My confusion has been created from half a century of mixed messages–messages that were stated from the pulpit, messages from the demeaning words and treatment that some of my siblings subjected me to, even some from my marriage before we got into counseling. And a great big ol’ rejection smack from my “former therapist.”

So, I have been thinking a lot about how it would be nice to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch. I’d read Brennan Manning, C.S. Lewis and Paul Ellis. I’d listen to Louie Giglio, Brennan Manning, and my own pastor speak, and Matt Maher, Phil Wickham, Big Daddy Weave and Steven Curtis Chapman sing.

I would stay away from the prosperity preachers, the “God’s-gonna-get-ya” crowd, and the folks who say Jesus can change lives but don’t truly believe in redemption (there are TONS of those “Christians” around).

I thought my crisis of faith happened two years ago, but what is happening now is so unnerving, frustrating and depressing.  When you think you’ve been making strides in recovery and then run into this kind of cobweb, it’s scary, and feels like you can’t get the strands of web off of yourself, or, in this case, out of your brain.

And, once again, I am asking God, “what is going on?”

Humans are pathetic lot…

Just imagine that your favorite-of-all-time actor or actress calls you out of the blue and asks you to come and be a bit player in a movie they have written and are going to direct. They know you’ve never done any big-time acting before, but you’ll get to talk to them everyday, they will personally give you lessons in the art of acting. How many of us would say, “Okay, but I don’t want a bit part, and I’d like to have some say in how the movie goes, and there will days when I just don’t want to show up.”

Not me…if Sir Laurence Olivier (who I think is the greatest actor I have personally ever seen act) called me up and made me that offer, I would stumble all over myself just to be able to spend time with him, and any acting advice he gave me, I would practice over and over.
Sadly, I must confess that Jesus has already made me this offer, and yet, day after day, I tell Him I want to play a different role, I’d like to change the storyline, and some days, I don’t even bother to show up to listen to Him. I am embarrassed. Christ has invited me into His story and I have not taken every opportunity to be next to Him on the set, to catch every word He speaks. I want Him to be a bit player in my movie. How incredibly sad and idiotic the human heart can be.

Enough already…

Tomorrow is the 2nd anniversary of my most awful, terrible, really bad day.  In the past two years, I have listened to a lot of Christian speakers, read a lot of Christian authors, spent a lot of time on my knees praying to Christ to remake me.

I have listened to several sermons by Louis Giglio in the last couple of weeks.  He’s a dynamic speaker and very engaging.

I wondered if he had children, so I “Googled” him, and, of course, a number of articles about him popped up, including articles about how dangerous he is.

Now before someone starts spouting “end times” and “tribulation” at me, let me say right off the bat, I’m an amillenialist.    Amillennialism (Greek: a- “no” + millennialism) is the mainstream Christian end-times theology, named for its rejection of the theory that Jesus Christ will have a literal, thousand-year-long, physical reign on the earth.       Which means I don’t subscribe to end times prophecies that enthrall so many Christians today.  I do not believe, that even if there were going to be a millenial reign, I am supposed to obsess over every day of my life.  Jesus said we should be prepared for His return—does that mean only when we think it’s close?  No, we are called to live every day revealing and reflecting the glory of Christ and His love for us and others.  Why the need for any “end times” dogma there?

I have yet to hear Giglio say anything I found dangerous; maybe I will at some point, but it is time for Christians to quit nitpicking other Christians.  If someone’s focus is on sharing the love, grace and mercy of Jesus Christ with others, and that it is through His grace alone that we become whole, healed and redeemed, then DON’T play semantics and get so wrapped up in how someone pronounces “potato.”

We Christians are horrible to each other WAY TOO OFTEN!

Luke 9:50
“Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

Blessings.

My last scheduled day of babysitting…

Today is my las scheduled day of babysitting my youngest granddaughter.  Every Wednesday, and a few Fridays, for the past four months, I have driven 30 miles to stay with my youngest grand.  It has been a time of calm for me.  She’s an incredibly happy, contented baby, and a good sleeper, so I have had a quiet place to work on my recovery materials and get a dose of fuzzy head love.

I can’t believe how much she has changed, even in the last 10 days.  Pretty sure the tears will flow at least once today.

I’m glad to be here today; it’s my second day away from work this week, but it’s good I’m away from the office today.  The desire to throttle co-workers was intense yesterday.

And so, as yesterday taught me, there are still anger issues I need to work through.  Frustration about what I am doing in this life.  Impatience about having any idea about how my life may be next month.

I think the real problem is that U.S. Christians are, for a great part, absolutely spoiled babies…myself leading the parade!  We live so well compared to the rest of the world.  We want to know what God has planned for us…now!  Or we are skating along with complacency because life is comfortable and we hear a “good” sermon every Sunday.  I have friends who attend a big church in this area.  They are always talking about the fantastic sermons they hear on Sunday and how it really makes them think.  But their lives haven’t changed much in the 10 years that we’ve known them.  I’m really trying not to judge, but if everyone in my town who went to church and heard “fantastic” sermons enacted a fraction of the messages they hear, this town would be noticably different from other towns.  Noticably….and yet, it’s not.

Believe me, I have skated along with everyone, but two years ago, I got a serious wake-up call.  So now, I think about my life in Christ A LOT!  But I’m still pouting because I really just want to know what’s going to happen in the next ten years.

Spoiled….

 

Blessings

Wow! It’s been almost 5 months since I posted here

I can’t believe it.  I left my blog back in January and now it’s June.  I didn’t mean to stay away so long…things just got busy.

I wish I could tell you that my life has changed dramatically in the last 150 or so days, but it hasn’t been dramatic.  I have found that I am able to share a little more in my women’s 12-step group than in the first three months.  I’ve  been on my first women’s retreat–16 women in one big house on the lake–and I survived and even really enjoyed myself.

I’ve spent the past 14 Wednesdays babysitting my youngest granddaughter during the day.  She is an awesome delight.  My marriage is constantly improving.  Work is more frustrating; it seems that the owner, my boss, is disinterested in the business.  Some of the other staff seem to be lazier about doing their jobs.  Maybe it feels worse than it is because I now HAVE to work–I am the breadwinner for us.  Yeah, that’s right…my husband still doesn’t have a full-time job.  He works at three part-time jobs and doesn’t get paid what he should for the time he spends.  He will be taking an exam tomorrow to see if he can be licensed to sell insurance.  We’re really hoping that leads us into a new chapter of our lives.  God has more than sustained us, but there is still a strain, a tension from never knowing one week to the next what our finances will be.

The second anniversary of my husband’s arrest is a week from today.  The last two weeks, I have been unsettled and emotional; I wonder if that will be the case the rest of my life–that the days between May 21 and June 12 will just not be my favorite time of year.  So many good things have come out of his arrest, but the memories of the fallout are so painful that it will never be a friend I hold dear.

I have a much bigger friendship circle than I used to, which is also unnerving because I am not in practice as an adult friend.  I’ve kept myself to myself, and now, there is a feeling of being stretched to try and touch base with friendships every week and I’m not good at that.

My counselor is still helping me work through my issues; I see improvement in some areas, and he does, too.  But, honestly, he’s my closest confidant because I can say anything to him, anything.

God has been very merciful, gracious, loving and kind, extravagantly so.

Blessings

The Trip Up the Mountain is Endless…

The past 19 months have been a climb of epic proportions.   The first 6 months were absolutely hellish; then there were about 2 good months, and then another hellish 5 months.  It has been varying ever since.  I reach a point where it seems I’ve turned a corner, or my husband and I together have turned a corner–only to run smack into a wall.  Strangely, the walls don’t get any softer, even after all this time of prayer, counseling, and 12-step help.

There is one HUGE plus that has been constant for the past 9 months and that is my therapist.  So, so glad God got me away from the “narcissist” therapist I saw for a while.  Unfortunately, there are quite a few narcissist in the field of counseling and you have to be careful who you spend time with, and that’s not easy when you’re already hurting and dealing with skewed perceptions.  Just beware of a therapist who likes to talk about themselves as much as they discuss your issues with you, or one that gets a little too combative if you disagree with some pronouncement they make.

I am in a women’s 12-step program now, too.  I am still very cautious about sharing much with the group, in part because I know at least one of the women shot her mouth off after one of our first meetings.  It’s been hard not to slap the crap out of her.

I’m hoping to get back to the place where I believe my husband loves me unconditionally (yes, I was actually there for about 2 weeks three months ago).  I’m doing better with believing God loves me unconditionally.

I will be 57 in a few weeks.  I feel old, but I am feeling better about where I am.

Blessings.