15 May 2014

Milestones in the Journey

Since my disappearance from the blogosphere, 
I have passed a few milestones.......

Not in order of importance, 
 nor even chronology....


I have welcomed 
three new grandchildren to the family, 
the latest of which is two weeks old 
at the moment.
(now a total of 6: five boys and one girl)

Had a son find his way back home...
(thank you, Jesus!)

Had one go off to serve his country 
in harm's way.....
(protect him, Jesus!)

Had some adventures both medically and otherwise with yet another son........

Had a daughter's family move 1800 miles away 
to the Big Sky Country....

Had a daughter graduate college 
(with honors
and her family move
 another 30 minutes farther away.....

Had a daughter compete in her first and second Special Olympics Event.......

Had a daughter enter the workforce and start college classes while finishing high school.....
(graduation is in two weeks)




Re-discovered what a wonderful, awesome man I married and took some trips alone with him.....



Turned that (ahem) respectable age of fifty  which my children all assure me is the "new 30".....

Bought a cool new piece of technology
 (in honor of said birthday)....
and decided that it was time to see if anybody could still find their way here.

To say I was surprised, is an understatement.  

Again. 

I realize it is on my Facebook page.  
I also realize that only recently have I posted something worth posting 
(newest grand baby pics)
 instead of the usual fare of 
"which state should you live in"
 or
 "which color are you".

Yes, I admit it.  
I have been trending towards the light and fluffy perma-press type of reading and writing and living.....
                   
 Because, for the past two or three years,
 life just got too hard for me to handle.  

I was being pressed down under many chronic difficulties with a few wall-slams thrown in the mix.  I felt guilty for not handling it, because, others had much more difficult and 
serious things to deal with.....
like losing children to diseases.....
or homes to tornadoes......
or loved ones to cancer.  

After all, I have been dealing with some of this stuff for over a decade
 and I was doing what I had been told to do.....
doing what I could think to do......
and it was......
just.. too.. hard...


I have spent months soul-searching. 

I have been learning that being a Christian is not putting on an appearance of trusting God.

  It is admitting.....
to oneself....
over and over - 
again and again....
that I can't do this anymore. 

I hear you saying, 
"Of course! You never could!"

Before you quote the verse that I already know, please hear me say this.

The need to appear happy runs deep in the bone.  

The need to hope that if you just....

this........then,  maybe........that.

But, to say it...
you know,... 
that you are not happy, ....
not dealing,... 
not coping....
to admit that to yourself.....
to others...

Well, that is terrifying.

 To say the thing that they might very well reject you for privately if not publicly. 

To risk that maybe your husband
 will think you are not a good christian...
or mother....

To admit that even you yourself are not sure 
and feel so low that you are under that rock 
you are trying to hold up.....
and you admit that maybe
 you don't want to try anymore. 

That you will dare to say what it is that you don't like or don't know or don't care.

Because, there are some things in this life that ARE SO HARD.

Can you hear me? 
There are situations that go  for so long that they wear you down. 




And even when 
you are afraid and you get assurance
 that there is nothing more you can do 
but continue......

and you don't want to do that......

and it isn't even so desperate as fighting cancer.....
and after all, aren't you just lazy and selfish
 and what would people think.....

This is a song that never ends.....
it drives me from my mind, my friends.....

And so, it is sometimes better 
to be quiet for awhile.  

It is better to learn first-hand
 that it is  foolish fiction to believe 
you will have things figured out by age 50. 

 It is a journey, this life.  

There are so many wonderful blessings
 that God has continued to shower upon me.
 And, I understand, 
that every single hard thing in life 
is to shed the sinful shell that wants to block out the light.





I have not come to any grand conclusions, 
except, that I know, 

that what I  feared  most did not happen, 

even when some of my worst fears did happen

I was never, ever abandoned by the Lord. 

The circumstances out of my control 
were never out of God's control. 

When I dared to bare ugliness to Him, 
He did not despise or reject me. 

 There is no condemnation in Christ. 

 I have always known that.  
But He keeps taking me deeper and deeper.  Peeling back the layers of
 hurt and guilt and shame and fear. 
 And each layer does not come off easily
 or pain-free.

I am finally at a place, where,
 I can admit that the level of distress is not measured by the events that surround it, 
but by the honesty within it.

 It is not helpful to think that unless something is a life-and- death situation, 
you are weak if you are upset by it.
 Of course, we are weak. 

So many of us pretend that the
 every-day-ness
 of the 
every-day-in-and every-day-out 
stuff of life should be beneath our struggle. 

After all, 
lots of people are dealing
 with some 
STUFF.  

And yet, where are you then? 
Stranded in that place called
 guilty, ungrateful Christian.   
And, so, okay.....
maybe you are.....
but what do you do about it?




God gives grace to His children
 in the exact measure that it is needed.  
He knows how heavy the burden
 is that we try to carry.  

If we think there are some burdens small or trivial or common enough that we should carry them ourselves, we will wear ourselves out and stumble. 

He says for us to take His burden.
 He already carried ours to the cross.

 The Bible says that 
All Things are Common to Man. 
 Big troubles and small ones.  

Stop guilting yourself over thinking you should
 be able to handle  any of them. 
Be transparent with those you can trust so they can help you and pray for you. And remember that you are not alone.
We are all fighting our way through the deceptions that would paralyze us and make us ineffective in the kingdom.

As the old hymn goes,


Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.





Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.





Leave to thy God to order and provide;



In every change, He faithful will remain.



Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend

Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.


Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake

To guide the future, as He has the past.

Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;

All now mysterious shall be bright at last.

Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know



His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.






BE STILL MY SOUL  Words: Ka­tha­ri­na A. von Schle­gel, in Neue Samm­lung Geist­lich­er Lied­er, 1752 (Stille, meine Wille, dein Je­sus hilft sie­gen); trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by Jane L. Borth­wick in Hymns from the Land of Lu­ther, 1855. Music: Fin­land­ia, Jean Si­bel­i­us, 1899 (MI­DIscore). Al­ter­nate tune:Unde et Memores, Will­iam H. Monk, 1875 (MI­DIscore)



8 comments:

  1. I was just struggling a bit with this myself last week. I was putting on a happy face, pretending everything was fine, when inside I felt (and feel) pretty torn up about the wait we are going through trying to conceive a child. I came to the same realization- that it is foolish and realistically, we help more people by being real about our struggles. Everyone has them and it is hard to see sometimes when you are only looking at the shiny Facebook world side of things. Thank you for the encouraging and honest post. Can I ask you a favor though? Is there any way to move your scrolling social media bar over a bit? It lines up right on the page's scroll bar and I have had a very hard time going through some of your posts without accidentally clicking on it and having it take me somewhere else, so I'm guessing other people are experiencing the same thing. It might help make it easier for people to read. Ignore if you don't want to make the change... just a thought! Thanks again for your post and participation at CBCE!

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    1. Thanks, Kristi, I appreciate your kind words more than you know. About the "scrolling social media bar"....I'm not sure what you mean. When I am viewing the blog on my computer, I don't see anything scrolling or otherwise. Where are you seeing it? phone, computer, pad? what browser? I will change it but I don't know what it is or how to do it. I do appreciate your help with this also. :)

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  2. Very touching, Deborah. So much can go by so fast -- and then, where has the time gone? I appreciate the struggle you describe, and the hymn you concluded with. I'm not sure I have heard that one before, but the words are so relevant. It reminds me a bit of one I really like: "Prince of Peace, Control my Will." I think I will go check out "Be Still, My Soul." :) Blessings!

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    1. Thank you, Sheila! I love that hymn and my favorite version of it is done by Selah. The original brother/sister group. And if you take time to learn about this sibling duo and the things God has brought the through, it will mean even more. Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. Beautifully written, excellently said. One thing we all share and have in common - we struggle. With our families, our faith, our selves...the list goes on. God is ever faithful, and that truth continues to shine through all we endure and wrestle with. He is always there; for me, for you. For our loved ones, our children, our families. Thank you for being real with this post!

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    1. Being real has been a lesson I've been learning "on purpose" for nearly two decades now. I was such a pro at hiding the inside. I find that others have been where I am now and so, I want to encourage them where they are because I've been there too.Thanks for commenting.

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  4. Thanks Deborah for the honesty you shared. When I was reading this it reminded me of the "truth will set you free". In my experience sometimes the truth hurts and it's tough to accept. Struggles are real, and opportunities for continual growth with Christ. Have a great week.

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