I Gotta Be Honest…

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If there’s one thing I swore I’d always do in this blog, it would be to remain open and honest.

“Throwing open the closet door to all my skeletons” has been my claim and I haven’t shied away from revealing my darkness.

However, this blog is for inspiring and providing hope to those who are traveling through the darkness themselves, so I carefully write AFTER the battle has been won. I don’t like to write when I’m in the midst of a battle, finding commiseration to be more harmful than helpful.

So I’ve been careful. Always be positive. Always show victory, even when showing the defeat that came first. And ALWAYS post regularly. Three times a week, without fail, I posted.

If I was going on vacation, I scheduled posts. I kept a post or two ready in case I wasn’t feeling well or something came up that week. I made sure I had a week’s worth ready to go when the grandkids came to visit for sure!

But then the coronavirus came.

And I retreated.

I was the lone church member who WANTED to be around during the rapture to spread life and hope in a lively HYPOTHETICAL discussion we had a few years ago.

I was not prepared to put my money where my mouth was.

This pandemic has caused me to retreat faster than a turtle’s head as a car speeds by.

I wanted to lock down, lock my doors, and pull the covers over my head.

For the most part, I’ve done almost just that.

I’m scared. I’m anxious. And I’ve had nothing positive to say.

One week turned to two, three missed posts turned to 12, and I felt like I was neglecting my child. THIS, this blog, is my ministry. And I abandoned it.

The social distancing isn’t wrong. My husband has had symptoms of the virus, and unable to get tested, we’ve been self-isolating at home. There’s nothing wrong with that; in fact, it is EXACTLY what we should be doing.

There are some benefits. We’ve gotten a lot of rest, and we’ve had some quality time together without the distractions of her usual busy daily routines.

But, even sick, he has continued to preach, holding four services online each week and studying working on a book on 1 John.

I’ve read four books, binge-watched series, and played games on my tablet.

The difference hasn’t escaped my attention.

I’ll have bouts of clarity and determination. I have a notebook with two pages of blog topics specifically about this time in our life. I’ll go to bed determined to write, and minister, and be positive the next day.

And I wake up…and pull the covers back over my head.

I don’t know why I’m so anxious. The pressure of others who are anxious to resume life as we once knew it weighs on me.   The fear that I’ll never want to resume life as it once was worries me too. What if I stay in this funk forever?

What if the Lord stops giving me revelation to share because I refuse to share it? How much more patience does He have to have with me? How much more will I have with myself?

Then the devil steps in. No one is reading your blog anyway. Who are you kidding? You’re not helping anyone. And I allow myself to be both wounded and comforted by the words.

My life means nothing. Oh well. Guess I don’t have to worry about writing after all.

But I know, when my own self-doubt and the devil’s darts are stripped away, that the voice of the Lord rings clear:

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…  2 Corinthians 2:4-5

In another words, GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD!

Check back tomorrow for a NEW post and feel free to flood my inbox if you don’t see it!!!

 

The Blame Game

My dad called earlier this afternoon. He was at the ER with my mom who’d fallen at the movie theater and gashed her head open.

Being five hours away in times like this truly makes me nauseous. However, knowing this, he struggled to find the right words so I wouldn’t be on the interstate as soon as we hung up. Unfortunately, his struggle took place AFTER I’d answered the phone.

“Look, I don’t want you to worry…” Pause.

“What?!”

“Hold on. Listen to me,” he continued. Another pause.

I pretty much envisioned the funerals of every member of my family during this second pause.

“WHAT?!” My heart was about to beat itself right out of my chest at this point. “Just tell me!”

“Your mother..” Another pause. Note to parents everywhere: figure out exactly what you’re going to say and how you are going to say it BEFORE dialing the number. Especially if your child has a tendency to overreact.

By the time he spits out the rest, my suitcase is lying on my bed and I’m not sure if I’m packing sweats for the hospital or a black dress for the church.

“…tripped and hit her head at the movie theater. But she’s okay. They’re doing an x-ray and then they are going to stitch her up.”

He then tells me that he wanted to call my sister and me before he sent a message through the family group text. I appreciated that as I would not have taken kindly to reading this hours later in a group thread that, for my sanity, stays on Do Not Disturb. It would’ve been almost as bad as finding out that the call to my sister had already been made. I AM the oldest, after all! 😉

All kidding aside, I’m so grateful that my sister lives near our parents. I also have two daughters, a son, a daughter-in-law, and a niece and nephew that live nearby. According to Dad most of them were squeezed into the exam room this afternoon!

Once my Mom was stitched up and back home resting, my dad FaceTimed me so I could see for myself that Mom was okay. He gave me the full version of what had happened: Mom’s hands were full and he’d already gotten to his seat in the middle of the row in the darkened theater. Mom had to go past a couple sitting on the end of the row when she tripped over the lady’s knee and fell forward, landing on her knees and hitting her head on the brackets that bolt the seats down.

I’d heard enough. “THAT MONSTER!” I yelled. Maybe I used a synonym. “She couldn’t move her legs? I hope she felt awful. Did she feel awful? Did it ruin her day? I hope she couldn’t enjoy the movie!”

I was really mad at this woman.

Laughing, Dad said, “You sound like your daughter. And your sister.” Both he and Mom went on to tell me how helpful the couple was, even getting her to the car after applying pressure to her head to stop the bleeding.

Mom insisted the lady had done nothing wrong; she had, in fact, moved her legs. Mom insisted  it was no one’s fault despite my insistence that SOMEONE must pay for this.

“Why is this family so sue-happy?” she asked.

In a moment of clarity, I realized a profound truth. No one wanted to sue anyone. We weren’t really even mad at the lady. We were powerless and helpless and had been scared. There was nowhere to direct all of those emotions so we looked for someone to blame.

Blaming someone when things go wrong helps you regain a sense of control.

Someone has to pay for our misery.

The thing is, Jesus already did.

We’re supposed to take all of our fears and sorrow and lay them at the cross, where He laid down His LIFE for us.

No matter what happens.

 

 

When God Goes Radio Silent

Ask any mother of a three-year-old in the “Why?” stage and she will tell you that silence is golden. But for the rest of us, silence can be a little disconcerting.

I remember having to adjust to the constant sound of traffic when I stayed at my grandmother’s house after they four-laned her road. Soon sleep became synonymous with cars whizzing by. When she renovated her home and added a well-insulated guest bedroom in the back, it was eerie to sleep in such silence.  I hadn’t realized how much the noise enveloped my sleep.

Or how much the sounds of children playing or even fighting can lull you into a comfortably numb stage. But let those same children go silent and you are immediately on high alert.

We need the audible reminders that all is well.

No one wants their world to go radio silent, that time between programs where only dead air is broadcast.

Yet, many times, we feel as if God has gone radio silent on us.

There are many reasons why this may be the case:

  • His words are falling on deaf ears.

I know this one well, both figuratively and literally. I can’t hear out of one ear so I miss a lot of what is being said. But just because I don’t hear it, it doesn’t mean no one is speaking. I’m just not tuned in to that person.

Another thing that happens is that we don’t really want to hear what’s being said. We’ll ask the Lord a question and then stick our fingers in our ears in case His answer is something we don’t want to hear.

Take your fingers out and listen for His plans for us are to prosper, not to harm. What He wants for us may not be what we want, but it will always be what’s best for us.

  • You’ve moved out of range.

You know the saying about when God is no longer next to you, YOU’RE the one who moved? This is true. He doesn’t move to get away from your sin; you move so you can sin more easily. No one stands right next to the Father and easily turns to darkness.

Think of your communication with God as being with a tin can phone. Sure, He can use satellite and reach you anytime, anywhere, but He prefers the old school approach. You can’t hear that voice on the other end of the tin can unless you’re standing pretty close.

  • You’re being tested.

Job had every one of his blessings removed and was told time and again by those he loved to renounce God. Job couldn’t hear God at all during this time of testing yet he still knew He was there. He refused to lose faith.

It’s a tricky situation when you find yourself in the midst of a trial. You wonder if it’s of your own making. At best, you wonder why God doesn’t intervene; at worst, you feel forsaken by Him.

Just because you don’t hear Him doesn’t mean He’s not there. Trust Him. Examine your heart- see if there’s something that may be hindering your relationship with the Creator. If not, you may be going through a time of testing. Be faithful. These tests end with double blessings if you stay the course.