Thursday, July 14, 2016

The CBS Question that Stopped Me in My Tracks

This post was originally created on February 12, 2016...but I kept it as a draft. I think it is very insightful and that is why I'm publishing it today. I had published it one time before...but changed my mind. Besides that, it was buried in the archives where no one was likely to read it and comment. As the Lord gives me these insightful truths, it brings leaps of healing. I hope it can help and inspire someone else.


I wrote this post over a month ago...but was too self conscious to post it. I don't like people to know my personal struggles. I've been thinking about this post...especially since the anniversary of this loss is rolling closer. February is a difficult month for me. I struggle with Valentine's Day. I even told my husband once that I hate Valentine's Day and that I don't want to celebrate it. Buy me chocolate and flowers on any other day of the year....but don't buy it on that day. He hasn't always listened to this advice.

Anyway...in my quest to be more honest about myself, I've decided to post it after all.
.........

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭51:16-17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

.....

For personal thought: which of the previously mentioned offerings would most involve genuine sacrifice on your part? Why? (Community Bible Study, Study guide for the book of Mark. Page 170)

The offerings mentioned:
  • a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:16-17....the verse written out above in red)
  • praise (Hebrew 13:15-16)
  • mercy and acknowledgment of God (Hosea 6:6)
  • our bodies and mind (Romans 12:1-2)

I stared at the question for several minutes while I considered each one of the choices, trying to decide what my answer would be.  I came to the first choice: the broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart. "Well...I've gotten that one down," I thought to myself. I was about to look at the next choice when a second thought came into my mind. "But do you? Do you really have that one down?" I stopped and thought about it. I decided that I don't have that one down at all.

That one seems to be giving me the most difficulty. It seems like I actually hold onto my broken heart and my broken spirit. When I sense it slipping away...I grip it a little tighter...being afraid to let it go. I can't seem to sacrifice it entirely. Or is it that I won't sacrifice it? Perhaps I am afraid of losing the little bit I have left of something long ago lost. Really? Is that it? I can tell myself that this is foolish and faulty thinking. Do I really want this pain in my life? No! I hate it!

Then why can't I get rid of it? Why can't I just sacrifice it and be done with it? I know it is wrong...and yet I hold onto it. I can't...or won't really let it go. How do I put something on the alter that I have held onto for so long? There have been times when I've thought it is gone...but then there it is, back in my grip again. Must it always be a continual sacrifice? Again and again? Can't I just sacrifice it once and for all? Why must I see it once again in my possession?

I don't seem to have this one down at all.

"Oh, Heavenly Father. I sacrifice it to you. I lay it on the alter! I don't want it anymore!  It is yours."

Saturday, July 02, 2016

More On Being Wounded...and Cut Down


Sixteen years ago, Jamie and I purchased and moved into a house that was built in about 1860. It was a bargain, but needed a lot of work. We thought we were up to the challenge. It has actually come a long way, but still needs quite a bit of work. A work in progress, just like me.

That first summer, I inspected the gardens and discovered a rose bush planted alongside an ugly old gas meter in the front of the house. "How lovely!" I thought. "I really like roses and maybe it will detract from the ugliness of the meter next to it." I waited for roses to appear....and waited. No roses. Not a single one. The next summer, it was the same thing. It was annoying to have this thorny bush growing...with leaves that I recognized as that belonging to a rose, and no flowers. I decided to just cut it down. Who needs a rose bush without roses, right? I kept cutting it down for the next few years. Then Jamie and I decided to dig it up and get rid of it. We soon discovered that digging the roots out was impossible. It was planted too close to the foundation of the house. We also dug deeper and deeper and couldn't seem to find where the roots ended. We don't know when this rose was planted. With a house as old as ours, it could have been 80 years ago. We were really determined to get rid of it, so we totally mutilated the roots deep in the ground in an attempt to kill it. After we were satisfied, we covered it all up with soil thinking that our mission was accomplished.

The following summer I noticed green shoots coming up where the rose bush had been. I quickly recognized the shoots as those of the rose variety! Seriously? How could it have survived what we did to it? I kept cutting it down for the next few years. Then one summer, I forgot to cut it and consequently noticed a small bud! Could it be? A rose? That year, we got about three little roses and discovered that they were a deep pink color. That's when I decided to give the poor thing a chance. Afterall, it was a fighter! This year (year 16), it is covered with roses! I think it could be a climbing rose, so I am trying to encourage it to climb all over the gas meter.

My neighbor across the street has a beautiful climbing rose bush that climbs up the side of her house. I've always admired it and this morning I got to thinking that maybe I could take a cutting from it and grow its child. I don't know how to do this. Naturally I turned to the Internet for help. I found a YouTube video that had excellent instructions. After I watched the video, I noticed another rose-care video that was about how to revitalize an old rose bush that won't flower. I got curious and decided to watch it. The video didn't really advise mutilating the roots, but it gave instructions to cut it all the way down to the ground, leaving just an old woody stump. So, basically Jamie and I ended up actually revitalizing this old bush when we were attempting to kill it.

I've been thinking all day about this. There has to be some spiritual illustration here, don't you think? There have been times when I think I am being destroyed. My heart has been "mutilated" with intense emotional pain. I've often thought that maybe I can't survive this, but I keep coming back with new shoots. Just when I think I'm doing well, I'm cut back again. Will this ever end? I'm ready to flourish now! I'm done being cut back. I want to thrive! I want my life and spirit to be full of beautiful blooms and cover my ugliness. I want this ugliness gone! I'm ready to come forth as gold.

I've heard that trials make us stronger. I've heard this all of my life. I've been reading about this in the Bible all of my life. I want it to be true for me too. Sometimes I feel like I might have a few tiny blooms on my spirit, but I don't feel covered yet. I thought that the rose bush was hopeless but I was wrong, so maybe there is hope for me yet.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

On Being Wounded

I have been listening to the Chronicles of Narnia series on audio. I read it aloud to the kids when they were little...and decided it was time for someone to read it to me.

I've always known about the Christian symbolism in the book, but somehow it has hit me anew while listening to The Horse and His Boy. There is one part of the book where a lion attacks Aravis while she is riding on Hwin. She ends up with scratches from the lion's claws down her back. She is laid up with these wounds for some time afterwards. Later on in the book, Shasta discovers that it was Aslan who wounded Aravis. He asks Aslan why he would do such a thing. Aslan answers that he will only tell Shasta his own story, not Aravis's story.

I have a story. I have been wounded. As I look back at my life, I see indications that the Lord knew what was going to happen to me all along. He knows my story even better than I do. I couldn't prevent my deep wounds from happening even though it seemed as though I should have been able to. I wanted to set the record straight with those who misunderstood me, but the Lord would not allow me to. He closed the doors time and time again and sometimes didn't open the doors at all.

 I really believe that He wounded me. I have gotten into discussions about this very topic in the past with people who disagree. They would say, "Oh no. The Lord never wounds, but he only allows us to be wounded." I disagree because the scriptures mention that the Lord afflicts. (Psalm 119:75) Besides that, if He doesn't do it...then is He asleep on the job when it happens? Does He hire the devil to do his dirty work? Is He actually a cruel God who stands by and watches us get hurt without coming to our defense? No! Of course not.

God is good. He is just. He has purposes that we don't understand. It really was His plan that I be terribly misunderstood and consequently rejected by people I loved deeply. I don't know if I'll ever understand the reasons why on this side of eternity. I am coming closer than ever to being totally at peace about this. I know the truth is that it was supposed to happen.

Here is a quote that I love from the book. It occurs while Shasta is speaking to a mysterious traveling companion after getting lost in a fog. He concludes that he is the most unlucky boy. This is what Aslan says to him:

"I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you."

He has greater purposes for the "misfortunes" that we encounter during our lives. He is working in ways that we are not aware of. I'm getting closer. Yes...I am.

I only now ask for your prayers that the ruminating about it would stop. It sounds easy to others to simpy stop thinking about it...but it isn't easy. It is like my thoughts automatically gravitate towards this deep groove running through my mind. I would appreciate your prayers about this.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

My Beautiful Children

It has been a while since I have been here. Allen and Audra are home from college. In June, Audra will be going to Beaver Camp up in the Adirondacks. She will spend the summer working as a life guard and camp counselor. Allen had planned on going to Colorado to work on maintaining trails in the Rockies, but his plans have changed. Instead, he will be staying here for the summer. He already has gotten a job with a landscaping company. He will start on June 1st. In the meantime, he has gone up to Beaver Camp to work for a few days. This coming weekend he will be driving to NC to join his ultimate frisbee team in a tournament. Next week, his girlfriend is coming here for a visit. She lives outside of Chicago. Alicia and I haven't met her yet. Jamie met her when he went to IWU to pick up Audra.

This weekend was Alicia's junior prom. This is my favorite picture of all!


Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Winter Hike 2016

Every year my husband and son, along with Ed (a family friend) go on a winter hike in the Adirondack Mountains.
Allen is now up to 42 high peaks. Only 4 more to go to become a 46er! Jamie is up to 9 high peaks.


They hiked 2 high peaks. Tabletop and Colden.


Here are Allen and Jamie on Mt Colden. Allen has hiked to the top of this mountain before, so only added one new high peak on this trip. Both Jamie and Ed added two. That is Mt. Marcy in the background.  They had a great time. I picked them up from the thruway exit on Monday night around 7:30. I'm proud of them!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Devotional Blog

You should check out my devotional blog. Click on the butterfly in the margin on the right. It is so much better than the fluff I write on this blog.

Friday, February 19, 2016

And now, the 2016 list of 51 things you might not know about me

I can't get motivated to work on the story I started.

I just found this old post and decided to try it again. So here we go again....51 things about me that three people will read. And 2 out of 3 people who read my blog are my sisters...so it will be very boring for them.
  1. I feel things so deeply that my heart still aches even years later.
  2. I wish that wasn't the case....but I suppose that it makes me much more sensitive to the feelings of others.
  3. I remember details of events that happened as far back as my childhood.
  4. I'm usually good at and have an innate sense of direction...except for when I don't.
  5. Consequently, I don't fear getting lost...even if I am driving somewhere that I have never been to.
  6. In college, during my undergrad, I studied mathematics...which was a totally wrong major for me. During this time, I figured out that I really wasn't a mathematician. Rather, I was a person who was fairly good at memorizing formulas and then plugging in numbers to get an answer. (Okay...maybe I was a little better than that, but not much)
  7. I was very stressed out about #6, but I was suffering from a mental illness and surviving that took all of my energy. I had nothing left to figure out a better major.
  8. I cannot figure out how I passed some of the classes I took during that dark period of time...particularly during the spring of 87. I am positive that I should have failed my linear algebra class.
  9. I am melancholic and I hate it! 
  10. I'm a pretty good cook. I have even made up recipes that have turned out to be delicious.
  11. I've never been much of a baker. I leave that to Martha.
  12. I miss being a stay at home mom.
  13. But I DO love my job and I feel very blessed to have found something that fits me so well.
  14. I hate the television show: Shark Tank. (It's on right now.) My husband loves it. I think I hate it because I know that if I ever was on that show, I would be chewed up and spit out by the millionaires on the panel. Especially by "Mr Wonderful" who I can't stand because he is so mean!
  15. I can't eat very creamy food....which makes me sad because I love ice cream.
  16. I have given up eating meat that comes from animals that walk on four legs.
  17. I take 150 mg of bupropion daily. If I don't take it, I turn into a depressed recluse.
  18. I shouldn't write a list of 51 things when I am in a melancholic mood.
  19. On the last list I wrote, in 2006...For #32, I wrote "I won't go to a high school reunion." Well...I went to one this past summer and I had fun!
  20. I can speak and understand some Spanish, but I am not fluent.
  21. I really want another dog. I think it would be therapeutic for me.
  22. I married someone who is not a dog person! This is very frustrating to me!
  23. In spite of #6 above, I had absolutely no trouble subbing for a geometry class at Pal-Mac HS two years ago and even went over a proof with them on the board.
  24. I subbed for a trigonometry class next and couldn't remember a thing! I was useless!
  25. I always wanted to be in a musical during HS, but never did it. I was finally in a major production when I was 29. I was in the chorus. My husband had the lead.
  26. I can't go anywhere with my husband where he does not run into someone he knows. I sometimes get annoyed by this.
  27. I love Nicciolata. It is the best. If you haven't tried it, you're missing out. I suggest that you buy a jar and enjoy a spoonful from time to time.
  28. I love Mexican food.
  29. My hair is curly. It never was curly until I was in my 30s. I like it.
  30. The problem with having curly hair (and being the only one in the family with curly hair) is that if someone finds it in the food, you can't pretend it isn't yours.
  31. I suffer from insomnia very often. 
  32. Luckily I have learned to function fairly well on little sleep...which is interesting considering that on my list in 2006, I claim to absolutely need 8 hours of sleep. I've adapted out of necessity.
  33. I hate chocolate bars with coconut in them. Coconut does not belong in any candy!
  34. When presented with a box of chocolates, I usually end up with the one with coconut in it or something just as gross.
  35. I think that all of the chocolates in a box of chocolates should have caramel in them. Don't waste my time with all the others.
  36. My life verse is Job 23:10. 
  37. I sometimes stalk people on the Internet. I'm admitting this because I am fairly sure that most people do this from time to time.
  38. I wonder if anyone ever stalks me on me Internet.
  39. I sometimes Google myself to see what comes up.
  40. I wish I was more adventurous. I'm a bit envious of people who are. You would think that I could just make myself be more adventurous, but I can't seem to successfully do that. I'm very cautious. It is my downfall.
  41. I would like to go to Europe. I never expected to reach age 49 without ever getting there yet.
  42. I DID make it to South America and I'd like to go again.
  43. I can't wear high heeled shoes. It's that trick toe again. (See #20 from 2006) I even have trouble with some flat ones. The cuter and more feminine the shoe, the less likely I am able to wear it without trouble.
  44. I am doomed to wear old lady shoes some day.
  45. I learned to cook simply by watching my mother in the kitchen. When I got married, there were things that I had never made before, but I made them just as if I had because I had watched my mother do it hundreds of times.
  46. My kids never wanted to spend any time with me in the kitchen. This made me sad while they were growing up because I always thought cooking would be an activity I shared with them. I'm worried that they won't know how to cook when they need to some day.
  47. When I was graduating from high school, several people suggested that I study library science because I worked at our town's public library. I thought they were crazy! I swore that I would never do it.
  48. Becoming a librarian was a very good decision for me. It fits me very well and I am very happy in this profession.
  49. I'm still surprised and amused that I have a masters degree and career in my middle age. I never would have dreamed that I would accomplish that. Wow! Who knew?
  50. I have tinnitus. In both ears. It usually doesn't bother me until I am in a quiet room. Recently, I've started going to sleep with white noise playing. It helps a lot. I put it on a timer that is timed to turn off two hours after it starts.
  51. I typically play ocean waves as my white noise. it in no way makes me think or even imagine that I'm on a beach.
And that, my friends, is my 2016 list of 51 things you didn't know about me! Ten years after the other one! So much has changed in 10 years...but I would say that the old list is still about 84% true. I'm still somewhat of a math geek (but not a true mathematician) in that I actually went through the list, counted the number of things that are no longer true, and figured that percentage out.