Monday, October 10, 2016

College Visit

Today we visited Grove City College with our youngest daughter. It was a beautiful sunny fall day with a bit of chill in the air. It was a much nicer tour than we got two years ago with our older daughter. It really is one of the most beautiful college campuses I've ever been on.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

More Sadness at My School

I just couldn't bear to write this last night. When I arrived at school yesterday morning, staff members received news that once again a student passed away the night before. Two different students, two separate incidences, 5 days apart.

This time, the student was a senior. It was quite unexpected and shocking. The cause of death has not been revealed to us. Yesterday we were told that an autopsy would be performed.

Please pray for our students, his parents and his siblings.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Path of Pain and Forgiveness



I've been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting this past year about my life, and I believe that I have come to peace with painful events of the past. Today I stumbled upon a poem by Amy Carmichael which explains my journey during the past 29 years pretty accurately.

I have come to the conclusion that the illness I suffered in college was planned by the Lord and that the subsequent events that followed this illness were all supposed to happen. It all went down according to the plan. This idea was first presented to me by a Christian psychologist that I went to see about 15 years ago. I thought that sounded impossible to be true and so I rejected her words. Consequently I wrestled with pain and unforgiveness for several more years. I reasoned that something so wrong and terrible couldn't possibly be part of God's plan for me. However, I have come full circle. By saying that it was all a mistake and that it wasn't supposed to happen implies that it somehow slipped by God, that He was asleep on the job, or that He really isn't in control of the world. If He is in control, but I still think that it was all terrible, then I am forced to believe that God is actually quite cruel.

No. I believe that God is good and that He is in control. I believe that we are given trials to develop our faith and character. It sounds so cliche...but I see its truth in my life. I believe there are certain paths that we are destined for....but I also believe that the Lord gives us choices along that path. I don't profess to have it all figured out. There is a certain mystery to it all. This is where true faith develops. I'll never totally understand the answer to, "Why did that need to happen?" Accepting that I won't understand it during this lifetime and deciding that it is okay that I don't understand has helped.

The other "aha moment" that brought about this change was learning to see my mother as human. One who makes mistakes. I recognize that she carried a tremendous amount of pain in her heart about things that happened in her life too. She was also someone who was good. She was a godly woman who was mostly a blessing to me. I was far more blessed by her than the opposite....but Satan wants to cloud my memory regarding her. I am also a human who make mistakes. God's grace is sufficient enough to cover my own sin. He has forgiven me and He has forgiven her. For me to not forgive her (or anyone else) is to have the arrogance to believe that I know better than God does. That is just more sin on my part.

This past winter, I went to Prayer Central at my church. It is a room that you can go to after any of the services to ask for prayer. I went there to ask for prayer regarding my unforgiveness towards my mother. I didn't tell them my entire story, but I told them that I felt very angry towards my mother because 28 years earlier, she had hurt me very deeply. It took me several years to put all of the pieces together in order to figure out what happened all those years ago. So I went to Prayer Central and told the woman there that I needed help getting past this. It seemed to me that this was the last ugly black talon that Satan had my heart pierced with. This woman prayed for me. She prayed that the Lord would help me get to the point of acceptance...that I would look back on my life and see this as something that just simply happened, and that I would no longer have the bondage of anger that came with it. I thought to myself, "Yes, Lord. This is what I want...to see it as something that simply happened...without all of the anger about it."

I believe that I have finally reached this point. I am not fool enough to believe that the enemy won't attack again, but he has lost this battle. I shared this, because I know there are many people who have hurts and anger over things that happened to them that were not entirely fair. I hope I can encourage at least one other person to find acceptance for what happened to them and to be able to forgive those who wronged them.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sad Day at Wayne

This morning I got to work to find out that one of our students died early this morning from injuries sustained in a car crash last night. He was a junior...age 17. He was 2 months younger than my own daughter. I'm heartbroken for his family. He was new to our district. I don't know if he had any siblings, but I only saw his mom listed as a parent. He was driving the car that crashed. No one else was in the car at the time and no other vehicles were involved.

I just talked to this student last week when he came into our library and signed out a book. I remember our short and seemingly insignificant conversation. You just never know when you will talk to someone for the last time. It's a reminder that the way we treat one another is so important. I'm glad my last conversation with him was not scolding him for something really trivial. I try not to do that with students anyway, but sometimes I've disappointed myself. This is a good reminder regarding that. Librarians can have a reputation for being crabby. I try to break that stereotype all the time.

Upon hearing the news, I immediately went into our circulation system, marked the book as lost, and removed the fine. I just don't want an overdue reminder or bill to be accidentally sent to his mom. Who cares about a book in light of this tragedy?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Knock on the Door Interupted Me...

I've been wanting to share another God Story...but I have hesitated. This one is a little more difficult to tell since it is very sensitive and personal in nature. But I can't deny that this really happened and I think about this event pretty often....because it is such a significant event in my life. It was really the beginning of a turning point in my life. I want to share it in order to testify that the Lord protects and works in very startling ways.

It was about April during the spring semester of my junior year in college in 1988. I had been battling a serious major depression for well over a year. It wasn't any better than it had been when it had started towards the end of October 1986. I felt doomed, hopeless, joyless...everything took so much energy that I mostly just wanted to sleep. Living took so much effort and I had a broken heart besides. I felt an overwhelming sense of grief that persisted day in and day out. It never let up. I felt a horrible oppression like no other that I had ever felt before or since. I did not understand that what I was experiencing was a medical condition that I needed to see a doctor for help with it. I thought that the depression was my own fault because I was such a %#€^~<¥. I even believed that I deserved to feel that way because I had hurt someone I had loved very deeply. The depression was my punishment and I deserved it. The self-loathing I felt was unreal. Although I felt as if I deserved it, I longed to be myself again. I was losing hope of ever getting better. It had already been about a year and a half. I began believing that the only way that I would ever be free from it would be to die. This is the ultimate lie of Satan where depression is concerned.

I had actually been battling suicidal thinking for about 18 months at that point...but kept choosing to breathe and to get up out of bed each day. Most of the time I looked fine to everyone else around me. That was because I hid it from everyone. I was ashamed of myself and this weakness that I felt was a part of my character. That day...I had reached the point of seriously considering going through with it. It was the only way to rid myself of the incredible pain I felt. I went to my desk drawer where I kept some medications. I dumped out a few different bottles of pills onto my bed. I sat down and counted each of the pills that formed the tiny hills on my green bedspread, trying to assess whether or not they were enough to finish the job. I wasn't sure, but I still leaned back against the wall next to my bed, trying to imagine what it would be like to die.

As I leaned back and considered what death would be like, I felt it beckoning to me. It seemed inviting. It seemed like it would be a doorway in which I would step from horrendous pain and loss into a world of peace and happiness. Death looked beautiful. I would be free of this darkness that had brought so much pain and loss into my life. Suddenly there was a knock on my door. I was in a somewhat trance-like state and automatically called, "Come in!" to the person who had knocked. The door opened and there stood a friend from the campus Christian fellowship group. His name was Rich. He looked at me and at the piles of pills on my bed and said, "Priscilla, what are you doing?!" I immediately started to sob.

He told me that he had been in class and felt an urging to come to my room. At first he ignored it because he was a conscientious student. He didn't want to get up and walk out in the middle of the class...or miss the class for that matter. He couldn't shake the feeling that he should immediately leave his class and go to my room, so he finally gathered up his stuff and left the classroom with as little disturbance as possible.

I don't even remember what happened after that. I just remember that he interrupted me and stopped me from doing something that could have ended up badly. I honestly doubt that the pills were enough to kill me, but it was just the fact that I was in such a hopeless state. Also...it brought an awareness of the deception that the enemy brings. The enemy was making it seem like suicide would be a positive thing. This experience made a profound impact on me. It told me that for some reason, God wanted me to be alive. If he wanted me to be alive...he certainly would eventually make me better, wouldn't he? This brought me enough hope to keep choosing life each day.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Beaver Camp Fun-Summer of 2016



This is the camp my daughter worked at this summer. Check her out at 1:38-1:43. She's also at 2:38-2:40...and a few other minor appearances that are quick. I'm really grateful for this camp. My kids went here as campers and 2 of them have worked here. Beaver Camp has made a profound impact on them spiritually.

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."