Sunday, July 18, 2010


Well, most of my writing has been fiction and a few opinion pieces I post for another site, but I thought I should take a moment to discuss some of the personal struggles I've had.

I found myself in a pit. So many changes, so much confusion, so little surety in anything in our lives has taken a toll on me. My beloved brother moved away just months after we moved to be closer to him (coincidence?) I know this is not an accident. One minute he got a call that he was losing his job and five minutes later he got a call that they wanted him on a different site hours away, requiring him to move in a short space of time. I admit to being really thrown by this. Angry, too.

I was quite willing to live in this tiny apartment but able to spend time with my brother and his wife. I was so excited about it. But within months they were suddenly gone and I just felt that it was TOO MUCH. On top of all the trials and struggles and disappointments over the last few years, it took the wind out of me.

So much of life seems to be about me getting the wind knocked out of me, being thrown to the ground with a sucker punch and crawling back, standing back up and getting my wind again only to repeat the cycle. I think the point is to strengthen me, to deepen me, to reduce my reliance on myself and my own understanding and to force me to rely on the only wise God. I'm not great at this. My basic training is going on far longer than most peoples it would seem. I assume they must be faster learners. Either that, or I made it through basic training and the training was for a war that I didn't realize had started.

Whatever the case, I was worn out, exhausted, sad and confused. It showed all over me. What made it all worse is that my fibromyalgia has been in a major flare for the longest period yet--well over two years now. Amazing. I was tired of all of it. Tired of the pain, the physical inconvenience, the financial struggles, the losses, all of it.

I let myself get depressed. I know better. I know how to be happy. I've learned that through great pain and long study. I just stopped practicing what I knew. When someone commented on my smile as if it were a rare or nearly-nonexistent thing, I realized what I had allowed. I allowed myself to quit practicing, to quit CHOOSING to be happy. So I once again have chosen to be happy. Trust me on this. It's totally doable. If I can learn to be happy, anyone can. I find it hard to imagine a more dismal soul than me, at least the old me.

The problem of pain and attitude is that it is hard to maintain a positive attitude when you are in pain, but the severity of the effect of pain is increased in proportion to the depth of your own misery and depression. If one can maintain a good, positive attitude, pain is not diminished, but the effect of that pain is. Plus misery drives others away.

Soooooo, rambling as this has been, I have had an attitude adjustment. I allowed myself to focus on the circumstances rather than the one who holds me in the circumstances. I forgot that I am not dependent on jobs or what I can see with my own eyes for my sustenance and my stability, but that I am dependent on one who is not affected or concerned by the things which I can see. he is utterly reliable when nothing else is.

Forward, ho!

Monday, March 29, 2010


I have to ask myself the following questions today.  I believe they came from Tozer, but I heard them while listening to an online sermon from Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church.

  1. What do you want more than anything else?  Honestly examine your hearts cravings.  
  2. What do you think about more than anything else? 
  3. How do you use your money?  
  4. What do you do with your leisure time?  
  5. Who do you admire and what do you admire about them?
  6. What is humorous to you?
My answers, the truthful ones, not as I wish they were, but what they really are, is very instructive to my soul.

What I wish the answers to be is: 1. God, 2. God's Word and the person and work of Jesus Christ, 3. To further the kingdom of God and to care for the poor., 4.  Serving the poor, studying the Word and gathering with other believers to delight together in God, 5.  I want this list to be filled with spiritual giants both known and unknown who follow after God with their whole hearts, and 6.  I want this not to include things that demean others, cruelty, etc.

What is true is somewhat different.  My truthful responses show my heart to be in need of repentance, cleansing and renewal and that I CANNOT do on my own.  My truth reveals a need for God to wash me clean, to renew a right spirit in me, to root out my selfishness and the sin which is still rooted in my heart.  God help me.  I am not who I want to be, I am not who I wish to be, I am not who I was made to be.  I must throw myself on the mercy of God, the only wise and merciful God.  I have seen my heart and it is an ugly and needful thing.

I am, we are, blessed that our salvation and our hope does not rest on this.  I am blessed that God in his mercy sought fit to save me, one whose heart is so unworthy.  Even my response to the Savior is not the beautiful thing I wish it to be.  Oh may I one day truly answer those questions as I desire.  May that really be.  Lord, rescue me from me.  Thank you for revealing the condition of my heart.  Teach me and mold me, cleanse me and purify my heart.  Renew my spirit.  Continue the work you have begun in me.

Monday, February 01, 2010


Each time I come to this site over the past couple of weeks, preparing to post a new blog, I stop short at the words of my previous post. It is awful and sad, but a truth that must be admitted. I have been writing. Actually I've written quite a bit recently--just not here. Where, you ask? Ah, I'll keep that secret for now.

Suffice it to say that the conditions of life have changed so dramatically over the past year that my life is barely recognizable. I thought I would have started school by now, at least, but George Mason wants me to get a lot more credits in before transferring in. I just found that out today, which is a bit of a blow.

Steve just started a new job--one that will last 2-3 months at most. And today, an old boss from Colorado called to offer him a job, thinking he would be back in CO by now. We just signed a year's lease. It would cost us $2200 to get out of the lease, plus moving expenses. Sigh. Is it a job worth taking? Don't have enough details. I'm exhausted thinking about the possibility of moving to Denver, as unlikely as it is.

Monday, January 04, 2010


So a new decade has begun. Not just a new year, a new decade, and I am 45. 45 puts you in a new age bracket on things like Web MD and some other surveys and questionnaires. I don't know why that bothers me. I don't feel 45. I do sometimes look at myself in the mirror and do a double-take. Who is that fat woman with the aging skin, the puffy eyes and the hands that are beginning to seriously wrinkle? I don't recognize her at all, I'm afraid. Who is that woman who lurches down the hall when her joints don't want to work, or who gets down on the floor and can no longer trust that she can simple stand back up again with ease? Who is the woman who needs bifocals?

45 isn't old. I know it isn't. But it feels that way sometimes. I'm a grandma. Me. How did this happen? (Please don't write in to tell me the mechanics of it.) I was a schoolgirl just yesterday...or maybe it was the day before that, but it was just moments ago! All of life was ahead of me as an open book, a blank canvas, and empty stage, waiting for me to write on the pages, to paint brilliant colors or to dazzle the world with my brilliance. How did all that hopeful and fearful expectation come to this?

If I am to be dazzling and brilliant, it will have to be a different way now. Even our colors fade as we get older. Our hair fades, although with the proper shade of Loreal, no one need know. Our skin loses the luster and suppleness of youth.

For some, 2010 is a good place to start. It is the year of birth or of graduation, that first adult job or the start of a hopefully long and successful marriage.

For us, 2010 is a year for starting over. Hopefully we have not dragged too much past baggage with us. It is a challenge to be optimistic, to see this as a good thing. I feel pressure to do and to accomplish.

There is a great paradox in the ideas of doing and being. Some say that we simple must be. We must be in Christ. We must remain and abide and wait. Passive words. Others say we must do. We must put our faith into action. Faith without works is dead. We must get busy about the work of the kingdom, busy with the work of life.

I struggle with these two. I believe that both are true and I don't really understand that. I don't know how to be and do at the same time. I don't know that I understand when it is time to rest and when it is time to work and run the race.

In my body there is a condition that requires being and doing. Fibromyalgia constantly reminds me that I cannot simply power my way through life with will and determination. And yet, I must power my way through many things or I have no life with this horrible condition. I must accept (be) that I have this condition and that it affects what I can and cannot do. And I must do so that FM doesn't take everything away. I sometimes get the balance off. When I feel good I do too much and the ability to do is lost for a time. But if I give in to the pain, I do nothing and have no life and the FM is worse for the inactivity.

So what is the truth? Is there a correlation between the being and doing of FM and the being and doing of our Christian walk? Well, both are balancing acts. We aren't actually doing the work of changing and perfecting us, but we have things we must do anyway. We must remain and abide in Christ and are also told to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

Anyway...John 15 talks about abiding or remaining in Christ, the true vine. I don't understand all of it, particularly the cutting away of dead branches, but I do understand the pruning bit. It appears that the troubles and travails of this life may be part of a pruning process, so that the fruit we bear may be increased. It is to increase the health and vitality of the whole being--me joined with Christ and tended by the Father. All of this loss, all of this pain, all of this trouble may simply be pruning to make me more fruitful. "For without me you can do nothing," the passage states. So I abide in him and he makes the doing possible.

I don't understand this, but 2010 is the year I want to begin to understand this being and abiding and resting in him in the midst of the doing of life. If he wants me to stand still, then stand still I shall, but if he wants me to do, then he must guide and empower me.

What I long for in this being and abiding and remaining and doing is to develop my love for Him. I told a friend of mine the troubling thing I realized the other day--that I am not in love with my Savior, and I don't really love my God. At the moment I kind of like Him. I'm ashamed and embarrassed. It's a hard thing to say, and I am keenly aware that this is not what I have been ordered in scripture. I have been told to Love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind and spirit. I have a Savior who went to all the trouble to become like me, to become human, to live and to die an insanely awful death, to suffer untold misery and horror to pay for my sin, and to make it possible for me to be reconciled to him, and yet I kind of like him? I think I understand the bit in Revelation where God says they are neither hot nor cold but lukewarm and so he wants to spit them out. Realizing that I merely like the Creator of the stars makes me sick to my stomach. I feel like wretching. Maybe God feels this way about me too at the moment.

I don't know how to go from that like to the love that I once had and the love that I never had, so I must abide and remain and ask the Savior of my soul to ignite the flame of love in me and never to let it wane.

May your new decade be blessed in every way, but most of all, may you know spiritual blessings. May you grow in love for God. May we grow in this together.