Scared

french-bulldog-4278114_1920I am going to need surgery on my foot. There is no more cartilage in the joint of my big toe on my left foot. My right foot is headed that direction but hasn’t quite caught up. Funny thing is I am scared. I have had multiple surgeries and even a serious one in my back and none of them bothered me like this one is. I had a peace with all the other procedures, but I am not as peaceful with this one.

I know that God has got this, and yet I almost can’t stop myself from saying, “Yeah, but….” something I abhor when others do. This, what seems minor, problem had caused a myriad of other issues. My thoracic region in my back is sore and I cannot turn to see over my shoulder easily, my hips ache and I am more tired than I want to be. So the fix is necessary…..hasn’t made the scared go away.

Guess I need more quiet time and discussion with “Dad”.

Frayed

stress-2061408_1280“I’m Tired I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world…

I know I need to lift my eyes up
But I’m too weak
Life just won’t let up
And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left”

These two verses from the song Worn by Tenth Avenue North are really about how I have been feeling lately. I seem to keep saying, “I don’t like people…” I add today in there, but it has gotten to the point that it’s not just today.

Even people who normally would be those I would consider friends have either disappointed me or just plain ticked me off.

Just the other day I got caught in the crossfire of a power struggle between two people and got seriously wounded.  I never thought I would be spoken to by this one person in the manner that they spoke to me, and I most certainly did not deserve it. I was trying to simply do what I was told to do. It reminded me of my car accident several years ago, I did everything right, but still wound up with a totaled car and an injury that would later cause me to have surgery.

The funny thing is, this all happened in church. Now I know you cannot expect perfection when you put a bunch of sinners under one roof. It can sometimes look like a refuge camp at Sinner Town with the same attitude of a toddler who hasn’t had a nap. However, for quite awhile now I don’t feel like I can do much right and it makes me not want to step out and serve for fear of snap back.

Yes, I am fragile in the feelings department. Living day to day has become a little harder than I expected. Slowly losing my parents, still trying to raise my adult children, and losing bits and pieces of me with each surgery or malady that comes along, it makes for someone who is easily hurt or angered depending on the day.

But I am tired, I am worn…and I am crying out with all I have left.

People are just messy.

Why Can’t Women Fellowship?

people-2567915_1920Why is it as women we can’t seem to get our acts together? Even as Christian women we still stumble into the pitfalls of the world around us. I see it at various churches. I know of a women’s ministry that is more like the movie Mean Girls than it is about lifting each other up and coming alongside of each other. There is a group in the movie called “The Plastics” and to me these are women who don’t have the ability to really show who they are deep down inside and what they struggle with on a daily basis. It’s like saying you know the Bible, but it’s all head knowledge and nothing is really tucked into your heart.

However, even in other instances we as women tend to develop clicks that can be hard to fellowship within. It seems that we become like the 12 tribes and can’t intermarry if we want to keep our inheritance. Why is it that we display this behavior?

Maybe this is why I tend towards being on my own. My flesh every once in awhile will poke at me and whisper, “Wouldn’t it be nice to be part of the popular crowd?” But then I am given a snapshot of the cost of being part of that group and my conscience tells me that I really don’t want to pay that price; I am stingy like that, and not just with my money.

It’s a shame really. God created us for fellowship yet many of us leave a lot of others wandering alone in the wilderness.

Weight Limit

suitcase-4410369_1920If we are honest we have all struggled with our faith or even had a crisis of faith. Let’s face it sometimes when we really don’t understand what is going on the very foundation on which we stand can feel a bit shaky. I know there have been times that I questioned whether God was really in the mix or just sitting by letting it all happen. I have been having one of those times lately, yet I know if I let go of my faith, what do I have left?

There have been a few people in the news recently that have stated that they are moving away from the faith, because what they are believing now is reality or real. You know what? Have at it, but not at the expense of others my friend. A leader in the church no matter how big or small is held to a higher standard and I guess it can weigh heavy on a person’s shoulders, but don’t try and take others with you when you essentially defect to the other side. I can hear the words, “If you put so much faith in a person than you really weren’t worshipping God, but man.” You know what to some extent you are right, but what if that person was the one who helped lead you to Christ? What if their music helped get you through a rough time and turned you to Christ when you had been running away? What then?

Romans 14:21 tells us 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. Now I am not saying that a person does not have his or her right to their beliefs, what I am saying is there is no reason to “take them out” with you. To publicly declare that you no longer wish to believe that Jesus died for you and you will have an eternity with Him and that the world offers so much more and things will be great if you are just a “good person” THAT IS WRONG! If you feel this way, as I said, have at it, but go about your business quietly so as not to shake another person’s faith. It’s like taking someone out on a boat and then deciding for BOTH of you that you need to take a swim.

John Cooper of Skillet addressed this in a post and I personally think he was spot on. He said, “Why do people act like ‘being real’ covers a multitude of sins? As if someone is courageous simply for sharing virally every thought or dark place. That’s not courageous. It’s cavalier.”  It is cavalier, you are now taking people to a place that they don’t belong. Fellowshipping with the saints does not require others to follow you into the pit, but to help pull you out of it.

Cooper goes on to say, “As if they are the harbingers of truth, saying ‘I used to think one way and practice it and preach it, but now I’ve learned all the new truth and will start practicing and preaching it.’ So the influencers become the voice for truth in whatever stage of life and whatever evolution takes place in their thinking.” Again working a bit like Satan roaming about looking for those to devour.

I say to these people stop trying to shake my faith. I wrestle with enough on my own thankyouverymuch without you, the “faces of the faith” coming out and saying that the world’s idea of love one another is so much better than God’s. I will just say it, what sin are you trying to hide or get in front of before it is discovered? God sees it and it will eventually come to light. Was your thinking that you could make it look less ugly if you disavowed what you have been learning and teaching for decades? If so as a fellow Christian I stand with people like John Cooper and call you out on your baloney. Leave me to struggle with my own faith without carrying your baggage too…….much like airplanes, I have a weight limit and you have reached yours.

Human

man-2125123_1920I got a really good lesson recently. I am human….go figure. I, without a doubt, know that I have a strong personality and I still find myself having to stop fighting just to be right. I have to force myself to think, “Do I want to die on this hill?” It has lead to me biting my tongue more often, but there are times that I just don’t stop myself soon enough.

One of the things that will cause me to be less than loving in my response is when another person’s tone of voice is condescending. When I hear a, “what do you know” type of attitude my hackles are raised and I respond in a less than appropriate manner. It’s taken me a lot of work to reign this attitude in. Growing up in my home my best was never good enough. I couldn’t try and not succeed, in fact I had to excel, which led to me many times not even trying.

I have stepped out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways since leaving my home, some 30 years ago, simply because of my husband’s personality which has forced me to be less of an introvert, but also because that still small voice wouldn’t leave me alone and I have found myself in places such as Africa and China.

Now I sit here believing that my inability to quelch my right fighting has lead me to a place that I haven’t been in a long time, or least since living with my parents. I am in a place where I know that quite possibly I have lost something that I enjoyed doing and loved doing it with the people who were involved. It hurts and it’s where I find myself being very uncomfortable with my own humanity.

This one is going to leave a mark.

What Am I Worth

gold-1369453I can’t seem to get my act together. I know there are people that write every day. I know there are people that sit down and do nothing but write so that they have content for days or weeks. I guess I just don’t think that what I have to say is that important or maybe I feel I am complaining too much if I talk about the trials I am walking through.

Some days I just don’t think that I can keep all the balls in the air and make it look effortless. I was talking to a young mother the other day and I was trying to encourage her that if she and her three children were still alive at the end of the day and there were no missing pieces-winning! I think I was also talking to myself in a way. If I got up, got dressed and at least managed to cross off one thing on my to do list then-winning!

I  put so much pressure on myself to “get it all done”. I think I need to learn to be more gentle with myself and remember that God does not measure my worth by what I got done today; why should I. If I have prayed, if I have asked for His guidance, if I have asked for Him to help those who are hurting in my life, if I have cried out because my body aches all the time, if I have asked why, if I have told Him I don’t understand, if I have asked for help staying in His will, I have done a lot.

The second half of the definition for the word worth is; the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated. I know that too many times I measure my worth by the world’s standards. How wrong is that? The world expects far more than I can ever accomplish in the manner which they want to see. God expects me to sit with Him and obey Him. He will meet me where I am and I am worth so much more to Him than I ever will be to this world, even if I don’t get it all together. Even if I don’t write every day, even if I don’t think anyone cares what I have to say.

“6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?
7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7 KJV

Make It Count

memory-4111092_1920I don’t know if it’s a wives tale or not but yesterday it was proven to be true for my mom; it is said that if you take a dementia patient out of their normal patterns the disease shows up in all its glory. Well, it did.


My mom had fallen a few days ago and apparently was still complaining about the pain from the bruises she sustained, so my father took her to the ER on Sunday. The doctors decided to keep her overnight for observation. My illogical resentment reared its ugly head over this development. When I was growing up, I was never allowed to really be sick. I was always told that it wasn’t that bad, or that I needed to stop complaining so much. So, when my dad called to tell us he had taken her to the ER I had flashbacks to all those times, and I was not very nice about it.


My dad had to have a dental procedure and not too subtly asked me to go sit with my mom at the hospital till he could get back there. I got there early and they occupational therapist was helping her to move to the chair instead of sitting in the bed. The therapist was asking all kinds of questions that my mother was answering as if it were 15 years ago and she was not in the world she has been transported to lately. If I tried to correct the answer, I was told that she (my mom) did not want to be called a liar and I was to be seen and not heard (yeah like I hadn’t heard that growing up).


My mom’s attitude wasn’t bad, she was cranky and a bit snappy at times, but overall it wasn’t horrible. Yet, I could see that my dad at 84 and with a fib could no longer take care of him by himself. However, my parents have been stonewalling me at every turn when we discuss any next steps to be taken. As an example, I don’t even know where their paperwork is for the cremation they paid for ahead of time.


The physical therapist showed up and started asking me questions in front of my mom and she was becoming more adjugated, so I asked to speak with the therapist in the hallway. I let her know the situation at home with my parents. I also let her know that they don’t listen to anything I say.

The physician’s assistant then came in and we essentially repeated the same process. She said they would be having a meeting about the patients in a little while and maybe if they spoke to my dad, things would change. I felt horrible going behind his back, but to them I am still very much the child to them. 


When my dad got there, it was like a switch had been flipped in my mom. She became combative and belligerent. She was rude and outright nasty to the people that were trying to help her. I spoke to her much like you do a child that is misbehaving telling her that she was being rude and that was not appropriate. I tried to negotiate her making a choice so that the nastiness would stop, but my dad looked at me and said, “Cool it right now!” I picked up my stuff and I left.


On the way home I realized I still had my mom’s cell phone in my purse, so my husband (who has been my rock in all of this) called my dad to let him know we would get it back to them this evening, since I did not want to speak with him just then. We found out that at least the hospital heard me and refused to release my mother unless my dad signed a paper stating that a home health care nurse would come to the house every day. My dad told my husband that he supposed he needed to apologize (haven’t heard from him yet).


All I can say is that my prayer is that this trial counts…..just make it count.

It’s Been A Long Week

It’s been a long week! I am an alumni of Columbine and it has been 20 years, Saturday April 20th since the shooting occurred on campus. It’s been a week of remembrance, not of mourning, for we remember the lost.

It’s been a long week as my mother slowly evaporates before us and I see and hear my father struggling to deal with the hand he has been dealt.

It’s been a long week as the gentle soul that is my husband lost a good friend. This friend was someone who helped him on his path to a saving relationship with Jesus and he lost his battle here on earth and went home to be with his Savior.

It’s been a long week as my bipolar has gotten a stronger hold on me than usual and trying to quiet my head has been a struggle. It’s like listening to the world around you while a TV on constant static plays in the background.

I have the windows open and I can hear the birds chirping, the dog is softly snoring in the corner and I know it was a long week, but maybe this week will not be so long.


“11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV


I Am Struggling

The title says it all……I am struggling. I am struggling to keep my sanity as my mother’s declines, I am struggling to keep my head in the game, I am struggling with the fiery darts that are coming our way since we sent in our applications to teach spoken English in China this summer, I am struggling not to be ugly to others because I am a swirling mess inside and I am struggling to not rail at a loving God for allowing all these things to go on.

I know that my mother’s situation is not going to change other than to get worse, but I know that I can respond differently. This morning I failed miserably with that task. My father is retiring at the end of this month. Something that I never thought would happen, but at almost 84 years old and having worked for 55 years he deserves to retire. I wish it was because he really wanted to and not because he has to. Anyway, he asked if my son would come over to help my mom for the day. I told my mom when I would be dropping him off three times in a phone call yesterday and I told me father again when he called last night. My mother called again this morning asking when I was bringing my son and I was not patient, nor was I particularly kind. I did not respond differently.

My husband and I put in our applications to teach spoken English in China this summer. I went last year and through the changes in my heart and my descriptions my husband worked really hard to be able to take the time off required. Last year fund raising went so well and this year it’s moving inordinately slow. Others who were with us last year will not be, one family has had a significant emergency which may prevent them from going and others from the outside have been questioning my decision.

I am admittedly not handling the swirling emotions that are vying for time in my head. I am so tempted to push Jesus off the throne of my heart and sit there myself because “I can do a much better job.” I am struggling to find my place and purpose in a time and space that feels so foreign and uncomfortable, and I so want to throw my hands up in the air and give up. Not so I can lay it down at the foot of the cross….just give up. I know I could easily sit in a corner and do nothing while the world passes me by; ok maybe not but it feels like it. <shoulder shrug> I am struggling.

Where Are You Going?

I haven’t been able to write in a long time. I thought that when I got back from teaching English as a Second Language in China that the writing would come easy; it didn’t. It took me awhile to settle into life again after that experience. I don’t think I even wanted to because life has thrown a curve ball as it is want to do at times.

My mother has dementia. At first it wasn’t too bad, she would make me repeat things several times that I had told her or remind her constantly of dates and times of things. Then at Easter it became apparent that it was progressing. Details about family stories were twisted in her mind and she would say to my father, “Isn’t that right?” to clarify her position. My dad would not verbalize and agreement, but by not disagreeing he is, at least to me, avoiding the issue.

I am an only child and most of the rest of our family is either gone or feels no need to interact. Not having that interactions are not what makes this a lonely experience, it’s trying to help my parents when they balk at anything that has to do with what comes next.

There are days that are harder than others because they are a glimpse into the future without my parents. My childhood was not all rosy, but it wasn’t horrible by any means so this new road we are traveling is one of the most difficult I have been on.

I am watching a woman vanish before my eyes, who raised me primarily on her own for the first 5 years of my life without being able to drive. My mom also had 4 heart attacks before I was 16 years old, so many of these years she was raising me from a hospital bed in the living room.  She is leaving us in increments. Sometimes I think this is crueler than if she were taken home.

I am learning the hard way to dig deep and find patience I never knew existed inside of me. Our pastor jokingly tells us that if we ask God for patience that He will allow a trial to teach you patience.  This is one trila I would have been very happy if He had stopped.

So be patient with me because there are days that are much harder than others and I am not sure why I snip and snarl at the ones I love. But there are days that God is my refuge and strength and a very present help in my troubles.