Friday, September 28, 2012

The Vulnerability of Complete Surrender

When I used to live 5 minutes from work I loved the fact that I never felt rushed to get to work. I loved being able to go to events at school just 5 minutes before they started and it only taking the same number of minutes to get home afterwards. It made evening events not so bad, I still had much of the evening to myself. I was close enough to go to Kate's Skate nights, school restaurant nights, and such. It was convenient.

Now I live in my blessing of a house. I love my home and I thank God for it almost every single day. My drive is longer and I must cross 74 to get to work. Depending on what time of day it is that can be a bit of a wait. Too close the 7 AM and the cars are backed up for quite a ways and it can take 2 lights to get over 74. It makes going to evening school events very inconvenient, but it does allow me the time to pray that I need so much.

Since I started driving, I have been a car prayer. Of course that's the only place that I pray. For whatever reason it is one of the most special places for me to pray. Now my trip to and from work is closer to 20 minutes and I get to talk to God both ways, if I'm not singing, which I'm really good at in the car. :)

This morning as I drove to work I was praying. I was praying about surrender. I was asking God to help me to surrender so many things in my life right now that seem to be crowding into my thoughts and feelings lately. It was a good time of prayer and it reminded me of an incredible instance in my life.

When I was a senior in college I prayed a prayer that resulted in something that I had never experienced before or since. I do not remember the why of this prayer. I don't remember what events were happening at that time. I just remember the prayer and the results. I prayed a prayer of surrender, total surrender. I have prayed to surrender parts of my life before this prayer and also since. This time was different.

The difference was the results. Instantly I felt a peace like none I have known before. That peace was followed by a complete sense of rawness, exposure, vulnerability. It was an amazing sense of knowing that at that moment anyone or anything could rip me to shreds, and yet having the knowledge that I was totally in God's hands. This amazing experience only lasted a day, but it was a long day. I went about my classes, hanging with my friends, and being a senior in college, and the whole time this dual vulnerability/peace in His hands was also being experienced that day. The next day the stripped away feeling was no longer there, but I still knew that I was in a total surrender state.

I only know of one other person who has experienced this, I'm sure there have been others, maybe many others. I only know of one. I know about Carrie's experience because after my experience I told her about mine. A few days later she told me that she didn't understand what I experienced until she prayed the same prayer and experienced the same sense of total surrender and vulnerability.

Like I said, even though I have prayed to surrender to God since then I have never had that experience again.  Part of me is glad that I haven't, it was extremely hard, and part of me wishes I would. As hard as that experience was, the fact that I knew I was completely in God's hands overshadow any other feelings or fears of that day.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Trying to Figure Out How to Deal With the Feelings

Lately I've been feeling, I don't know what word fits best, but not right works. I try really hard to balance my feelings. There was a time when I would stuff all my feelings down and ignore them. That by the way is not healthy. So a few years ago I decided to let God heal me and help me feel again.

The healing process can be a painful one. Stuffed feelings tend to grow infections all over your heart, and my heart was green with gangrene. God had to gently remove the yuck, but even though He was gentle it hurt. It hurt a lot! I spent so much time crying, most of the time I didn't even know what I was crying about. Even though it was one of the worst times in my life it was also the best. I know that sounds crazy, but it's true. I know that God was working so even though it hurt I knew it was making me better.

Since then I have done my best not to stuff my feelings, sometimes that is really hard. I do not enjoy feeling the bad feelings, and I want to stuff them so badly. Lately, I have been feeling those bad feelings: lonely, sad, angry, and hopeless. I have wanted to stuff those feelings away, and sometimes I do. That hasn't helped, because I have continued to feel the yuck feelings, and the effects of stuffing.

My problem now is having the emotions and figuring out how to deal with them. Do I just wear them on my sleeve? Do I put them away when I need to do my job and let them out when I'm not at work? Do I just go through my life, feeling them, and not letting them overwhelm me? That would probably be the right answer, but as a former stuffer I still don't know how to do that.

I want the yuck feelings gone. I want my prayers to work and for me not to be sad, to not miss people, to not be overwhelmed by my job, etc. I figure I have feel these feelings for some reason. I just wish that I didn't. I wish that the people I miss weren't gone to be missed. I wish my job wasn't so stressful so I didn't get overwhelmed. I wish I wasn't feeling sad and lonely.

Why this post? I've said it before that posting is like my therapy so maybe that's why I posting. Maybe somehow it is helping me deal with those emotions and feelings that I don't know how to deal with.

Monday, September 17, 2012

He Always!

I saw this on Facebook and had to share. It is exactly me. I fear what is to come and the pain of the past sometimes cripples my heart. Sometimes it is hard to look up when my eyes are full of my present condition, but looking up to Him is the answer. He is always there. He always loves me, even when I don't deserve it. He always keeps His promises, even if it feels like He is taking too long. He has never failed me and He never will.

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Post Posting Condition

So I wanted to post and let you know that I have this condition that happens after I hit "publish". Whatever emotion I am dealing with while posting seems to go away. It's like I get lighter after the post, like it lifts off of me. I can think of only one time that didn't happen, at least not right away. My last post was about being angry and after my post I wasn't angry anymore. I still have to deal with my lack of faith on this issue, but the anger was gone.

Whenever I have those need to post I guess it is like therapy for me. I have my posting session and then I feel better. I know that I'm supposed to post, because God wants me to be obedient about sharing what I am feeling and going through. Maybe I have to keep feeling the emotions until I post about them. Maybe that's why they seem to simply disappear after I post.

Now, for that issue I'm dealing with now, I was praying on the way to school. I once again had to admit that I can't handle this on my own. I can't see beyond my emotions and my small view. I can, however, put it in God's hand and let Him deal with it. That does make it easier, not easy but easier to wait on Him to work everything out for good in His time.

So as long as posting helps me deal with what I am feeling and experiencing then I will keep posting. :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I Am Mad at God, and No Lightening Has Not Struck Me

I really should be getting ready for work this morning, but I have had a bad few days. Two nights ago I cried, no I sobbed myself to sleep. How can someone else's good news send a person to sobbing? Honestly, I don't know how I can be truly happy for her and devastated at the same time, but I am. I cried so much that I really started to think, "How do I even have any tears left in me!"

Of course yesterday I woke up with a splitting headache and swollen eye lids. They looked grotesque as I was putting makeup on them. I had to go to work when all I wanted to do was stay curled up in bed and not see anyone. No such luck! I'm a teacher, from the moment I enter work until I leave there are people around me. The only benefit of teaching when you are upset is from the moment the kids enter the room until they leave I have no time to think about anything outside of school. My brain is too busy thinking of the million teacher things, including "why in the world did that kid just do that?" (Aside, I have been doing that more this school year than any other. It's going to be a long year!)

Even before getting to school I was driving to school. The music was on and I had no desire to listen to music about God, so I turned it off. The silence was worse. I felt like I was stuck in a silent, dark well I was. So I turned the music back on and God started talking to me. He started asking me questions through the song so I answered. Thankfully, my drive to work is in the dark for most of it and there is little traffic on my route, because I was screaming at the radio. I was telling Him exactly how I was feeling and all of His shortcomings.

I heard that gasp. No lightening didn't strike me and no, it isn't sacrilegious. Do you really think the One who created all doesn't know our thoughts and feelings before we even have them? I am in a relationship with Him and in relationship I am supposed to do real. So, I am!

After school, I went home and tried to just think about anything else. I had already had my fit and had endured a day of school, emphasis on endured, and I just wanted to relax. But I kept feeling this nudge to blog about it. I didn't want to. Why would I want to admit my extreme feelings and my screaming fest? Well, I guess it has something to do with the whole "even if my voice shakes" thing that this blog is supposed to be about. But I didn't.

This morning I woke up to the alarm, which thankfully is music and not a horrific blaring noise. The song, which I have never heard before, and I can't remember the words somehow moved me for another honest moment with God. No, I didn't yell at Him. I simply told Him the truth. I told Him, that I just don't believe Him for this. I have seen nothing, experienced nothing to make me believe Him about this situation. I sighed and knew that He already knew that. He already knows that I am struggling, this is no shock to Him. I'm not mad, not now. I am sad and trying to find Him in this, because He is there. He is right in the middle of my situation. He has it. I can't see that right now, but I know in my heart that He has this. I just wish He would be quicker about it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Innocent Pictures Cause Tailspin of Thoughts

Just when you think you have moved past something, gotten over someone, dealt with a past hurt, something triggers and you are right back there. Know what I mean?

The other day my computer did something weird and for whatever reason it started showing a very old screen saver that I had. It is a series of pictures. I do not have my computer set to use that screen saver and haven't for years. So the computer starts doing weird things and all of a sudden this screen saver comes across my screen. Besides wondering why my laptop has decided to be demon possessed I am freaking out, yup freaking out, over the pictures rolling across my screen. Those pictures sent my heart into my throat!

Okay, so hit the enter button and all is right in laptop world, and has been ever since. My mind though is on a downward spiral. Feelings I had laid at Jesus' feet came rushing all at once. Memories flashed through my mind connected with the pictures. I was sort of in shock. I mean I had given Him all of this and had been at such peace about it all for so long I really thought I was "over it". I guess not.

Okay, needed to pray and get myself back in a peaceful place. That minor crisis averted. Then a few days later a picture shows up on Facebook. A innocent picture that in and of itself wasn't anything to cause an issue. It really is a very nice picture. (And no it wasn't one of those pictures that makes me hate Facebook.) But that picture sent me reeling. I actually was having trouble breathing! My mind went into another tailspin and my thoughts became consumed. That went on for a couple of days, literally my dreams became filled with these thoughts.

Then I decided that I can't let my thoughts rule me. I prayed that God would help me get my thoughts in the right place. Each day since I have to make that decision again. I need to leave it to God. It is an impossible situation and if it is to change it will take the hand of God.

Have I struggled with my thoughts since? Yes, yes I have. Do I need to give it to God over and over again? Yes! I can say that it has gotten easier each time that I place those thoughts where they belong. In His hands.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Weird Ponderings

"Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?" Matthew 7:3 (ESV)

Maybe I am just weird or maybe other people wonder about this too. I wonder about "That Thing" that people find annoying about me. You know how everybody has that one thing, some have many one things, that they do that drives other people crazy. For example, I have known more than my share of people who come into a room and just start talking. They don't care that others were already in a conversation. It's like they think that everyone just sits around silently waiting for them to come and start talking. Are they even aware that they do this? I think the ones I've known have absolutely no clue.

So sometimes I wonder what my thing is. I don't like the idea that I have something that drives people crazy but I know I do. Now I know I can be passive aggressive, really trying to not be, and I know I sometimes don't say things when I should, that I can be vague. I know about those things and a few others. Still I wonder what the other thing or things are. Now, I'm not inviting people to tell me. I don't think my ego could take that. I'd rather leave that up to God to do in His timing.

Sometimes I wonder if that is what the verse above might be talking about, well in part. I know my flaws and still notice theirs. I make comments about them or judge them. But I wonder if it also is talking about how we notice other people's obvious flaws but we have a huge flaw that everyone else notices but we have no clue about.

Okay, I know this post seems random, but I honestly have wondered about this for years. Today I was thinking about it on the ride home from work and thought I'd blog about it. Maybe someone else is like me and wonders about this too.

Monday, September 3, 2012

I Hate Facebook!

Yup, I really do. I hate Facebook! Hate is a strong word, but in this case it is true. The irony is I check Facebook almost everyday. Well, the truth it isn't Facebook's fault at all. Let me explain.

Facebook is full of reminders of what the have-nots don't have and want. I know people who want children, I am one of them, but some of them can't have them for medical reasons. At least once a day there is a post about a child's birthday, first tooth, expected arrival, potty training successes, and on and on and on. The posts I can glance at move on, but my mouse is demon possessed. It never fails that at least once a day it manages to hovers over the right side of the screen where people's likes and have commented shows up. (What is that part called? I remember when it came out and people hated it.) A picture of a cute baby or family pops up or a comment about some kid I don't even know is staring me in the face. I move the mouse as fast as I can.

I understand that longing that grabs hold and makes me whole being want to cry, and I am sure other people feel it too. What's worse is what I scrolled over today, by accident. I friend liked or commented on some one's photo. The photo popped up and had a caption, gotta love the caption. It was of a baby's first birthday and surrounding the baby where five, yes five siblings. The caption said something about it being her birthday and how incredible blessed they were. Two of the siblings were obviously adopted. So not only has this person been blessed with four children of her own, she and her husband have even adopted two children. That photo sent me here to finally post about how much I hate Facebook.

Then there are the "today I am celebrating "fill-in the blank" years married to my best friend". I hate those even more. It really feels yucky, and that is not a strong enough word, to know that so many people have found their best friend, married him or her, and have been together for years, most are double digits, because I'm old and my friends have been married a long time.

By the way, this is a pity party post, and I hate that too, but I'm trying to be open and honest and this is what I need to post about right now.

Now, I don't want people to stop posting these great posts about their babies, children, and spouses. Well, maybe part of me does. :) People should share these wonderful blessings in their lives. And they better realize how truly blessed they are! Because the posts I really hate and make me want to pull people's hair out is when they complain. Yeah, those "my kids are driving me crazy" and "my wife/husband really annoys me when she/he does..." posts. I know people can be annoying. I know kids can drive you crazy. I know that sometimes people feel frazzled and worn out and cranky. But complaining about those blessings that so many people long for that drives me to the edge. (I know that have complained on Facebook about things that I should consider a blessing, like work, and it is wrong and I'm working on it.)

So, now you know why I hate Facebook. But I'm sure that I'll be checking it soon to catch up on today's news. And once again, writing these posts help me deal with the feelings. I could bottle them up like I've always done or I can post them. So I post them. :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Not Liking the Destruction

I really hate destruction! I hate destruction in families. I hate destruction in friendships. I hate destruction in any kind of relationship; work-place ones, teams, groups, churches whatever.

I know that people grow and change and some things in their lives change as they grow. I mean a football player can't be a senior in high school forever. Kids grow up and become adults. They go to school, get jobs, move away. I am not talking about the natural kind of maturing that takes place that brings about change.

Neither am I talking about the change that comes when God tells you to move. He tells you to step out in faith on something and sometimes that moves you out of the comfort of home, the workplace, or the church you attend. That is called obedience and even though it is hard it is important to obey the One who calls.

But destruction seems to be a theme lately, at least in my little world. I haven't suffered from any destruction, but it has affected me. Knowing that a father and son have experienced destruction in their relationship hurts my heart. Knowing that something happened to cause a divide between friends makes me sad. Knowing that something caused a break in a church grieves me.

Maybe the worse part of it all is that I know of the effects, the end results, but I do not know what caused it. It could just be that I'm nosey and it really isn't any of my business anyway. That is very possible! Yet I keep thinking if I just knew what happened, if I could just understand maybe it would be easier. Of course, that probably isn't true at all. It wouldn't change what happened and it actually might make the way I feel worse.

The one thing that gives me hope is I know some of those involved love God. I cling to the scripture that says, "and we know that all things work together for good to those that love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28 NKJV) Those that love God need to continue to, they need to continue to turn to Him and to His purposes. Then they can rest assure that even though it looks bleak it will work together for good, maybe nothing like they expect but good none the less.

Unfortunately not everyone who has suffered in their relationship loves God. I pray all the time that they would love God, that they would turn to Him. There is nothing more that I can do. I do not like the helpless feeling of that. I am not a big have-to-have-control type of person. I am quite the opposite, but in this I wish I had some sort of control that somehow I could fix it, making it all better.

One thing is for sure, all this destruction has led me to a different level of talking with God about everything. I hope that it does the same for those who love Him. I hope that those who need Him will be drawn to Him.