Friday, September 20, 2013

Mental Battles

When I am at work, teaching my students, correcting papers, and planning my thoughts revolve around my work. Those hours can be long, can be stressful, but they are also full of joy, full of times with friends and sweet children. It's when I walk across the parking lot and climb into my car that the mental battles can begin.

Not, everyday of course. Many days I climb into my car and just go home. But some days, today, I get in the car and the mental battle begins. My mind was whirling in two different directions. I tried to focus on something else, and then I knew that I needed to come home a blog about it. The battle ended.

So what was the first direction? It was the fact that I was going home alone to an empty home. It is full of sweet furry babies, but that's not enough some days. I recently did a Love Languages assessment and found that mine is quality time. Of course, that seems ironic since I spend most of my time by myself. Yet, deep down I long for time with others. I know that I need to be with others, especially when my mind starts battling. But another area I struggle with is letting my needs to be known. So of course, I want to spend time with others, but I have trouble letting other people know that. So my brain battled my feeling lonely and not being able to reach out for help.

The second direction is about football. I know, what you're thinking, but it really sent my mind whirling. When I was a kid growing up in Dolgeville, NY, going to the high school football game was the thing. The high school didn't have lights so Saturday afternoons were spent on the hill watching the game. The hill was the home side of the field. There were no bleachers and fans moved with the ball. The field was just down the hill and the visitors' side had bleachers, but we watched from the hill. Even when I went to Christian school I would go to the games with my friends. When they played Little Falls we would go the minor league baseball field and the game was played in the outfield, under the lights. Those games were always fun. Chilly nights sitting on the metal bleachers were a enjoyable time.

I loved watching football on TV. I remember a middle school boyfriend coming over on a Saturday afternoon, eating popcorn, and watching college football. I remember telling him that I thought it would be a perfect way to spend a day, eating popcorn and watching football. I still think it would be a great way to spend a day.

One of my friends mentioned that she and her husband are going to the game tonight. The high school we feed into is playing their rival school tonight. My first thought was, "I'd love to go to that game." But then the thought made me sad. Memories of watching some football games a few years ago came to my mind. I realized that I would be sad watching a high school game knowing that a certain player wouldn't be there. Knowing that he would be playing a game this weekend but that it would be far away.

Football season makes me happy, especially when I'm watching my 49ers play, but it also makes me sad. It makes me think about what was and what isn't.

So my mental battle could have raged on, and I'm not going to say that I still don't feel lonely and I still don't miss what isn't, but I know that God is working on me. I am still a work in progress, but I am so glad that He is still working on making me the person He created me to be.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Refined Like Silver

I know some of you may have already read the story below, but I think it's a good one.

Some time ago, a few ladies met to study the scriptures. While reading the third chapter of Malachi, they came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse:

    "And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver" (Malachi 3:3).

One lady decided to visit a silversmith, and report to the others on what he said about the subject.

She went accordingly, and without telling him the reason for her visit, begged the silversmith to tell her about the process of refining silver. After he had fully described it to her, she asked, "Sir, do you sit while the work of refining is going on?"

"Oh, yes ma'am," replied the silversmith; "I must sit and watch the furnace constantly, for, if the time necessary for refining is exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured."

The lady at once saw the beauty and comfort of the expression, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

God sees it necessary to put His children into the furnace; but His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for us. Our trials do not come at random, and He will not let us be tested beyond what we can endure.

Before she left, the lady asked one final question, "How do you know when the process is complete?"

"That's quite simple," replied the silversmith. "When I can see my own image in the silver, the refining process is finished."

-Author Unknown

I really like this story because I find a whole lot of my life has felt like being in the furnace. It hasn't always been pleasant, and sometimes down right painful. There have been moments when I've cried out and wondered why. There have been times when I have wanted God to just stop the process, but I have begged Him not to. I have begged Him to continue the process, to finish the refining, even though it is horribly hard. When I read the story above I realize that I want to be a piece of beautiful silver, silver that reflects God. I certainly don't want to be some cast-off lump that was ruined because it never made it through the refining process. I don't want it to be because of too many impurities that I wouldn't let Him remove. 

I want all that God has for me. I want to be the person that He created me to be. I want to reflect Him. Therefor, I must continue to be refined. 

Monday, September 9, 2013


This past weekend I had a huge breakthrough. One a long time coming, but this post isn't about that. Just know that I am a different person than I was a few days ago. This post is about a "test" I took today.

I have a group of Besties (BFFs) that I meet with each Monday evening. We examine aspects of our lives, going deep and talking about tough stuff like feelings, we talk about Jesus, and we study the Bible. This evening we decided to take the Five Love Languages Quiz. It is interesting to see what every one's love language, and some are not surprising at all.

My love language is Quality Time. Here's the brief descriptor, "For those whose love language is spoken with Quality Time, nothing says, "I love you" like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there - with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby - makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful." from The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman.

Now, I like undivided attention, but I think quality time can be watching TV or going to the movies. I think it can be eating dinner together. I even think it can be silent and still be quality time. I do want people to focus on our time together though. I really don't like time to be postpones either.

The failure to listen part I think is ironic since I have struggled with sharing for such a long time. I always wanted people to put in enough time with me to get comfortable to start talking. Of course, that rarely happened. So I never got to talk and that hurt me. If I could have spoken then I think people would have listened. Remember earlier I said I have had a breakthrough? Well, I think that won't be a problem anymore.

That was ironic, but the whole idea that my love language is Quality Time is ironic, because I tend to live more in Isolation Time (or I did!). That is ironic and sad. I needed that quality time with others but instead of being able to receive love I isolated myself so I couldn't. No wonder I felt unloved most of the time! I needed time with others and I deprived myself from it. Well, like I said before, no more.

I guess it is no longer ironic, because I now crave quality time with others and they might want me to shut up, but they will be out of luck!