Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Shepherds Need More Nativity Space

I collect nativities. I have 13 at this point. I would have 15, but I can't find one small one and I dropped and broke the most beautiful snow globe nativity. All of my scenes have Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Well, actually I lost a Joseph at some point so I use a shepherd to stand in for him. I have a few scenes with only the Holy Family. Other scenes have three wise men and a shepherd or two.

Actually, one of my nativities is just the three kings, and I'm not sure that's technically a nativity, but I count it anyway. The three kings get a lot of attention. They even get their own holiday. Their gifts were very important, even though many people don't get their purpose. I've seen the quote about what if three wise women had come instead. They would have asked for directions, would have arrived on time; helped with the birth; cleaned the stable; made a casserole; brought practical gifts; and there would be peace on earth. Um, yeah and Jesus would have died at the hands of Herod's men and there would be no peace on earth. The wise men may have shown up late to the birth, but right on time to reveal Herod's plot to kill Jesus. The gifts they brought were fit for a king and helped that king and his family survive the journey and years in Egypt. As great as the wise men are I have to say I like the shepherds more.

Their story is brief and they didn't do anything like save the life of Jesus, but they were so very important. Their story starts in Luke 2:8 and continues until verse 20. "2. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shown around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11. For unto us is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and laying in a manger." 13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14."Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" 15. When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." 16. And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning the child. 18. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19. But Mary treasured up these things, pondering them in her heart. 20. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them."

There are a couple of things that stuck out to me today that I have never noticed before. The first is in verse 18 when it says "all who heard it". I wonder who the all is? If it was just Mary and Joseph, which is what most of us believe, then wouldn't it have said Mary and Joseph instead of all? In verse 19 is says "but Mary treasured these things, pondering them in her heart", so it would have made sense to just say that Joseph wondered at what the shepherds told him. Plus Mary and Joseph knew already knew that the baby was the Son of God. So who else was there? I don't know, but I have a feeling Joseph found at least one woman who helped with the deliver. Woman did the delivering, and even though there was no room in the inn, it didn't mean that no one would help them. It was the town of Joseph, so he would have had some family there who may have helped them. I believe there were others in that stable with them. The nativity makers will need to add a midwife or two the scenes.

The second thing I noticed, and this one jumped out at me. It's at the end of the shepherds' story: they returned. Returned where? To the sheep. Shepherds never left their sheep unattended, but when God interrupts their night with the good news they leave the sheep and head to the city. After seeing the King and telling everyone there what they heard, they returned to their work. They went back to their sheep. They went back to work! When I looked it up in Strong's it said that "returned" meant to go back with a purpose. They went back because they had a job to do. They didn't just go back to work, but they also glorified and praised God.

It made me think about all the times I have experienced an amazing moment with God and just wanted to soak in it. I am sure the shepherds could have done that. They could have just stayed in the stable and basking in the presence of the King, but they went back to work. They returned to the field and their work, because they needed to take care of their sheep. They went about their jobs and they praised God. I know that as much as I love what I do and know that God has gifted me to do it, I let the paperwork, meetings, and difficulties have much of my attention. I rarely think about glorifying God when I'm at work. I know that doing work as unto the Lord is a way of praising Him, but I don't always consider Him when I'm working. I need to be more like a shepherd and return to my work after this break and glorify and praise Him while I take care of my little sheep.

These are mine. :)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Darkness Has To Be Exposed To the Light

As many of you know I had a very rough year last year. Even as tough as it was I know that God did so much through the struggles I faced. I know that He healed old wounds and brought freedom into areas of my heart and mind. After the year was up I felt such amazing joy and peace! I knew that the mountain top, wind sweeping through my hair experience would not last forever, but I certain wished that it would. ;)

School started again and with it comes certain challenges for all teachers, but I also faced some unique ones. Because of them I would walk into school with one prayer upon my lips, "Lord, please reveal your Truth." I knew what I wanted Him to reveal, but I also knew that there would be so much more revealed.

It wasn't long before some of those unexpected revelations started popping up. Some I kind of expected, but many were surprising to me. Some were about me, some were about people who related directly with me, and some were about people I really had no or little interaction with. You would think I would be happy to see the truth being revealed, but instead I've been more grieved than anything.

I went to God and asked Him why so much ugliness was being revealed. Why was there lies, bullying, and cruel behavior being revealed? His response makes sense, but surprised me. He said, "In order for Truth to be revealed darkness has to be brought out into the Light."

I can't say that I like the ugliness anymore now that I understand that, but I now see why it is necessary. I still pray the same prayer as I walk the halls of the building, and more darkness keeps coming out. Of course, what I want Him to reveal hasn't been, yet. I have to trust that He will continue to reveal things in my life that need to change, and I know that in His time He will revel what I have asked to be. Until then, I will continue to pray for Truth to be revealed and understand that that means I will also see the darkness that the Truth reveals.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How You Make Someone Feel

I was scrolling through the verses and sayings I have pinned on Pinterest for an idea of the next painting I wanted to make. I came across this one, and although I didn't choose it to paint, not today at least. But I did feel it. 

Each week, in school, we have a character trait of the week. This week's is forgiving. Now, out of all the traits I think this one might be the hardest. When I talk with my class I give them a lot of insight into me. I tell them about not being a good reader in school. I tell them about what it was like for me in school. I even told them that sometimes the "mistakes" I make are on purpose, but most the time it's an honest mistake. This week I told them about how kids treated me in school and how it was hard to forgive them.

We act like forgiveness is easy, but since we've all had opportunities to do it, we know that it isn't. I think it's hardest when the person we need to forgive is someone who made us feel badly about ourselves. When someone chooses to put me down for things outside of my control, it is hard to forgive. When someone treats me like I'm not worthy, it is hard to forgive. When someone acts like they are better than me and do it by putting me down, it is hard to forgive. Apologies are nice, but they don't erase the way someone made you feel. Insincere apologies are the worst. One reason I don't make students say they are sorry. I understand teaching children that they should apologize, but telling them to do so when they aren't then we are teaching them to lie. (Think on that for a minute.)

Lately, I've heard a lot of people saying things like "you are responsible for your own feelings". Although that is true, it seems that people say that mostly to excuse their behavior and the words they say. 

I am responsible for the words I speak to others that make them feel badly. Sometimes I realize that my words hurt, but I know there are times that I don't. I can apologize when I do, but I do realize that the impact has already been made. I am responsible for what I do or don't do to people. Once again, if I know it was hurtful I can apologize. But I also know that there may be a long term effect on them.

As a teacher, I want each of my students to never forget how I made them feel. I have to be careful of my words, especially when they frustrate me. Yes, sometimes they frustrate me. :) I have to be conscience of my actions, that they speak loudly positive things to them. It is hard, but I had teachers who made me feel good about me and ones who made me feel less than. I feel it is important that they feel good from their time with me. I also feel it's important that they feel good from their interactions with each other. Therefor we talk about it whenever we need to. 

Unfortunately, I know that it takes me a long time to feel better after someone makes me feel badly. Honestly, it brings up all sorts of feelings from the past. I told my students that when I need to forgive I tell myself,  "I choose to forgive" until I truly know I have. I left off that I also say, "God, help me to forgive." That whole I-work-in-public-school thing kept me from adding that part. 

Lately, I've been hit square in the face with people trying to make me feel badly about me, and it's sent me to reflecting on similar recent instances. Time and distance sometimes helps me to see much more clearly, than in the moment. I have a choice to make, either focus on how they made me feel or to learn from it and decide not to do the same to others.

I feel like this post was all over the place,must be because I'm out of practice, but it was meant to be about how people make me feel. But it jumped around about forgiveness and being aware of how I make other people feel. I hope that I make people feel better about themselves much more than I don't. I also hope is that when I do make others feel badly that I apologize and make them feel better the next time I interact with them.

Monday, August 11, 2014

But Rejoicing Comes in the Morning

The other day a group or friends and I were discussing a person who went through the loss of a parent. She hadn't given herself any time to grieve her loss and her behavior changed. She became hard and inflexible and difficult to deal with. All because she didn't let herself grieve.

Honestly, I don't enjoy grieving, but it is necessary. Not grieving means all sorts of bad things: avoiding reality, hardness, building walls of protection, and missing out on things. I also don't like any of those things, so why not just let myself grieve when I need to? I did mention that I don't like grieving.

Of course, another reason might be that sometimes I don't even know that I need to. I have avoided it for so long that I become numb to what I need to grieve that I just forget about it. How does that seem possible? Well, because I am really good at ignoring things, so that makes it possible. 

Yesterday I knew there was something from my past that I needed to grieve. Something that shaped a lot of my adult life. Something that helped me hid the real me so I could avoid certain relationships. Something that needed to be grieved. But I didn't want to grieve it. I decided that I would give myself time to grieve when I went to bed. So I stayed up later and was too tired at bedtime. Did I mention I am really good at ignoring things?!

This morning I woke up and I knew that I couldn't put it off. I knew that grieving this would bring me one step closer to a healing in my life that I truly long for. This healing is much more valuable to me than keeping a hold on this grief. I picked up my journal and began to write. Soon the tears came and I had to put the pen down. I continued to talk aloud about what I was grieving over and what it had stolen from me, what I had guard myself from. Once I was able to write again I continued to journal about my grief. 

As I did a thought struck me: God never said don't grieve. He tells us to be anxious for nothing, to not fear, to be strong and courageous. He doesn't say don't grieve. Actually He tells us that joy comes in the morning for those who grieve. He tells us there is a season for grieving. He blesses those who grieve and tells us they will be comforted. 

He understands grief. There has been more than one time when He has said to me, "now you understand a little of how I feel." Once when my Chester cat had gotten out and was missing for two months, I heard the Lord say to me, "now you understand how I feel when just one of my children runs away from me." I was grieving! God was telling me that He grieves!

So what is the result of the grieving I did this morning? Well, I acknowledged the truth of how much it hurt. I acknowledged what it cost me, how it made me not trust. It made me acknowledge that I do not wish to continue to live my life based on a hurt from so long ago. I want to trust others and myself. I want to have the kind of relationship that it made me terrified to actually have. I wanted to walk in freedom and not let the anchor of this keep me stuck. I realized that it is okay to grieve. Healthy to grieve. Necessary to grieve. And expectant for the joy that comes in the morning.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

When You Walk Through Fire You Shall Not Be Burned

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
Isaiah 43:2

The last year this verse has been my experience. August 2013 began with a prayer that I thought would bring freedom and healing. Little did I know it would be accomplished through some trying experiences. There were times that I thought the emotions I was experiencing would overwhelm me. There were times of such anxiety that I felt incredible physical pain. I felt like I was being consumed. 

Parts of my past resurfaced and had to be dealt with. Things I hadn't thought about in twenty years came up and I had to face them. Then I had to give them to the Healer and go through the process of having my heart healed. Honestly, so many things from around the same time period surfaced that it was overwhelming at times. As I look back now, I can see how many of those events, that time in my life, helped changed me from a bubbly child to a quieter person. People who know me now, who didn't know me as a child, might find it hard to believe that I used to get "talks too much" on my report cards. I had a lot to say! ;)

There were time over the last year, when I thought it would be easier to just have God take me home than to continue to go through the process. Yet, I also knew that on the other side there would be something so much better than anything I have had to this point. As July started I'll admit I was really starting to hope that this was just a year-long process. I longed for August 2014 and the hopeful end to this healing process. It might be too early to say this, but I feel that I have come through it.

About a week ago I was talking with someone about one of the hard things I had come through, and how differently I had dealt with it, with my feelings. As I finished sharing with her the lines from Isaiah 43:2 went through my mind. No sooner had I thought them, then she was quoting them. I smiled because I felt God was confirming that I have indeed come through the river and the fire, that I was on the other side. Maybe it's too soon to think that this year-long process is over, but since then I have felt an in-explainable peace. A calm, a joy has filled me. 

Do I think that there will be no more testings, no more healing processes? Of course not. I know that as long as I live there will be more healing processes, more parts of my heart that need to be removed so I can become more like Christ. But for right now I feel that I am in a time, even if it's brief, of being on the mountain top with the wonderful wind whipping through my hair.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Accepting What I Have Denied

There is a pain so deep in the core of my being that I have denied its cause my whole life. I don't deny that the pain is there. I have tried to deny how much it truly hurts, but I no longer can. I opened up my heart's ache to the touch of the Lord, so it is no longer possible to deny it.

What I have denied is the whys, the causes, of the pain. There are parts that I have accepted, but parts that I haven't. I have truly wanted somethings to not be true, to not have happened. I have tried to explain them away, excuse them. Last night, the veil was lifted, and I saw it for what it was. I allowed myself to remember what I didn't get that I needed to grow up healthier and more whole than I am. What I don't want to do is stay there. I don't want to stay in the past and let it continue to dictate how I feel about myself now, how I live now.

However, right now, I need to grieve it. I need to allow myself to feel the feelings that I have. I need to guard against bitterness and anger, but I need to allow myself to feel the normal feelings of loss. So I will take some time to feel and let the Lord heal what only He can heal. I know He can and will heal my broken places and help me become the me He is revealing.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Praying to Quiet the Thoughts

The other day I was having not-so-nice thoughts about someone. Even as I was thinking them I knew that I needed to stop. I tried to just not think them, but that only worked for a little while, and the yucky thoughts were back. I could physically and emotionally feel the effects of the thoughts. Then a verse popped into my head.

"If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head, and God will reward you." Proverbs 25:21-22

Specifically, the second part. I know that heaping burning coals on someone's head sounds awful, but it truly is not. In ancient times people traveled from place to place, think of shepherds, since they couldn't just run to the local Walmart to get a fire-starter they had to carry heated coals with them. They would take hot coals from their fire and put them in a box. The box would then be placed on their head as they traveled. That evening they would take the hot coals out of the box and use them to start their fire. Giving someone hot coals was considered an act of kindness. Giving coals to an enemy would obviously be seen as an extreme act of kindness, and according to Proverbs would result in a reward from God.

So what does this have to do with my thoughts? I stopped and prayed for the person I was thinking about and prayed that coals would be heaped on his/her head so he/she would have what is needed on his/her life journey. As I prayed the ugly, unkind thoughts simply stopped. I believe that was God's reward for heaping the coals. In 2 Corinthians 10 we are told to take ever thought captive. I don't know about anyone else, but I find this very hard to do at times. I am a thinker. As a thinker, my mind can go into speeding mode and it is very hard to slow it down enough to even stop the thoughts, let allow take them captive. I believe that by heaping these coals through prayer the Lord helped me to take those unkind thoughts captive.

Now, these heaping-of-coals prayer can be for more than just my enemies. The yucky thoughts I was having were not for an enemy, but rather for a friend. Yea, I just admitted that! I am sure I'm not the only one who has had a bad thought, a judgmental thought, or a even vengeful thought toward someone that I care about. For me it makes the physical and emotional impact even more profound when it is for someone I care about. If I am commanded to give an enemy food, water, and heaping coals, then how much more should I do this for a friend or family member!

Over the last few days a bad thought, a negative memory, and even a judgement has popped into my head. I woke up with one this morning, literally woke up thinking a negative thought about someone. Each time I have stopped and prayed for the person, in a specific direction when possible, but each time heaping those coals on their head. Each time the result was the same. The thoughts were gone, and I know that God truly will put upon that person what he/she needs. Next time you have a not-so-nice thought give it a try and see what the Lord does.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Becoming Myself

The other day I was clicking through my email and deleting the junk. There always seems like there is so much junk! Usually I just click the little box without even viewing the email, you know the ones that are trying to get you to buy something. Well, for some reason I decided to open up one from a Christian book seller. I thought I'd see if there was any fiction books that I might like. Instead I saw a book that jumped off the screen at me. Becoming Myself: Embracing God's Dream of You by Stasi Eldredge. The title made me think it was perfect for me! The little blurb confirmed it.

For most of my life I have been hearing all sorts of messages about what is wrong with me. Some of these messages have been external but many have been internal. I am sure that I am not the only one who has heard them and repeated them to myself. I'm too fat. I'm too quiet. I don't say the right thing. I don't do the right thing. I'm not smart enough. I'm not social enough. I'm too passive. I'm not good enough. I'm too damaged. I'm too broken. Etc. Most of the time I believed these messages. These lies.

There are days when I believe these lies wholeheartedly. They are yelling in my mind and my heart. They keep telling me that I need to change. I need to be fixed. They keep telling me that I need to do this or that. That's the key, or the problem, I. I need to lose weight. I need to speak more. I need to say the right thing. I need to do the right thing. I need to be smarter. I need to be more outgoing. I need to be more assertive.  I need to be better. I need to be fixed. I need to be whole. I. I. I.

After only one chapter of this book, I realize that it isn't I who needs to do anything but let go. God is the one who can. He's in the business of transforming people. He doesn't say, "do this list of fix'ems and you'll be all better," or, "once you start the work I'll finish it up for you." Instead He wants me to just give all of me to Him. He will do the transforming. Yes, there are some things that He'll require along the way, but not as prerequisites. Rather they are steps that allow me to flex the fixes that He is working. Kinda like spiritual PT.

Now, I'm not saying you have to read a book, besides the Bible, to get answers, but for me I think this book has already helped me learn something that I need. God already knows who I am, and He wants me to embrace who I am. He is doing the work to change me into that person. "For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his son..." Romans 8:29a. See it there? He is making me become.

Monday, June 30, 2014

There Is No Real Instant Miracle

Bare with me and read the whole post before you assume you know what I am stating!

Instant miracles. I believe in them and I don't. I believe in them because scripture has them recorded and I have known people who experienced them. But I do not believe they are truly instant miracles. Why not?

The woman who had a bleeding disorder for 12 years sought help from doctors for years.The Bible doesn't give a back story of those 12 years, except to mention the doctors who could not heal her. Being a woman I can imagine how truly awful this experience was for her. I can imagine her desperation as she hoped one of the doctors would finally be able to heal her. I can imagine the devastation each time he said he couldn't help her. Each day that passed brought her to all sorts of places in her heart and mind. She was unclean by law and she could have no husband. A Jewish woman was only of value based her marriage and the sons she had. This woman had no value in her world and she experienced the agony of her disease as well.

Luke 8:44 says her bleeding stopped immediately when she touched Jesus garment. There! There is the proof that there are instant miracles. But this woman was being prepared for 12 years to receive this miracle. She had already tried all the conventional ways to be healed. She longed for relief. She longed to be clean. She longed to be accepted by her culture. There is no way that over those 12 years her heart and mind didn't change. 

I wonder if she had been a proud woman at one time. Maybe she had been considered extremely beautiful. She had money to pay for the doctors so she may have come from a family of means, but she didn't have anymore money. Verse 43 says that she had spent it all on those doctors. She could not possibly be the same woman she was before her bleeding had begun. Now, she was ready. Now she was at a place in her life where she hid herself, low to the ground so she could touch the hem of Jesus' garment. 

He didn't see her. The disciples mention the throng of people and wondered how He could say "someone touched me". Verse 47 states that she realized that she was not hid so she came out trembling and fell before Him. She told Him why she touched Him and that she was healed immediately. He responds that her faith has made her whole. 

Faith isn't instant. Faith develops over time. Faith is made from experience. If Jesus had come through her town when she was a month or two into her infliction she have ignored Him and kept visiting her doctor. She would have not been ready to received her healing from Him. She wouldn't have been desperate enough. 12 years in thought she was desperate. Doctors failed her. He money was gone. She was afraid, alone, and had come to a place where she believed the only answer was was Jesus. At the moment she got to that point she was willing to humble herself, get down on the ground, reach out from hiding, and touch His garment. 

Her immediate healing took her 12 years to get to. 

We are all in a process. No matter what our issue, our wound, our despair is we have to get to the point of being ready to receive that instant miracle. It looks different for each of us. It may be shorter for some and excruciatingly long for others. Her 12 years look like a drop in the bucket for the man who had been blind since birth that was healed. We don't know how old he was but he probably wasn't anywhere near the age of Abraham when he finally saw the miracle of Issac's birth. 

Is very easy for me to say, "why isn't he better yet? Why isn't she over it yet? Why is he not healed yet? Why hasn't her faith made her whole? Why am I still waiting to see the promise of the Lord in my life?" It is just as easy for others to do the same. But none of us knows the moment that we will have finally gotten the right measure of faith to receive our instant miracle. 

I have learned over the last year, in particular, that I need to shut my mouth. I need to stop wondering and critiquing others' journeys. I believe that some of my experiences over these last eleven months, or so, have been to show me that I need to not judge anyone's journey to that level of faith that brings with it Jesus' words, "daughter (or son), be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace." and instant healing. I don't know what God still needs to do in them to get them to that place. Frankly, I don't know what He still needs to do to me to get me to that place. But as my faith grows, I know that I will get there and that others will too.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


This is a hard post to even consider writing. It is too revealing and too raw. It makes me feel "whiny" or "self-centered". Yet this blog and my journey is to be more real, more transparent. There are so many reasons why I internalize my pain, fears, feelings. Some are because of being introverted.  Most are from long ago hurts and pains and not getting what I needed. I hear my voice repeating in my head so many times, "just get through this and you can go home and cry." Everything in me says, "don't let it show. Don't let them see. Be the good one. Be the one who seems to have it all together. Be quiet. Don't annoy people with always having a problem." Satan wants me to be quiet. He wants me to continue to suffer alone and silent. He wants me to feel insignificant. He knows that if I truly see how significant I am, to God to others, then he's lost. So even though I want to continue to just cry it out by myself, I heard this Voice say, "others need to know the struggle. They need to know that they are not alone." That is the reason for this post.

Yesterday was my birthday. It was up there on the list of one of the worst birthdays ever! I had a few wonderful hours that I spent with two friends that made this whole of sunshine brighten a part of it. The rest was awful! I said it was my 23rd birthday, but in all honesty I don't mind the fact that I just turned 42. My skin of a 14 year-old helps me not look 42. I have been blessed with good genes that make me look much younger than I am. But at the same time being 42 makes me sad.

42 birthdays. Up until my very early 20's those birthdays involved family and friends. But the rest have been lonely. I have spent too many birthdays alone. No family around or no friends. A few years ago I decided that I would make my own birthday tradition. I started inviting people to go to a movie and dinner or lunch with me. The first year there were three of us for the movie and four of us for dinner. Last year the group grew to eight or nine people. Last year, I thought "I can do this! This isn't so bad." This year was completely different.

This year I hated the fact that the only way my birthday would be celebrated was if I made it happen. I have attended surprise parties for friends' birthdays. They were planned out by husbands or siblings or friends. I have been part of celebrations that were planned with everyone's knowledge. Once I've seen what it's like to have others plan something for someone whether in surprise or together, I started to realize how much I wanted that too. But that didn't happen. I had to plan my own birthday celebration once again.

Already feeling like I was all alone in my journey, I then got hit with rejection after rejection. Please know that I know other things were already planned. I understand that not everyone can change their life to revolve around me. This is the part that makes me feel whiny! I asked a fairly large number of friends and acquaintances to come. I got a quick "yes" and was feeling good. I was thinking, "maybe a good group will form for this." That "yes" was followed by more "nos" than I don't even want to count. I expected "nos". I just didn't expect so many. I got one more "yes" and then silence. Honestly, the silent answer of "no" hurt the worse. With each "no" a voice spoke that said things like "don't you wish you had a family to go to ___ with?" or "must have been nice that someone throw them a surprised party, huh?" or "you are so not important enough for them."

I was up in the early hours of my birthday sobbing. I cried up until I left to meet my two friends for a burst of sunshine in my day. The movie was very good. Lunch and just talking was enjoyable and pleasant. It was nice just being the three of us. It made it more intimate. But the clouds of my heart rolled back in as I came home, alone. The sheer weight of feeling like I don't matter filled me again. I cried a whole lot more. I checked Facebook to see my birthday wishes, and am truly thankful that I received the ones I did. But there were few, and most were from family. Of course, not everyone of my FB friends are on everyday, so I don't expect a "happy birthday" to fill my news-feed. It was just one more way that the pressure of insignificance could push down on me. I simply closed my laptop.

I wish I could say that I prayed and it was all better. I wish I could say I opened up my Bible and read words that soothed my ache away. I did pray and I did read, but the hurt still clung. I did hear God's voice. I did hear him tell me to "fix my eyes on Him." That helped me to fall asleep last night, looking to Him for the peace that I needed to do so. I woke this morning and wanted to just put it all behind me. I just be quiet and not let anyone know how awful my birthday was. It was hard not to be reminded that it should have been great by the comments made in texts and on FB, but it wasn't. Then I hear that Voice I mentioned before. The one that said that I needed to write this post. The Voice that I would have liked to ignore and just try to coast through the day. I didn't even bother to fight. I knew that He was right and I needed to share.

Besides the obvious of keeping my eyes on Him and not my problems, I don't have any easy, pat answers on how not to feel this heavy weight of insignificance. I wish I could say, "do this 3 things and you will never feel insignificant again." (Say that aloud in a cheesy infomercial voice.) God could have spoken into heart and told me I am significant to Him. I know in my head that I am, now to get to the heart. But instead He choose to let me go through the deep waters of feeling it, with Him right there with me, so that today I would write this post about it. I don't know who needed to hear, "you are not alone" but someone did.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Slow Healer

My Mom was telling me about her surgery and that the doctor told her she couldn't swim until the incision healed completely. She replied with, "I'm a slow healer."

I get that. Physically I am a slow healer as well, but more so internally. Once I have been hurt by someone, whether intentionally or unintentionally, I slowly heal from the pain, but even more slowly do I heal enough to let them back in. I'm certainly not saying that is a good thing. Some hurts take a short time to heal. They weren't all that bad, probably unintentional, and therefor easier to heal quickly. Others take years to heal. They are deep wounds. They may have been unintentionally but their impact was significant enough to cause extensive damage.

Then there are the intentional wounds. The ones that someone did out of anger, malice, cowardliness, or just plain selfishness. Naturally a wound like that, done purposely, makes me want nothing to do with the person. Some of these relationships ended because there was no really relationship to begin with. Some continued for awhile until I realized that they weren't ever going to be good. I was going to keep taking less than best, sometimes taking worst, and the other person was going to keep on dishing it out. Some relationships are so entwined, that they are still present, but at a very strained level. A family relationship would be an example. I know some people do cut family ties completely, but I'm not sure I could do that.

What does being a slow healer mean? For me, it means slowly trusting again. It means not opening up to that person for awhile, if ever. It means being a fast learner. Don't do A again because it results in B from this person. It means not taking risks. It means not trusting. It means not opening up, but rather closing off. It means strained relationships. It means not living a life of freedom.

Slow healing from an incision means not being able to swim until it heals. Not being able to do something that you enjoy, a normal activity of life. Because of slow internal healing I miss out on everyday activities that I should be enjoying. I lose out on being free in relationships. I keep things, like yucky feelings, inside instead of releasing them and getting rid of them.

Like I said, this is not a good thing. Being a slow healer means something doesn't function correctly. The healing process is being slowed by something. I believe I know, at least in part, what has slowed my healing. I am sure that my Mom wishes that she was a fast healer, at least a normal healer, so she could go back to enjoying her pool. She might not be able to become a fast physical healer. I can however become a normal internal healer. Number one, I need to allow God to heal what made me a slow healer. Number two, I need to be intentional. I need to intentionally focus on not exercising in slow healer behaviors. Both of these can only be accomplished through the work of God.

That is what I want. That is what I have been working on. Or maybe I should rephrase that as that is what I am allowing God to work on. Hopefully this deep spiritual, emotional healing will be quick so that the next time hurt comes I can function as a normal healer.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

This Chunk Needs to Go!

Do you know how it feels when a chunk of your heart is being chipped away at? It hurts! That's how it feels. Right now I feel like there is this huge, ugly chunk on my heart that needs to be chipped away, is being chipped away. It feels awful, it hurts, and I want it gone.

Unfortunately, it's not as easy as just wanting it gone. It seems like it would be. It would seem like having an ugly growth on your heart would be reason enough for wanting it gone. It would seem like the pain it causes would be a very compelling reason to want it to drop off of me. The problem is this chunk is directly related to someone hurting my feelings.

This chunk developed over time. At first it just felt like sadness with the way someone was acting towards me. I know that person was acting out of personal issues and not because of me per se. Knowing that doesn't change the fact that it hurt. Eventually I started to withdraw from contact with this person. I was tired of trying to interact and keep being pushed away. It hurt too much. The chunk started to grow. I withdrew and the other person didn't even seem to notice. That hurt. The chunk grew even bigger. That made me angry and, frankly, bitter. The chunk was getting bigger with each passing day.

Today I realized that the chunk is too big for me. It hurts too much. I mean it really hurts! I am tired of feeling this hurt. I am tired of feeling angry and bitter. I am tired of this chunk. I want it gone, so I came to my blog. Why? Because I knew if wrote about it then I would have to be accountable to myself and to anyone who reads this blog. I would be accountable to let it go and in turn the chunk will finally be chipped away. Honestly, I can already feel the difference.

I choose to forgive. I choose to let it go. I choose to change. I choose to let the chunk fall away. I choose to let God be God.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Understanding Hannah's Heart

I love the story of Hannah. I believe that I understand her. I feel the ache of her heart, the desire of her heart, as her story unfolds. It is a short story, well her part anyway, but a very important one. She longed for a son and the son she has ends up having anoints David king of Israel.

Her story begins with a bit of background on why she is grieving. She has a husband and he has another wife. This other wife has children, both sons and daughters. She is not a very nice woman, at least not towards Hannah. She ridicules Hannah because of her lack. Hannah felt all alone. She lived with a nasty other wife and her many children. Her husband even says to her, "Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?" He so doesn't get it!

The family travels each year to Shiloh where they make sacrifices to the Lord. Hannah is grieving and goes to the temple to pray. She cries and pours out her heart to the Lord. But she is silent. I understand that. I think that many people overlook that part of the story. Of course, it plays into the part with Eli that is upcoming, but I think it is ignored by many. She has no one to talk to. She lives out her pain in silence. This doesn't change when she goes into the temple to cry out her heart to God. Her silence is misunderstood.

Eli sees her crying and jumps to a conclusion. He sees a woman crying bitterly and mouthing words and assumes that she is drunk. He condemns her and tells her to stop drinking. He didn't ask Hannah any questions. He didn't try to find out what she is upset about. He just jumps to a conclusion and assumes that she has come into the temple drunk.

Hannah tells him that she isn't drunk. She tells him that she hasn't had any strong drink, but rather she is pouring out her troubled heart to the Lord. He then tells her to go in peace and may the Lord grant her petition.

Hannah ends up having a son, Samuel, as I mentioned, the one who anoints King David of Israel.

I know Hannah's desire of her heart. I completely understand it! I also understand that she feels alone. No one seems to understand her. Her own husband doesn't get her longing. His other wife treats her with disdain. She is silent. No one understands her, so she has no reason to talk about it. The only one who truly understand her heart is the Lord. She pours out her heart to Him, but she doesn't even use words. At least not in the temple. She may cry out to Him with words other places, alone, but not in front of others.

When others are around I am silent. So many have no idea, they can't comprehend what I feel, how I long for my heart's desire. They don't get it! Since they don't I just keep it to myself. I think some are tired of hearing about it.I wonder if Hannah's husband was tired of her crying and not eating over it. I wonder if she ever was caught with tears on her cheeks by the other wife. I wonder if she told her to just get over, to just accept it, to just stop it. Thankfully no one ridicules me because of it. I don't have a spouse so no one who can't understand why I'm not just happy with just having him.

That is part of the problem right there, the no husband part. Someone told me that a friend of ours just assumed I was strong and didn't want one. Wrong on both accounts. I feel no strength and I do want a husband, my husband. People can understand when a married woman can't have children and wants them. They however don't understand that I long for one just as much as a single woman as a married woman would. It is acceptable for her to long and cry and want. It just doesn't seem acceptable for me to have those same longing. I have been told I have chosen this. I have chosen no husband, no children. Well, it's true I haven't chosen to just marry any guy who walks on by, but I would chose to be married now if God had brought him into my life. That's like telling Hannah she chose to not have children, when the truth was that God had not planned for her to have any before Samuel. She needed to be willing to turn him back over to God, to serve God, so he would be prepared to become the prophet Samuel.

Interesting thought just popped in my head. Do I need to be prepared to give my husband back to God? My child? Is that why I don't have them in my life? Am I still being prepared? I don't know. But sometimes I wish an Eli would walk into my life and say, "go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him." And that God will!

Rambling, long post that  originally was going to be about Eli. I have that idea stirring in me still, but knew this was to take a different path as I began to type. :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Exodus 14:14

For quite awhile now this verse keeps making it's way into my life.

"The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still."  Exodus 14:14

It does seem to be a necessary reminder too. Each day passes and a situation in my life brings me more, um I don't know what, the right word isn't coming to me. What I do know is almost every time I think about it all I want to do is cry. I do know that one thing I can't do is anything. That is pretty encompassing! I can't do anything because God keeps bringing this verse to my attention.

I can't say anything. I can't do anything. I just have to breathe and be still.

That doesn't mean that it is easy though. It means surrendering. It means surrendering the hurt it brings me. It means surrendering the words I would like to say. It means surrendering my will.

The verse before this one resonates with me as I type this, "...Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today..." Exodus 14:13. It isn't just about being still. It is one of those fabulous "fear not" verses. I don't think God keeps saying that over and over again if He didn't know we needed to hear it. I know I need to hear it. This particular situation has me scared. I fear that things will not work out. I do have a good reason for thinking it is possible, past experience.

God knows all of that. That is why He continues to tell me "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today...the Lord will fight for you, you need only be still."

My choice is to continue to follow His Word and know He is fighting for me. I know that I will see the salvation He is working on for me today.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Silent Too Long

"Shut up!"

That might accurately describe the person I once was and the person I find myself becoming again. And it scares me to death!

When I started this blog I was finding my voice. I was sharing part of me and what God has given me to share. In August, I asked God to tear down a wall in me and the floodgates opened. I have felt weak, vulnerable, and small. I have felt very unsure of myself. Sadness, anxiety, and fear have become parts of my life in ways they never had before. I feel like the more I let go of, the more I grow the worse they become. The worse they become the more I want to shut up, verbally and emotionally. I feel like I have no defense from people, the Enemy, even myself. 

I have always felt little desire for God. That makes me very sad. I have enjoyed a close relationship with Him and I have missed desiring to be with Him. The less time I spend with Him, the less I hear His voice, the less I have to say. I find myself praying the sad little prayer of, "God, I don't know what to say! I don't have anything to say!" I feel shut up even with Him.

This morning it made me angry! I want to be better. I want to be free. I don't know if the walls I built around my life masked the sadness, anxiety, and fear. Now that the wall has crumbled, or is crumbling, they are exposed in me. Some how it seems very unlikely that God would remove the wall and bring those things into my life. Therefor, I have to believe that they were already there to begin with.

I can say that over the last 10 months I have grown in so many ways. I know God has brought so much healing to my heart. He has helped me become free of things in my past. But over the last month or so I have felt this intense silence. I have taken some hits this last month or so. At work, I experienced an expected blow. Because of it I needed to speak up for myself, which isn't normal for me and was hard but freeing. Unfortunately, I am still waiting for resolution of that issue. Another issue at work, this one human related, has me frustrated and completely at a loss. It's one of those nothing-I-do-is-right situations. I have also had a relationship struggle over this time period, that I feel ill-equipped to deal with. In each of this cases, God has asked me to do one thing. Be still! 

I have wanted to speak up and ask questions. I have wanted to give speak my mind. I have wanted to "fix" the situations. I have cried over the uncertainty. I have cried over the anger and pain they have brought. I have tried to plan out solutions, but each time I have stopped as I remember that I need to be still. God gave me Exodus 14:14, "the Lord will fight for you, you need only be still."

Even though in these particular situations I hear God telling me to be still, I also know that He is saying speak up. In one situation He did ask me to speak up for myself, but then He said be still about it. I don't know if He will ask me to say anything again or in the other situations. I do know that He wants to hear my voice.

He wants me to start talking with Him more. Even if it's just a bit more than "I don't know what to say". He wants me to speak up when He gives me something to say. I don't need to just go spouting off or anything, but when I know I am to speak then I need to. This post is one of those times. I haven't blogged in over a month, but knew today was the day to write. Today was the day I needed to stop being silent too long. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Vision of the Battle

Last night I laid in bed with an anxious heart. I knew that if I didn't give that anxiousness to God I would have a second sleepless night. I do not claim that giving things to God is easy, because it's not, but last night I gave it to Him. I did that knowing full well I would probably need to give it to Him again and again until I finally didn't take it back anymore. Once again, giving it to Him isn't easy and sometimes we take it back and have to give it back again.

Back to last night, as I lay there feeling the freedom of giving it to Him, I prayed for a restful sleep. I prayed that His angels would surround me and I would sleep peacefully. I started to feel drowsy and then I saw something amazing! I do not expect some of you to believe this, but it isn't the first vision I have had. It isn't the first vision into the spirit realm that I have experienced.

I was looking towards my French doors, and even though the curtains were drawn, they were open and I could see a battle taking place. I saw the forces of darkness fighting to get in and the forces of Light keeping them out. I only glimpsed a short portion of the battle, I could tell it started beforehand and I did not see the end. In that glimpse I saw what seemed like fast motion action, but at times the motions slowed to barely moving. I saw swords slice through the air and hammers fly towards their intended targets. I saw red flashes whenever the weapons of the two sides met. I saw that the battle was being won by the angels.Then the vision was gone and I was looking at the closed curtains.

As the battle faded from my view, I smiled and thanked God for showing it to me and showing me that He cares for me. That He cares for my rest. He could have simply let me fall asleep and sleep well, which I did, but He chose to show me that He was protecting my sleep. He chose to show me that His angels were battling for me. For me! That is an overwhelming thought. That is an overwhelming love. His is an overwhelming love.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Lesson from Cleo

Last night I laid in bed and could not sleep. I was tired but my mind just couldn't rest. I tried desperately to shut it off and just sleep, but that didn't work. I sat up and found a straight line of three cats snuggled up on my right side and one cat snuggled up on my left side. She woke up and looked at me, while the others gave me an eye pop and then went back to sleep. I looked at my sweet Cleo, who at times can be anything but sweet, and told her I was getting up. I crawled out of the covers so I wouldn't disturb them and went into the living room. I sat on the couch and said "here I am, please speak to me!" I was meet with silence.

So I started to talk to Him instead. This woke up Riley and she came out to get petted and then wanted out. Following her came Cleo. Cleo came over and started kneading me, which hurts by the way. I tried to ignore her but she was making it hard to. She was walking all over me, purring and rubbing on me. I finally looked at her and said, "why can't I just be like Cleo? Why can't I just come to You and let You love on me?" I set the journal and Bible I had in my lap aside and let her climb in and lay down. She snuggled right in, purred away and took joy in being petted. How I wished that I could be like her!

Now Cleo is a bit of a meany. She has no problem letting one of my other cats know that she wants the space their in or that the five feet that they are walking passed her is too close. Yet she can also curl up with one of them and lick their head. She can snuggle up and sleep by them, when she wants to. But last night, she was all about loving on me and being loved on.

Cleo did stay on my lap for quite a long time, but then just got down and went back to her spot on the bed. Riley finally knocked on the door to come in, she loves staying outside for a long time at night. I decided to crawl into bed and give it a try. I wiggled my way back in between the three sleeping cats on the right and Cleo on the left.

I wish I could say that I just curled up in God's lap and let Him love me, but I didn't. I tried to, but I was angry with Him and wasn't ready not to be. I'm still angry with Him and angry with me and feeling all jumbled up inside. I wish I could say I stopped wrestling and had a good nights sleep but I didn't. I hardly sleep at all. I don't even know why I am writing this post! I just knew I had to.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hard, Brittle, Breakage

The other day I was standing, for far too long, in the hair dye aisle in Target. I had pulled out the flap from the box of color I use to find it again, and sure enough they didn't have it. I was looking for something comparable, and getting frustrated with the lack of choices. What's a redheaded girl to do when the options are only orange and flaming red!? I was about to give up when a teenage girl came down the aisle to check on hair spray.

She went over to the brand she wanted and turned away in teenage disgust and marched back to her mother. "It is soooo expensive!" she moaned. "It costs $20!" I think she really wanted to stomp her foot! I use the same brand for conditioner, so I wasn't surprised by the price tag.

Her mother said, "I can bring you some from the salon."

Unintelligible response from her daughter.

"Besides," the mother continued, "that kind is very hard."

"I like it hard!" the teen shot back.

As calmly as I've heard a parent of a teen respond, "But if it's too hard it makes your hair brittle. And if your hair is brittle that will cause breakage."

Teenage daughter humps off.

I decided that flaming red was not going to be my new hair color, so I left the aisle to continue my shopping. The conversation stuck in my head, and when I got back in the car I felt God speaking to me. I felt Him say that's what He says to me at times. I tell Him what I want or how I want it done, and He responds.

"But that way is hard."

"That's what I want!"

"If it is hard it will make you brittle."


"Brittleness brings breakage."

"I still want it my way!"

"Okay, you can have it your way, but My way is soft. It makes you pliable. It brings you healing and comfort."

The sad thing is too often I don't listen and do it my way anyway! I want to come to a place where I hear Him say that my way is hard, and choose His way instead. I am a work in progress, and I hope that progress leads me to His place of softness, pliability, healing and comfort.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Forgiving the Mean Girls

I realized this morning that I have missed blogging. God has been doing some heart work that has been just for me, so I had to be quiet for awhile. But this morning I realized that part of what God has for me is to write this blog, so I'm back!

Tonight I watched a video done by Sheila Walsh. It's actually the first in a 5 week series called The Storm Inside and the episode is about forgiveness. I've included the link for The Storm Within: Forgiveness. If you have 25 minutes take a look.

As I watched, I knew that there was an area that I needed to work on. I needed to spend some time, days actually, looking at the rejection that I have experienced in my life. I knew I needed to forgive those who had rejected me or who I felt rejected by. I wondered where I would begin, but only for a moment. The long-forgotten named girls from my childhood was the place tostart. The girls who judged and rejected me for whatever reasons they had. I can guess some of their reasons and then there are just some girls who are plain-old mean.

As I wrote in my journal a prayer of forgiveness for these girls I knew that I was really putting down the unforgiveness that I held towards them. As the unforgiveness was being released the rejection of these girls as was being released. The impact is lessened and hopefully one day it will be virtually gone. Why not completely gone?

One thing that I consider a blessing from the rejection of these girls is that I am sensitive to it when I see it in the girls God has blessed me with. Not only can I see and empathize with the girls who feel rejected, but I am also sensitive to the girls who are mean. Okay, not the truly mean girls. I am so glad to say that in 19 years of teaching I have only had one truly mean girl. Part of me felt badly for her because she obviously is missing something in her heart that makes her that way, but the other part of me really struggled with feeling for her. She is the dictionary definition of mean girl.

Anyway, those girls who can be mean at times are that way because they have been hurt too or because of their insecurities. If a girl is open, I can speak into the situation and hopefully help her see that her actions or words are mean. Then there are the girls who are treated meanly. Them I just love on and try to encourage them to rise up over the pain that they are experiencing. It isn't always easy to relive what I went through to help them, but sometimes it is very necessary for my healing and my ministering to my girls.

I know that this is just the first step for me, the first rejection area that I will examine and forgive. Honestly, this is probably the easiest one that I will have to address, but I know that further examination and the process of forgiving will bring freedom.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Work Seems Unending

It has been over a month since I have even wanted to write anything. As I wrote before, back in August I prayed God would knock a wall down in my life. Well, it appears that one wall started a domino affect in my life. He has been knocking down walls, break through glass barriers, chipping away chunks of my heart, and walking me through the refining fire. It has been impossibly hard, but after each collapse, shatter, break, and smelting has come a freedom. I hope at the end of each I will get a break, get a prize for being willing. But no breaks have come, and I guess freedom is to be the prize. Currently is no exception.

I have gone through a few days, well actually a week now, where my heart felt like a boulder was sitting on it. I would cry at the drop of a hat. I would find I had been staring off for a long time, just staring. I felt like I was going crazy. Someone would say something and my mind would instantly start to analyze it and come up with the worse case scenario of what was really meant. Worse than the words spoken, were the ones not. I shared a little of my struggles and was met with silence. It hurt so badly to have nothing said to me. No words of  comfort, or compassion, or prayers. I felt like I was isolated in my pain. The silence reminded me of why I keep things to myself. It felt like no one cared.

I had been told once, by someone I love, that I was in a depression. I was shocked by the thought. I was sad sometimes, but depression. Surely, not! But as I have tried to function this last week with this incredible sadness and misleading thought patterns, I was once again told by someone else, that I needed to see someone about the what it. Of course, being the googling person that I am, I started to look up depression. I am not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. I read things that lined up exactly with what I have been experiencing. I read about ways to deal with it. I read about medicine, counseling, and things I can do for myself. It was good because I couldn't deny anymore, but it was bad because it sent my spinning.

 The pain increased and the doubt flooded over me. The shame of just not being good enough rushed through my mind. I just couldn't shake the thought, "if I was a better then this wouldn't be happening to me. If I was a better person, a better Christian, then I would be going through this." I started to grow angry at God for allowing this to happen to me. I spent years building up those walls so I didn't have to feel anything and now they are down and this is the result! I really thought, "why did I bother?" This is far too much for me. I can't do this. I don't want to. I am tired of the heart work. It is too much, too fast, and it feels like I am getting nothing but more heart work as a reward. I just wanted to crawl into a ball and wait for it to just pass.

This is by far the most agonizing thing I have ever faced. But I am facing it.

Yesterday, I stood by the sink in my kitchen, looking out the window at a North Carolina snow storm and told God, "Do whatever needs to be done, because I can't do this anymore." I sat down on my couch turned on some Laura Story, oh the words in her songs just seem to speak to where I am, and listened to her sing. I replayed the music and sang along. Sometimes I was belting out the lyrics, sometimes barely whispering the words, and sometimes sang them in my heart as tears streamed down my face.

Through all of it I journaled and prayed. I prayed that God would speak to me and as I closed my mouth this song started to play and knew God was talking to me.

Perfect Peace
Stay close by my side
Keep your eyes on me
Though this life is hard
I will give you perfect peace

In this time of trial
Pain that no one sees
Trust me when I say
That I will give you perfect peace

And you'll never walk alone
And you'll never be in need
Though I may not calm the storms around you
You can hide in me

Burdens that you bear
Offer no relief
Let me bear your load
'Cause I will give you perfect peace

Stay close by my side
And you'll never walk alone
Keep your eyes on me
And you'll never be in need
Though this life is hard
Know that I will always give you perfect peace
I will give you perfect peace

The song ended and I just sat with God for awhile. The words sank in and I started to feel a measure of that perfect peace. After some time of quiet I asked Him this question. "Am I suppose to rise up out of this or walk through it?" I haven't hear an answer yet, but when I woke up this morning it was not with pain weighing down on my heart, but rather with the words of a song upon it instead.

And as for the silence I received from others, I'm not going to say it doesn't hurt, but I realize the silence is because they do not understand. They have their own struggles, but this is outside their realm of struggle. It isn't that they don't care, it's that they don't know. That is why they are silent. They don't know what to say. I have to give them the grace to not expect a response from them. Not that I don't need encouraging and compassionate words and their prayers, but I need to give grace in their silence. Because I need grace in mine when I don't have the words to give others.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 and 2014 Blended Together in Tears

I know that some people were partying when the clock struck midnight and 2013 faded away into 2014. I know some people were asleep. I know some were awake but not partying, maybe they were working or worrying about loved ones who were out partying.

I was laying in my bed sobbing. Yes, I ended 2013 in tears and entered 2014 the same way.

It wasn't New Year's that was making me sad. I like New Year's. I am usually asleep because I know when I wake up it'll be 2014, and it isn't necessary for me to stay up until midnight. I was sobbing because my heart was aching.

My heart had been aching for just over a day at that point, and until an hour ago my heart was still aching. Why? Honestly, that is not important for this post. Sorry, this is a between-me-and-God thing. But the process isn't just between Him and I.

It started with a late-night sobbing session that left me with a piercing headache and heart that ached horribly. I managed four hours of sleep and then was up with the furry babies who demanded food. The day however was spent in tears. I prayed. I read the Word. I poured out my hurt to God. I listened for His Voice. But mostly I cried. I finally managed to pull myself out of bed to shower and attend a get together with my family. But when I got home I climbed into my bed and journaled and prayed. My dog decided that she need to stay outside until after midnight barking at the people shooting off their fireworks, the obviously illegal ones based on how loud they were, so while she was outside I laid in bed and cried.

Yesterday, I downloaded three albums of  one of my favorite singers, Laura Story, onto my MP3 player, and listened to them and let the words speak healing to my heart. I also prayed and prayed and prayed. I continued to ask Him to help me with the grief. Every time satan whispered in my ear I told him where to go, in Jesus' Name, and once again prayed that God would take it.

My emotions over the last three days have included: anger, loneliness, heartache, and a fear that I would not shake the sadness and ache. I have read more verses in the Bible over the last few days than in any same three day span. I have read from a wonderful book, Breaking Free by Beth Moore. There are healing words in the book that helped. I listened to the songs on my MP3 player over and over again. I prayed and prayed and prayed. And I cried.

Today, I hoped that maybe I would be able to be beyond so much of the hurt. I tried to do some projects. I tried to read. I tried to sleep. No matter what I tried, the feelings of ache washed over me again and again. I even started to wish for my vacation to be over so I could go back to work, where I would be too busy to feel so much. I crawled into bed to listen to my songs, journal, and read. After I read Psalm 34, it happened. The veil fell and with it came the realization that it was over. The ache was gone. I was able to forgive and knew that I really meant it. I was able to thank Him for taking the ache. I was able to cry tears of relief and joy.

Why did it change in an instant like that? I am not completely sure. I only know that it was almost three full days, and He does amazing things after three days. I also know that He uses the pain and heartaches in our lives to work a good work in us and through us. I do not know what the ultimate glory will be from these three days, but I do know that He will be glorified.