Yes it’s true. I’ve fallen head over heals in love. He stole my heart the first time I met him and now I get to spend two days a week with him. Who is he? He is the 16 month old son of two doctors, who I will call APL. It’s been a long time since I’ve spent time with a toddler. They have a lot of energy but they also have an infinite amount of love to give.
Observing him as he explores the world and the way it works, is fascinating. I can see his brain working. And when he laughs and smiles at me, I’m filled with joy and happiness. And it is a blessing to be able to care for him. I’d love to post a photo, but since he isn’t my son, I won’t.
Have you ever caught a glimpse of a reflection in a mirror and wonder who it was only to realize you were looking at yourself? That happened to me today. I didn’t like what I saw. How had I completely stopped taking care of myself? There was no evidence of joy. I looked unhealthy and sad. I have allowed almost four years of my life to be wasted. Wasted in depression and sorrow over a toxic relationship.
I think it’s taken all of this time to shake free of the torment and hold my ex had over me. He had trained me never to trust my own decisions and choices. He convinced me no one would ever want me and I’d never get a job. And guess what? I let those lies determine how I spent my time, but no more.
Depression is an ongoing battle which I don’t think is ever cured. It’s more like a disease in remission or an ugly monster which is locked away but manages to rear its ugly head every now and then. So I do anticipate having to continue this battle but I know I will ultimately win the war and find joy and contentment.
Someone I love has cancer and has begun a rigorous routine of chemotherapy. Before my divorce, I would have purchased a ticket and flown west to Las Vegas, NV. My family has lived there for almost 43 years. I’ve only made the full round trip road adventure once prior to this time when my dad died. Then I had a husband and daughter who could help with the drive. This time it was me and my cat.
There isn’t much between central Texas and Southern Nevada. There are long stretches of road which appear endless. And in many areas there is no radio reception. It gives you time for a lot of introspection. The first day was 12 hours. Albuquerque was my destination for the night. About an hour outside the city, the sky grew dark and it rained, hard. I was already tired and my cat was beginning to get restless in his kennel. Heavy rain just added to my already high stress level. But before long, the sky began to grow light and then it turned the most brilliant shade of blue.
It occurred to me this storm is a representation of my life the past few years. I lived with an ugly storm building on the horizon and when it hit, it had 30 years of hurt and heartache raining down. It came close to destroying me. Then slowly, very slowly I began to see a break in the storm. I could hear the faint calling of God’s voice telling me not to give up. And now, even though my loved one is facing cancer, I can see blue sky.
The blue sky of hope is calling my name. It reminds me of the story in Luke 8. Jesus is asleep on the boat when a storm hits. The disciples ran to him because they feared drowning. He utters a word and the sea and sky are calm. That is where I made my crucial mistake. I was so caught up in the drama, fear and pain of my storm I forgot to turn to Jesus. But thankfully our God is patient and he waited for me to turn around and call upon his name.
Webster’s definition (directly copied from Webster’s dictionary).
Simple Definition of cheat : to break a rule or law usually to gain an advantage at something
: to take something from (someone) by lying or breaking a rule
: to prevent (someone) from having something that he or she deserves or was expecting to get
Hear the word cheat and some very vivid images come to mind; an unfaithful spouse, a scam artist, a dieter eating a candy bar, a student who didn’t study but many of us would say we don’t cheat. We might even say we’ve never cheated but upon closer introspection I think most of us would find we cheat everyday.
Whether it’s driving a little over the speed limit, forgetting to signal when we turn, saying we did something like take out the garbage when we actually haven’t done it yet. Or what about cheating our children of precious connection? That’s one of my biggest gripes. It never fails, I always see parents talking on their phones or playing with a tablet and completely ignoring their children. When we give our focus to unimportant things we are denying our children of what they deserve, an engaged and interactive parent. See definition #3-prevent someone from having something he/she deserves. We cheat.
Human beings crave connection. We aren’t meant to live without emotional connection to other human beings. Close personal relationships help protect against depression. But close, meaningful connections don’t happen without time and effort. We spend the most time on the things, people, experiences we value. Like the bible says, “where your treasure is (what in your life you deem important-it doesn’t have to be money) so will your heart be.
If tomorrow you had to make a list in order of where you spend your time and place your focus what would it look like? I’m not advocating quitting a job. But don’t cheat yourself and those you love out of a deep connection by being distracted and focused on the temporary things life has to offer.
Hmm, wouldn’t it be nice if I had only made one mistake but I’ve made many. From small ones to big ones, the mistakes that linger the longest are the ones from which I fail to learn something.
Mistakes if accepted, pondered and if necessary ask for forgiveness are really life lessons. How else would we learn some of life’s most important lessons if not from making mistakes.
I used to beat myself up relentlessly over mistakes. A soul can only take that for so long before it wants to give up. Slowly with the love and patience of my family, I have started to realize I can learn a lot from what happened to me and find my faith and joy again. Without those mistakes, I might not have turned back to God.
My life has changed in major ways in the last 10 years. I became an empty nester, a mother-in-law, and a divorcée. I’ve been a hospital patient, a surgical patient and have become a woman whose childbearing days are over. I’ve moved six times and filled out thousands of job applications. I’ve lost my father, watched a family member fight a rare type of cancer twice and win and I have learned someone else I love is fighting cancer. I’ve fought depression at every turn. I’ve seen my daughters’ father and his family treat them as though they never existed and I’ve watched them persevere through it becoming better women because of it. It has been a crazy and an emotionally and physically challenging 10 years. I’ve experienced some highs, my daughter’s marriage, my youngest college graduation, my oldest getting a master degree. I watched my son-in-law take the Hippocratic oath and become a doctor. I saw my youngest brave a year living abroad. I’ve also experienced the worst years of my life in the last ten years.
They say nothing in life is guaranteed. I’d disagree. You can always be guaranteed life will not stay the same. There will be periods of highs and lows with lots of nothing much happening times. I know I am ready for a change in my life. It’s as though I can feel it coming. I just pray it’s a change for the good.
I was watching a rerun of an episode of Outlander on Starz. Claire is intent on stopping the battle of Culloden. She is also intent on keeping Alex from Mary because she believes Jack Randall is the ancestor of her modern day husband Frank.
I didn’t really think about this when I read the book or watched the episode the first time around. Claire can not change the future. She is wrong about Frank’s ancestors. Her meddling caused all sorts of problems and ultimately nothing changed.
I see myself in Claire. I’ve spent so much of my time trying to “make” things turn out the way I want rather than getting out of God’s way and letting Him handle my life. The more I get in the way, the slower God is to act because He gives me free will and I insist on blocking my own way.
Outlander is just a book, a story but like in all things we can learn something about ourselves. I’ve begun a study of Psalms. One or two verses at time. Following Luther’s suggestion I read for instruction, then thanksgiving, then confession and finally prayer. This simple study is opening my heart and teaching me to get out of the way.
I am reading Timothy Keller’s book “Prayer”. I am hoping it will help me understand how to pray and how to recognize God’s voice. Now I’m not expecting God’s voice like Moses heard it. I’m expecting to hear it as still, small voice. But these last few years, I’ve struggled with faith and staying steadfast.
Someone I love has received a diagnosis of cancer. The future holds chemo, hair loss, radiation and hope to be cancer free. I’ve already lost my marriage. I’m still unemployed with only enough money for a few more months. My youngest is unsettled trying to find a new path. My oldest is unsure whether to start a family when there is only enough money to squeak by. Of course things could be worse, but I want to see God working in my life. I want to hear his voice and know his will.
I do know I allowed sorrow and depression to rob me of what once was a vibrant prayer life. Just like anything good for you which you e given up, it takes a concerted effort to get back on track. I’m about halfway through the book. All I can do is one step at a time.
This is a small country church set in the flat lands of central Texas. Even though it is small it carries on with worship and sharing the good news. For fellow believers I have a question because I need help.
I can’t seem to find hope for tomorrow. I believe in the hope and promise of heaven but right now while I am still on God’s green earth, I’ve lost my hope. My good friend called me recently because of a very upsetting conversation I had with my mother. Even she said if you could just have something go your way, catch a break, get good news, it would help so much. I very much feel like an amateur man’s version of Job. My life doesn’t even begin to compare to his, but my battle with depression creates a barrier to finding hope. My therapist says I shouldn’t need to hold onto the idea of something good happening in my life to be happy and content. Just being alive should be enough.
So fellow believers, how do I persevere? How do I dig my way out of hopelessness? How do I find where I belong when my entire life was ripped away and has forced me to move multiple times in just 3 years. I know my real home is in heaven but right now I need to know where God wants me planted. I’m alone. No local friends. Only been here a month but I’ve but I’ve visited two churches. My heart aches. I just want to go home but home no longer exists. It’s just me and no one else.
I know I’ve asked this question before and it is redundant. I had thought I would spend my life in a suburb of DFW. I had been there for 30 years and never dreamed I’d live anywhere else. Then like so many middle aged women, my husband decided he needed a fresh start with a younger woman. So I am left with not just an emotional and financial struggle but the search for where I belong. Where is home? My children are grown and off pursuing their own lives.
There is no particular place I must live and as the little amount of money I have dwindles away, I continue to search for a way to support myself. I feel so displaced, like a fish out of water. Soon I may have little choice. It will be a very small room at my mother’s house or my car. I’d just like to find the one place which will feel like home, the place I belong.