Egbert is not going to lay down and go quietly.
When I woke up this morning
I rolled over
and there was Egbert
laying on my bed.
Staring at me.
It was time to get up and go grocery shopping.
Little known fact: I’m afraid to drive.
Clearly, I’ve had to confront that fear daily
but I’ve never quite conquered it.
I’m also afraid of parking.
I can’t park to save my life.
I was verbally accosted by a local woman
who objected to the way I parked.
I was deliberately rear ended by a mean old man who
objected to my pulling into a drive through.
I got a speeding ticket on my way to memorialize my mom.
I’m afraid that if I don’t hit something, get a ticket, or piss somebody off,
I’m going to cause a fatal car crash.
I fear this every time I drive.
Driving stopped being fun a LONG time ago.
It makes me feel like a nervous wreck.
Add the longer drive into town going down hill
and all the people who have tailgated me because I ride my brakes
and you’ve got a climate just ripe for Egbert.
I ended up going to the store that is closer
because because fear ruled out the other one.
This one has tighter parking stalls.
So I go extra early to avoid crowds.
I hate that store,
Last time I tried to park there
I ran over those yellow cement barriers.
I was backing up and parked on top of them.
Didn’t even realize it
until I got out and had to re-adjust my car.
The folks in Starbucks must’ve had a good laugh
watching me try to maneuver into that spot.
Took nearly 10 minutes.
This morning, I got my shopping down
Another little known fact:
I am afraid to go shopping.
I only shop when I absolutely have to
and I try to get in as soon as the stores open
to avoid people.
Today I was just glad to have my groceries
and be on my way out.
I use the disabled scooter.
Usually a store employee
accompanies me out.
They called this one woman to help.
But there was a problem…
She was afraid of the scooters
and didn’t want to try to drive it
back from my car by herself.
She knows Egbert!
Honestly? At first I was annoyed.
But what kind of hypocrite would that make me?
My entire morning had been an exercise
in pandering to my fear.
In the end, they made her go with me.
She was an older woman and I could
feel her anxiety rolling off her like waves.
We got to my car and she told me that I’d
have to show her how to use the scooter.
So there I was in the parking lot giving a
tutorial on how to use the handi-scooters.
I had her go forward and then backward.
I responded to her fears without
making her feel like a nitwit for having them.
She needed to make a big U-turn
before going up the ramp back into
the store, but when she did it,
She looked totally confident.
And as I watched her disappear
back into the store,
the lesson was not lost on me.
Her fears, my fears…
will stop us from doing things…
from living life…
from getting outside of our boxes,
if we let them.
No, EGBERT, will stop us from
doing lots of things if we let him.
As far as I can tell…
There’s only one solution:
Death to Egbert!!!
I almost gave up trying to sleep at 4am. I’d been up at 2am and at midnight. The previous times I’d fallen back into a deep sleep. It’s what I normally do. But when I got up at 4am to go to the bathroom, I couldn’t fall asleep. Worry and fear rushed in like a flood and I was trapped. I kept tossing and turning until I finally gave up trying to sleep around 6am.
Last night I’d decided that I was going to skip church today. Another guest speaker and given the topic, I figured it was better for me if I didn’t go. Actually, I’d already decided last Sunday that I wasn’t going to go for the reasons I already mentioned… and given the week I’ve had, it just seemed to confirm that being there wouldn’t be the wisest thing for me. Better to stay home, read my bible, and perhaps watch Valley Bible Fellowship on my laptop. When I turned on the old laptop I got their count down. There was something like 40 minutes until the live service started. So I actually did read my bible.
OBSERVATION: I am a hypocrite. That bible study my boss asked me to start? I had lots of reasons why I couldn’t start it. I even had reasons for why I didn’t want to start it. But the reality is I almost never read my bible anymore. And, yes, I’ve got reasons for that too… but none of them are valid. No pep talks about how I’m being too hard on myself. You cannot take somebody where you yourself have not gone. I’d be a big ol’ flaming hypocrite if I insist to my students that they need to read the bible when I don’t. Does God understand my reasons? Since God understands everything, that’s rather moot. Would God call me a hypocrite? I think he already did this week. Maybe once I get back into his word, I will rediscover my passion for it and I will want to share that passion with them. For now, it’s best that I not compound the problem with hypocrisy.
Last night it dawned on me that I argue with the Bible. If the scriptures don’t line up with my experiences I have a hard time understanding or believing the word. If you’d asked me a week ago if I believed the Bible I would have said yes. Now I’m hearing the arguments flying around in my head when I read scriptures about God’s deliverance or other tough subjects. Rather than believing on the basis of my experience I need to believe on the basis of faith. If God said it, it must be true and my feelings are the liar. Too much of my faith is feeling based and too many of those feelings are rooted in fear.
And THAT’S what the subject of the message was at VBF. It was actually a panel discussion. As they spoke I found myself grabbing for pen and paper to take notes. I stopped doing that a long time ago. I SO needed to hear all of that. I found myself writing down scriptures and being fully engaged in hearing them dissect what I’ve been struggling with for my whole life. One of the pastors said that “Fear leads to worry and worry paralyzes.” I know this. He used the image of a lion roaring: The deer feels fear, then worry, and is then paralyzed.
OBSERVATION: Fear and worry exist in the mind and heart. I was asking God last night WHY I couldn’t just stop feeling the way that I do about work. I got my answer in this message. The more I allow myself to meditate on these thoughts the worse I feel. My fear leads to worry and then I get paralyzed. And since I’m prone to dwelling on the negative, how else do I expect me to feel?
Then they pulled out the old standard: Take every thought captive. I hate that verse because I don’t know what it means. I have NO idea what that looks like because just saying, “I take every thought captive” has never worked for me. I might as well be saying, “Hookus Pokus” or “Bibitty Bobbity Boo.” And tacking on “In Jesus Name” to all that captive taking never made a difference either. This morning their spin made since to me. I’ve probably heard it before, but much like an alcoholic who has to be told several times that he’s got a problem before he actually hears that he has a problem… I heard it anew this morning and it just made sense:
- First, understand that my first reaction to things is usually the wrong reaction. It is me. It’s my will.
- Instead of sticking with my will, I need to get God’s perspective on the situation. To do that I need to read my bible. (Since God’s been telling me this for a while now, it would behoove me to listen).
- Phillipians 4:6,7 – I need to pray and give thanks. God will calm my thoughts and my emotions as I seek him. And since God has been calling me to prayer (I’m thinking of starting a prayer group at school because I wouldn’t be a big old flaming hypocrite) and he’s been calling me to thanks giving (each day I write out my prayer Post-Its with thanks to remind me that no matter what happens, I always have something to praise the Lord)
They said more… but that is what stood out the most. Final thoughts: The things that scare me do not scare God. There is nothing to big for God to handle. My boss does not scare God and God is truly capable of handling her. My experiences are not the truth. They might hold elements of truth, but if my experiences cause me to believe things that are not true of God… I need to surrender them.
This morning I woke up feeling a bit numb emotionally. I didn’t particularly want to get up and go to work. All I have EVER wanted as far as work is concerned is a job that I could do without a lot of emotional drama. Perhaps this time, if I do things differently… if I walk on the other side of the street, things will be differently.
As I was getting ready for work I felt a desire to read the bible on my nightstand. The one with all the dust on it. As I picked it up Psalms 27 came to mind. Not a huge fan of the Psalms it wasn’t a “go to” verse… not like the first chapter of James. When in distress I ALWAYS go there. So much so, I have it memorized. I figured since Psalms 27 was unfamiliar to me God might just be trying to get my attention. I also felt like I was supposed to stand and read it aloud as a declaration. As I started to read, I started to cry. God is CLEARLY with me; knows what’s going on; and is not afraid of Egbert and doesn’t want me to be either:
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?
2 When evil people come to devour me,
when my enemies and foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
3 Though a mighty army surrounds me,
my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
I will remain confident.
4 The one thing I ask of the Lord—
the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
delighting in the Lord’s perfections
and meditating in his Temple.
5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
he will hide me in his sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
6 Then I will hold my head high
above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the Lord with music.
7 Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
Be merciful and answer me!
8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
9 Do not turn your back on me.
Do not reject your servant in anger.
You have always been my helper.
Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me,
O God of my salvation!
10 Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord will hold me close.
11 Teach me how to live, O Lord.
Lead me along the right path,
for my enemies are waiting for me.
12 Do not let me fall into their hands.
For they accuse me of things I’ve never done;
with every breath they threaten me with violence.
13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
while I am here in the land of the living.
14 Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
The meeting started out horribly.
It was also unplanned.
My boss walked in at 7:17
and said that she had time to talk then.
I wasn’t ready.
I hate conflict.
I especially hate it when
I don’t have time to compose my
I also hate it when people
tell me to say what I feel
and then get mad when I do so.
That’s what happened.
She got mad.
I felt like I had to smooth things over
and by doing so,
I was not true to myself.
Yet it was a choice that I made.
In as much as it was up to me, I was going to
keep the peace.
Saying anything else was only
likely to make her madder.
So I shut up and got out as soon as I could.
The test of faith came when I walked out the door
and into my classroom.
I couldn’t focus
but I did not break down in tears.
I did not go home on “sick leave”
I give 10,000 thanks for all the reactionary
things that I did not do.
The meeting ended ok.
And since I prayed that things
wouldn’t go from bad to worse,
I guess that’s the best answer to prayer I’m likely to get.
I think our working relationship is preserved
even if I feel stressed out now.
I also saw it as an opportunity to deal with old mistakes
from my previous job.
I let bitterness set in and it defiled everything.
I am determined not to fall into bitterness.
I am not going to replay the conversation or try to solicit sympathy.
I forgive her.
She is trying to do her job the best she knows how.
It’s not her fault that Bipolar Girl is not a cookie cutter employee.
I am still struggling with my emotions,
but I’m not wallowing in them.
I came home and called my adopted “mom.”
I had her pray for me and I verbally forgave my boss.
Then I went back over my old guitar instruction videos.
Followed by a time of worship.
I sent Thank You cards to the folks who came
to my gathering on the weekend.
And then I watched some videos.
Only for a few minutes when I first got home
did I lay on my bed and give in to tears.
This too is going to pass.
I will go to work tomorrow
even though I’d love to call in sick.
The world is not going to end over this….
or it won’t if I don’t let it.
I allowed that to happen once before,
and it WAS nearly the end of my world as I know it.
And as my usual, I plan to end my night
thanking God for things
and then slapping it on a post-it
to join my collection of Thank You Post-Its
on my bathroom mirror…
because despite what happened this morning,
God blessed me in many clear and present
and I do not want to
I’ve decided that “fear” by any other name
should be “Egbert” because you really
can’t be afraid of anything
I faced Egbert today
and was totally
But God is bigger than Egbert
and I am going to be ok.
And maybe someday if I stop feeding
he will either go away
I have to leave for work in about 14 minutes
so editing is not included in this post.
I have a meeting with my boss today
and I am afraid.
Things may not go my way
and that will mean that things
will go from bad to worse.
This is where being bipolar in the workplace
tests my faith.
fear always wins out.
My faith almost never kicks in
where I believe, without doubt,
that God will actually do anything in this moment.
I know he BROUGHT me to this moment.
I have no doubt whatsoever that God has led me to this
and has called me to persevere,
but I wish he’d tell that to my guts.
The ones that are knotting up even as I speak.
Fear of my boss,
who isn’t actually an ogre (just driven)
Fear of getting replaced
or fired or marginalized…
My friends and I had this huge blessing ceremony at my home
More details about that to follow.
We worshiped God (I played the guitar for my first audience)
and we prayed.
It was awesome.
It felt right.
So it’s hard to understand how,
two days later, things started
to completely unravel at work.
I am not a slacker.
I work hard.
I am ethical.
I try to do my very best.
My best is not good enough.
My disabilities get in the way.
I hold a lot of grumbling and complaining in my heart…
making it hard to really see God when I need to walk in faith.
faith is believing in what you do not see.
I don’t see God today.
All I see is fear.
If I am to triumph at all today
I have to see past what I see
and stare intently at what
I don’t see, but believe in
with all my heart.
I don’t “feel God”
but I know that he is with me now
and he will be with me when I meet with her.
He will be with me when the meeting is over
as I deal with the outcome.
I am trusting that the Holy Spirit will give me words to say.
And I’m asking for the courage to say them.
Out of the silence she speaks:
It’s hard to tell what the absence of posts means on this blog.
No news is not necessarily always good news.
Then again, I might just have nothing worth saying.
The silence is a mixed bag.
I don’t know what to fee,l so I don’t blog.
Maybe I shouldn’t write about what I feel.
I should write about what I believe...
because I ALWAYS believe something.
My thoughts have largely been between me and God.
There’s a few friends and a coworker whom I’ve confided in…
But for the most part I’ve been trying to figure out which way to walk.
The car situation sucked a huge amount of energy from me.
If I’d had to do it alone I couldn’t have.
The health issues?
Can’t remember if I mentioned those…
are being addressed
Work? After many days of really bad days
I had one sublimely good day.
that it gave me hope.
It changed the way that I prayed
And the prayer time was amazing.
Then the pendulum swung again
and I have had one really
bad day after another.
Which changed my prayers again…
now I am praying for God’s highest
for the people at work who mash
because praying that God
just wipe ‘em out never seems to work.
Something minor happened
to make me realize that I am
well and truly alone in the world.
Short of an act of God,
I will probably never see anybody
in my family again.
For most of them
It’s not a sad thing.
For my sister Ruby,
Letting go of someone you love
I realize that this church is not my “canoe.”
This is the second church I’ve attended that used
“Your church is like a canoe.”
You should all be paddling in the same direction.
If you aren’t, then you are in the wrong canoe. If I were to accidentally fall out of this canoe,
only a few people would notice or care.
It is time to look for a new canoe.
At least that’s what I thought
until I found the Sunday morning prayer meeting.
It is connecting me to this body
making me want to seek out other things
that connect me.
This shining gem amazes me
despite all the drama when I moved in
It has turned out to be the biggest blessing in my life.
I can spend my time here talking to the Lord
being open and honest with him
about what I believe…
and what I don’t believe.
I can surrender my feelings to him
knowing that feelings change.
I can pour out the very contents of my
heart knowing that his hands
are big enough to hold it all
without losing the smallest part of me.
Home is where the heart is
and I am finding that my heart
wants to be full of God
and the things of God.
Home is where I can
be still and know that not
only is HE God…
but I can know that I am his.
After years and years of non-stop
drama, I have a place of rest.
How long will I have it?
I don’t know.
But I am so very
thankful to have it now.
Today was the end of an era.
Ten years ago I bought this car. It was the biggest purchase that I’d ever made. I’d had two previous used cars… but the first one was a nightmare of epic proportion. I called it “Camille, the Nightmare Mobile” and while I can laugh at the story now, I wasn’t laughing at the time. I got burned really badly on that car and while the second car was a much better experience, the thought of buying a used cars left a sour taste in my mouth that has never gone away. A colleague owned a Saturn and thought I should go with her to the dealer to get a car. Riding public transit in San Francisco was a huge trigger for me. I could morph into Bipolar Girl between stops on the train given enough provocation. Having meltdowns on mass transit was embarrassing. Buying a car just made sense. I LOVED my Saturn when I saw it. I hadn’t done any research that I remember. It didn’t know the MSRP. We went into the dealer and I fell in love with the suicide doors, the spoiler, and the color. And the eyes. My car had very distinctive eyes.
Oddly enough, Bipolar Girl used to moonlight as Good Credit Girl (which is odd for people with BPD – we tend to be compulsive spenders with lots of debt). But my credit was so pristine back then, I was able to get my car for $0 down/ 0 Interest. The dealer jokingly asked if I wanted to buy a second car as a spare. Me? I was just happy to have the one. That night I kept looking out the window to see if my car was still parked out front. From that time to today there have been a lot of memories and a lot of meltdowns in that car. Having to decommission it without even getting to see it one last time was hard. Trying to replace it with another car was even harder.
One aspect about my disorder that I still hate and will probably hate until the day that I die is that I am prone to hysteria. From the minute I had the initial trouble with my car I could feel the hysteria building, clawing it’s way up my throat trying to choke the life out of me. Add the stress about my health and the work drama… and I was a cauldron of seething emotion just waiting to explode. I got a taste of it the other night. Out of NOWHERE tears and anxiety just started spewing out. I almost posted about it, but opted not to. I wasn’t looking for sympathy or pep talks. I didn’t want my friends who read my blog to think it was more than what it was. It wasn’t a full fledged meltdown, but I was beginning to question my entire existence. Nothing I had ever done seemed to matter or amount to anything. The car, the health, work… it all seemed so meaningless.
And that’s when God spoke into my madness. Rather than have somebody come by to tell me not to feel that way… God used King Solomon to tell me that I was right. My life IS meaningless and so are all the things (good or bad) that I had done. Everything is meaningless apart from God. If I seek to find happiness in possessions or my actions or the actions of others… I am bound to be disappointed. My Saturn? As much as I loved it – it disappointed me. When I really didn’t need to be buying a car, my old friend let me down. Or rather I let my car down. I didn’t maintain it properly. And blaming it on Bipolar Girl only makes sense until I remember that I AM Bipolar Girl… so it’s my fault. Essentially, I killed my old friend. Time to change my ways.
The car I bought today is as different from my Saturn… which is actually not my Saturn anymore (they gave me $250 in trade) as any car could possibly be. Seeing as I thought I’d have to pay them to take it off my hands – I accepted that $250 and I’m not complaining. Take the money and run. MOVE ON. God has been slowly dragging me into “what comes next” even though I’ve been kicking and screaming. Left to my own devices, I wouldn’t change ANYTHING. EVER. I would have kept my 10 year old car. I was willing to live in my critter infested home another year. I have the same 15 year old t-shirts and I still wear them. I’m holding my old watch together with a rubber band. I still wear the same style beret that I wore back in college. I eat the same foods pretty much every day. I’ve had the same email address for over a decade. And I won’t go into detail about my shoes. Change only really happens in my life when things explode, implode, or fall apart. I wish I could say that I hear God say, “Go” and I go, but that’d be a lie. I generally want to stick my toe in the waters to test things. I’d have been one of the 12 spies who come back and reported that the land was great… but the GIANTS! Oh, the GIANTS!
I am a coward.
I hate change. It scares me. Badly. Then, once I’m good and scared I have a meltdown and meltdowns are NEVER pretty. The idea of having to go out and buy a new car today was so terrifying to me it was ridiculous. People kept telling me what I should do, not realizing that it was feeding the fear. Finally, I got a friend who used to be a manager at a dealership to go with me. He was under strict orders to slap me around if I started to get hysterical or cry. I wasn’t certain that this wouldn’t happen and I would have died of embarrassment if it had. This friend was from my old church (which is a whole ‘nother post)… and he was a HUGE help. He listened. He prayed. He advised. He didn’t just tell me what to do and expect that I’d actually be capable of carrying it out. I feel good about this car. If this car turns out to be a clunker, it won’t be from lack of wise counsel. We even went on a half-hour test drive of my choosing. Then we sat down to talk numbers. That’s where I got a shocker…. I already knew that my credit rating was great. I planned to ask for $0 down/0 Interest like with my Saturn. Turns out my credit score was WAY better than I thought it was. WAY. I got a really sweet deal on this car. I liked it and my friend approved. No room for terror. No room for hysterics. I didn’t feel the same giddiness that I felt when I bought my Saturn, but this just felt right.
So here I sit in my new home – that I NEVER would have chosen for me. I see the most AMAZING sunset handcrafted by God. Sure, I freeze my butt off in the morning, but I’m not freezing now. I wanted to live in town closer to all of the shops, but this place is perfect for me aside from all the weirdness with the landlord. When I come home I feel safe here. I feel a safety that I never felt in my old place. I am not afraid. I feel a peace here that I never felt when I lived with other people. I have a running conversation with Jesus all day and I don’t have to worry about who hears me. And outside? Sits the new car that God prompted me to buy. I wouldn’t have bought it had my old car not failed. And the funny thing about that? The horrible noises my car made that scared the everlasting Gobstoppers out of me? I think I already posted that the noise wasn’t coming from my car. It was coming from the road! It was this new safety feature that they’ve carved into the road to slow folks down or keep them away from the center divide. When you drive over it it makes a god-awful noise. Whatever it is, if I hadn’t run over that I never would have found out my car was on its last legs until it was too late. I was able to avoid an accident and I KNOW that God protected me. I didn’t take care of my car, but he did. He was letting me know it was time to move on to whatever came next.
It was like God was loudly calling out to me, “NEXT!!!!”
I can either continue to cling to things that have long since passed their expiration date or I can take a good long look at my life and let God get rid of everything that needs to go. Right now it seems to be possessions and home…. but next week it’s going to be health issues. And eventually, he’s going to point out mindsets and beliefs that I cling to that do not honor him. Those things will have to go just as much as my house, my car, my diet… and as much as I HATE change, when God calls out, “Next!” The wise answer will be to take my toe out of the water, put my shoes back on, and step up and say, “Here I am.”
Last Sunday somebody told me something I’d never heard before, but has been around the block a few decades:
Faith that cannot be tested, cannot be trusted.
Since the book of James in the New Testament has always been my favorite book of the bible, this sound byte was really meaningful to me. There are some who would be quick to rebuke Satan for all the things that are happening to me right now. I would not be one of those people. I don’t even want people to pray that Satan would stop what he’s doing because they might just be blaming Satan for something God is doing. The testing of my faith produces perseverance?? I would say that I am persevering long past the point I would have given up a year ago. Six years ago all of this would have made me suicidal. Six months ago I might have gotten angry at God for letting even MORE stuff happen to me. Now? I’m not angry. I am trying to focus on how I can thank God. Am I happy about all of this?? They don’t make medication strong enough to make me happy about all of this… but since God wants us to rejoice in trials, I can safely say that I’ve got my rejoice on most of the time.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had my hysterical moments too. I kinda bit my friend’s head off the other day even while I could appreciate the fact that God had her call me at the exact moment where my phone was actually on. I was on the verge of a hysterical meltdown and I was at school. Definitely NOT the place for an hysterical meltdown. So God sent the one person who could have prayed me through that successfully.
When I moved I KNEW that I was listening to God. I knew there’d be challenges. Trials even… but I didn’t expect for the bottom to fall out of my world right after I put the key in the door. I didn’t expect to start hemorrhaging cash as I had to deal with unexpected medical tests, a rental car, buying a new car, and other new move in costs. But God knew. There isn’t anything about any period in my life that he isn’t aware of. God gave me the perfect home and then walled me in with trials on all sides, not to hurt me… but to test my faith. Because God knows better than I that faith that cannot be tested, cannot be trusted. God trusts me and he wants me to trust him. No matter what.
There is no guarantee that my doctor will find out what ails me or that if he finds it, he can fix it. I am REALLY hoping that it’s not that neurological disorder that killed my niece. But since I believe that God said that this sickness would not end in death, I’m honestly no worried about that if I am honest rather than dramatic. I am deciding now that the outcome is not important. God is still God whether the doctor can fix me or if he becomes the bearer of more bad new. I am placing the outcome well and truly in God’s hands. That doesn’t mean I won’t still have mood swings about this… but I’m really hoping God heals my faith before he heals my body.
For what comes next? I found out my Saturn’s current Kelley Blue Book value is decidedly less that $2000. I pains me that I Bipolared this car into the ground. All those periods of depression where I could barely function? I never did what I needed to do to take care of my car. Ten years of bad substandard maintenance. I wasn’t a good steward because of my mental illness. Not an excuse. Just an explanation. I now know that I need a contingency plan to care for this new car when I’m incapable of taking car of this car due to health problems. What that looks like, only God knows. And he knows what car’s going to come next. He knows about my stress in trying to buy this on my own, so he prompted me to go back home. I pretty much swore up and down and backwards that I would not go home. I would not return to my old church. Not because it was bad… but because. When the car crisis popped up I thought of everybody I know only to realize that the only person I even vaguely know who could help me navigate Car Crisis 2013 was a man from my old church who used to sell cars.
Some people believe that you can never go home. If you look at my bio family, you’d agree that to do so would be unwise at best and completely crazy at worse. Going home to my biological family for my mom’s funeral was out of the question. They would have eaten me alive, spit out the bones, and then picked their teeth with them. I am not mentally or emotionally strong enough to deal with going home to my biological family. My church family? I was nervous to call him because there was no real closure when I left. I was there one Sunday and then I wasn’t. I didn’t say goodbyes. I couldn’t. But he was all that was gracious when he took my call. I explained the situation and he seemed happy to help me. We’ll be going next weekend to buy a car. I would not have made the call were I not in crisis, but I’m glad that I did. I might not attend church there anymore… but there are still a few people there that I consider family. I hadn’t planned on going home, but I’m open to whatever God says.
I wouldn’t be doing so MANY things right now if God hadn’t initiated this multifaceted crisis of epic proportions. And while I keep whining about not being strong enough to deal with all of this all at once… what I really need to be doing is thanking God that I am weak, because when I am weak, he is strong. I don’t have to “handle” all of this. I just have to let him walk me through it. I have to pray and listen. I have to obey. I have to praise him in the middle of it and I’ll have to praise him at the end. Tests of faith, like any other test, must be completed. If one of my students turned in a test that was only half done, they’d fail. This is a test that I do not want to fail. As awful as all of this feels, it is so very necessary and I must persevere. Faith that cannot be tested, cannot be trusted? I want to be trusted.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12
Today was hard.
I was in a lot of physical pain.
But God had mercy on me.
It was a light day.
My students behaved.
My boss was absent.
I like her,
but life is always
so much easier
when she’s not there.
There are so many
decisions that need
to be made
and I feel ill-equipped
to make any of them.
I finally have a really
where I can just
unfortunately, every other
aspect of my life
is falling apart.
But God is having mercy on me
My mental health
If it wasn’t,
this season would
become a scary dark thing.
As is, I can see me eventually
coming out of this on the other side.
I can see that hope and a future he
promised and I don’t believe
it’s a promise for everybody but me.
I am scared
and in pain.
I don’t know anything about
shopping for a car
so that’s stressing me out…
and I don’t want to be dealing
with the health problems
because the idea of being hospitalized again?
The debt that I had so
is now going to balloon
because of the car
and moving expenses…
But God had mercy on me.
He reminded me that he is still God.
No matter how I feel
God is still God.
The ride into town was a cold one. I had the windows opened to I couldn’t smell the gas fumes. I’d woken up at 3:30 obsessing about the possibility of blowing up. I gave up trying to sleep around 4am. By five I was already dressed. The minute the sun came up enough for me to see I was out the door.
Twice in one week I’ve driven dangerous cars.
Both times I prayed all the way. It’s amazing how prayer just seems to ooze out of me in a crisis situation. I hadn’t planned on getting to the rental car place until 8am, but I couldn’t take the stress. I needed to move. I ended up getting there around 6:30. Again, the place was a tomb. I explained my situation, haggled for a discount, and went on my merry little way when she handed me the key. The new car? I’m happy to say that the gas stays where it’s supposed to be. The mirror appeared to be broken, but I figured out what was wrong and continued on my merry little way…. except church didn’t start until 9:30. Hmmmm. Driving around was out of the question. I actually hate driving. That’s why my 10 year old Saturn has less that 60,000 miles on it. Driving scares the everlasting Gobstoppers out of me. Better to go hide out in WalMart. REALLY interesting people are in WalMart that early on a Sunday.
When I couldn’t take anymore people watching I went to church. Would you believe the doors were still locked? I usually get there early… but evidently, this was too early even for me.
As soon as I was inside and settled this young guy I know came over. We got to talking and he ended up sharing about all the trials hitting him right now. Guess I haven’t cornered the market on massive trials. It was truly an amazing conversation. Here we are with so much coming at both of us… yet here we are, both in God’s house seeking to praise him. I felt like he really got me and that I really got him… and that’s what I’ve been needing. Sympathy is ok… but empathy is so much more. I thought that I would go to church and have a meltdown during the worship service. It’s what I’ve been known to do when I’m in crisis mode. Normally, when I’m like that I want to avoid church like the plague because people rarely understand. Oddly enough, I couldn’t wait to get to church this morning. Or maybe not so odd given the fact that I thought my car was going to explode. Where else would I want to be but in God’s house if I made it there in one piece? The weirdest thing was that my friend didn’t want to go to church this morning as much as I wanted to go. It was such a divine appointment. He said what I needed to hear to make me feel stronger in what the Lord is doing in my life and I said what he needed to hear in order to see that God wasn’t hanging him out to dry.
When he left the worship started. I felt better because we’d been able to talk and laugh and share scripture. I told him that as long as we could laugh… we were going to be alright. It’s the minute you stop being able to laugh that things are dark. God has ways of setting things like that up. We needed to talk…I comforted him and he comforted me. It doesn’t matter that he’s much younger than I am. We could relate because pain is universal. Wanting to find God in the midst of pain is a common denominator. When he walked away I felt less alone. During the worship a verse came to mind that summed up what I had experienced:
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 2Corinthians 1:3-7
My pain. His pain. God sees all of it and wastes none of it.