Hello blog friends

I’ve missed you.  And, I’ve missed blogging.  I’ve done some book writing (I thought I had three chapters, but now I think I need to start over), but that is not at all as therapeutic as spilling my guts here.

So much has happened in the last two weeks, and so much is unresolved.  I have dreamed almost every night and have faithfully recorded each one (at least the ones I remember).  I have guessed at their implications and yet have not experienced the fulfillment of their purposes.  My introverted personality has lately been exposed to much stimulus, and I am feeling exhausted, battered and discombobulated (what a great word).  In short, I am starting to bump along the surface of life without making time to visit those deep places that are so important to me.  The solution?  I think I may need to start posting again to work through the things God is digging up and bringing out into the light.  What good is it to have half-finished thoughts purposelessly floating around in your mind?  They need to be connected with truth and planted in your soul in order to bear their intended fruit.  So, I am back.  Now the million dollar question is (and no, if you answer it, you will not receive your reward) can I blog and write a book at the same time?  We shall see.  Only God knows…and guess what?  I am going to find out.

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The next day

I rolled out of bed the morning after praying with my friend, and I stopped in my tracks (or mid-roll might be a better description).  Wait a minute, thought I…that movement happened fairly easily without flinching and stopping and starting due to tight, sore back muscles.  Hmmm…could this be one of the results of yesterday’s healing prayers?  I moved quickly through my morning routine noticing how free my movements were compared to the previous day’s heaviness and inertia.  Not wanting to jump to conclusions, I continued to observe myself, cautiously happy about my renewed energy and drive. 

Still afraid to totally embrace the restoration that God had begun to bring about, I envisioned my heavenly Father before me, His arms wide open in a gesture of acceptance and love.  But, I had a hard time meeting His eyes.  Deeply ingrained inner patterns caused questioning to arise.  Could what had happened be real or was it just another cruel joke, a perverted teasing that delighted in lifting my spirits in hope, but then mercilessly dashing them to the ground?  (a favorite pastime of my dad’s)   Despite great changes in my perception of who God is as my Father, sometimes old residual thought processes still taint my relationship with Him.  (There was a time when I prayed only to Jesus for I could not open myself up to a God called Father.  My relationships with my mom and sister have also tainted my relationships with women…at least I never had a brother to contaminate my relationship with Jesus.)  Oh my God, my heart cried, rid me of this barrier to knowing you!  So far you have brought me, how greatly you have changed my understanding of you…please continue Your work…and, I know He will, for when we pray in His will, we can expect Him to act accordingly with overflowing abundance.

Another old pattern I fought today was beating myself up.  There are many different ways in which I was taught to condemn myself; this one may seem silly…and, in a way it is except for the negative fallout which it inflicted.  Let me explain.  In Continuing on, I posted how the baton of my grandmother’s obsessive compulsive behavior had been passed on to me.  Bucking this expectation has sometimes been an uphill battle, but I have come far in learning how to relax over the past 30 years.  Yet, sometimes the baton still seems to appear in my hand, as it did on this day.  My pattern-breaking activity was to watch a little TV instead of continually working throughout the day (gasp!).  (To reassure you… this isn’t always a struggle now, but it was in the past.)  In my mind, I could hear my father’s voice dripping with disappointment has he expressed his sadness in my not living up to the family legacy.  Trying to pretend his reproach did not exist was not successful (as I need to learn to expect…pretending just doesn’t seem to work), so I accepted the fact of his censure and the inward struggle that arose from it.  But, acknowledging the reality of a situation is a step in the right direction, just as recognizing the truth of a circumstance is half the battle.  And, I can thank my Lord for enabling me to do that.

Two other things I noticed as I went through the day.  One observation came while I was walking the dog.  Seeing our neighbors outside on their patio enjoying the cool morning air, I approached them and shouted out my hello.  Immediately my attention was caught by how much more open my heart felt towards them and how much more free I felt in relating with them…interestingly our relationship has always been one of love and acceptance. The second observation came as I was writing this post.  The day before, I could barely put words on paper (figuratively speaking of course…since all this is done on the computer); on this day my thoughts were flowing.  Up to this point, I generally had edited my writing as soon as I wrote a sentence or paragraph, trying to get everything written as instantly perfect as possible.  (Needless to say, that creates a very slow process.)  Moving forward, I decided to adjust my writing habits.  Henceforth, I would just jot down my thoughts, focusing on the gist of the story and leaving the editing for later.  I do not expect writing to ever come quickly to me, but I do expect this will help relieve the stress of composing the text.

Will all this continue and grow?  I don’t know…but, one thing I do know, when we prayed together, my friend asked the Lord to help me see things differently…my guess is that this is the beginning of His answer.

All that is left is me…

Recently, I began feeling unfocused, frustrated and drained….again.  Hmmmm, said I to myself, wasn’t that supposed to be over when I left my administrative assistant position?  A quote by Eric Hoffer explains it well, “The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time.  It is, on the contrary, born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life.  When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have not time for anything else – we are the busiest people in the world.”  Even though I had quit my job over a year ago, taking a step off the metaphorical cliff into the unknown land of “developing other gifts”, and, because of that, technically not particularly “hurried”, here I was once more, filling up my time with important and good things but not doing the best thing…that which I was being called to do.

So, last week I withdrew from all but one of my involvements to make time to write a book.  Ah, now I will have peace at last, I thought, and I will experience fulfillment and energy as I write about the healing work God has done and is doing in my life.  Following a week of “writing focus”, I am beginning to realize how simplistic and unrealistic my expectations were.  Writing a book is daunting, especially since the only other writing I have done is this blog.  Opening up my heart for anyone to see, making myself vulnerable before the world is frightening….and as an introvert, it is a task from which I am somewhat repelled.  Focus and inspiration comes and goes; writing, so far, has not come easily to me, and I often find myself wanting to do anything but putting words on the page.

There is also another aspect to this which was unexpected; an aspect that in the long run will contribute to the book, but in the short run has more to do with my personal walk with God.  I have discovered that as I have laid aside most of my involvements, I am just left with me.  No longer can I hide from myself in busyness; no longer am I able to gather bits of self-esteem from the things I used to do; no longer can I blame others for my aches and pains or try to change people and circumstances into someone or something that makes me feel good.  My empty calendar has also cleared life’s stage of many of my props and crutches, and I am finding myself becoming acutely aware that “here I am.”  As someone once said, “wherever you go, there you are”, and…well, that says it all. 

My guess is that any victim of abuse will understand when I say I have spent much of my life running from pain, expending much effort and energy to avoid facing the searing facts and effects of what was done to me.  My circumstances shaped and formed me and became an integral part of who I am, thus running from the effects of abuse becomes the same as running from myself.  I became the horror; I became the pain.  Thankfully all the healing God has done in me over the last 28 years has made me appear less appalling in my eyes than I used to be.  There was a time when facing myself would have been like standing on the edge of a bottomless, black pit (think of the abyss into which Gandalf fell in the movie, The Fellowship of the Ring), and that pit was me; all-consuming fear and panic would force me to turn and run.  I could not do it.

Now, I can rejoice that through God’s healing the pit is closing, and its rim is no longer the slippery, muddy morass it once was.  Grass is growing there, and sun and warmth embrace me where darkness and bone chilling cold at one time lived.  I am becoming at peace with who I am…the person who received much pain in her life but who also has received much mercy, grace and love. 

So here I am with all my hopes and dreams, weaknesses and strengths, quirks and foibles, unanswered questions and unresolved issues, regrets and triumphs, a lingering, niggling fear of who I am and areas of hidden darkness that still need to be brought into the light of God’s love.   In reality, it is not “just me” here, for which I am eternally grateful.  My God is with me and is closer than the air I breathe, communing with me, loving me, laughing and crying with me and supplying all my needs “according to His riches in glory.” (Philippians 4:19)  He and I are in this together, and I can know, no matter what happens with this book, no matter where this process takes me, no matter what healing needs to take place, I am safe within His arms, He carries me and He loves me.