Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace, nor are your best days ever so good that you are beyond the need of it. - Jerry Bridges
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
THROUGH the night of doubt and sorrow
Onward goes the pilgrim band,
Singing songs of expectation,
Marching to the promised land.
Clear before us through the darkness
Gleams and burns the guiding light;
Brother clasps the hand of brother,
Stepping fearless through the night.
--BERNARD S. INGEMANN
WE fight not for ourselves alone. These are they--our brethren--the cloud wherewith we walk encompassed; it is for them that we wrestle through the long night; they count on the strength that we might bring them, if we so wrestle that we prevail. The morning that follows the night of our lonely trial would, if we be faithful, find us new men, with a new name of help, and of promise, and of comfort, in the memory of which others would endure bravely, and fight as we had fought. Oh! turn to God in fear, lest through hidden disloyalty we have not a cup of cold water to give those who turn to us for succor in their sore need! --HENRY SCOTT HOLLAND
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Beads of sweat glistening under the florescent glow of my office lights. (swoon, again)
I gaze, longingly. My breath catches in my throat. My lips draw nearer, nearer, nearer...to the edge of the cup...and I drink. I love. I am satisfied.
Coffee is the love of my life.
As a single woman in my late 30's, I'll take what I can get. Please don't judge me!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
In the weeks preceeding my birthday, this passage of scripture came to mind often, along with a sense that my own most cherished hope for my future - marriage - also needed to be put on the altar. It has become more and more evident to me that my desire for marriage, my certainty that it is coming, my insistent and, at times, burdensome, hope that it will soon be reality and my devotion to God cannot co-exist. Something has to die.
As I've waited, though, something has been dying. My confidence in God to give good things, to hear and answer prayer, to bless those who are called by His name, to satisfy our souls has withered and has long been languishing on this bed of despair called "singleness". Because of this one thing, this one hope, this one dream, this one expectation, this one desire - which is neither promised or guaranteed or necessary - my view of God has become small and a bit resentful.
So, like Abraham, I've tied my future hope and joy to a person and not to God. Abraham had his son, mine is a phantom, but it is nonetheless wrong, sinful, and faithless. When God led Abraham up to the killing stone, he was saying "Isaac is not the fulfillment of my promises and purpose for your life...I am." Had God not provided a ram in a thicket that day, he would have provided another offspring...His promise to Abraham would have been just as sure.
God hasn't promised me marriage. He has promised me Himself, peace beyond understanding, joy unspeakable, a very present and constant help, and all things necessary for life and godliness. I keep insisting on putting "marriage" in that list of "all things". I keep insisting that God must fulfill this "desire of my heart". But the truth is, he doesn't. He may not. He has not. And that is what I am left with now. Thus far, God has said "no" to marriage for me, but He has promised that He will provide, that He will not withhold any good thing from me, and that He will never leave nor forsake me.
I am single. I am not forsaken. Now to the living...
As with any death, there is grief. Though this is "just" the death of a hope or dream, the grief is no less real. My tears are real. The heavy, squeezing and rending of my heart is real. But God...
Yesterday morning, in my quiet time with the Lord (my first in a while) he led me to a particular, and favorite, devotional book. It said: "As for God, His way is perfect. (Psalm 18:30) ...the love of God is searching...He is partiently teaching us truly to mean [this]. ...he does not hurry us, but He does wait for us...till we can look in His face and say - not with a sigh, but with a song, 'As for God, His way is perfect!' This is victory; nothing less can be called by that shining name!"
This is what I want. This is my new hope, my new dream. This is the promise I am claiming, and trusting that God will hear, and answer.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
When I arrived at work, though, it was still pretty dark and there was not a ray of sun in sight, so I went to my desk and started my normal morning routine, keeping a keen eye on the window and the soon-to-be approaching sun. As I waited, a few other people filtered in. One was a client who would be travelling to a meeting with some of our guys. As far as I can tell, he is of Indian descent. He stopped to look at a huge sat map of South Louisiana which hangs outside my office and asked one of our guys some questions about it. Hurricane Katrina came up. He didn't really know what our guy was talking about. I had to pick my chin up off of my desk.
He didn't know the levees broke.
He didn't know that 80% of the City (and burbs) flooded.
He didn't know our neighborhood was virtually underwater for weeks.
As I grabbed my camera to head up to the dizzying heights of our building, I continued to be puzzled. Katrina was like national news forever. I talk to people regularly who still think the majority of the City is in ruins, but this guy...he had no clue.
Then again, I can't tell you the last time a tornado swept through Kanasas, or a monsoon overtook a village in Africa or a mudslide destroyed a part of Mexico. So maybe it isn't such a small world, afterall? Maybe we tend to think our issues are bigger than they actually are? Or maybe this guy's been living under a rock?
I vote for rock. Who's with me?
Monday, March 16, 2009
My grandmother didn't call to sing me "Happy Birthday" this year on account of she's in Heaven and I can't even imagine what a long distance call would cost from there. I also didn't have a signficant other to share the day with, but let me tell you, my friends and family went all out to make sure I didn't miss that too much. Tuesday morning was filled with phone calls, texts, e-mails, facebook messages and repeated "Happy Birthday" wishes from a certain hairy young atheist who frequents my office. After that, my small group from church through me a surprise party. Over the course of the rest of the week, I had dinner with friends and capped it all of with a trip to the French Quarter with my family this weekend.
Now, when we planned the trip, I envisioned a beautiful, partly sunny day - perfect for picture taking - and all sorts of silly antics in the Quarter...most of them involving my brother, Brad, who has a penchant for making public displays. What we got was rain...and wind...and more rain. It wasn't the day I thought it would be, but we had fun, albeit it wet, muggy fun.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Is there such a thing as ovary transplants? That would be something! I could replace my shriveling ovaries with those of, say, a 25 year old. That would buy me at least 15 more childbearing years!! Plus, my ovaries will have that young ovary smell.
Perhaps, I need to stop saying the word ovaries now.
Needless to say, concerns over certain internal organs which shall not be named, made it difficult for me to be excited about my birthday. I thought about wearing a tiara, but didn't expend the energy to find one. I thought about inviting a group of friends to join me for dinner, but thought that would be pretty pathetic. I thought about sending myself flowers just so i could have some sort of nice surprise for the day, but thought that would be the most pathetic thing of all. So, I just went to work, and accepted a friend's invitation to join her family for dinner at their home. A nice, quiet family dinner and snuggling her newborn for a couple of hours sounded really nice...and not nearly as pathetic as my other ideas.
I arrived at my friends home just before 6pm and spent some time taste-testing a batch of salsa she'd just made, chatting with her sweet mom, and, of course, snuggling her new baby girl. In the midst of that, her husband arrived home from work and headed upstairs to shower and change for dinner. I continued to hold the baby. A little while later, after her husband was done showering, my friend asked me to walk over to a neighbor's home to get a dessert from her freezer. She was nursing the baby and he was loving on the other two kiddos, so I said, "sure" and headed over to the neighbors house.
I rang the bell.
The door opened.
A bunch of people yelled "surprise!"
I stood in shock.
The whole night was pretty surreal for me. I didn't know what to do with myself. Generally, if I'm at a social function, it's for someone else...and I am either running around doing hostess things or taking pictures. Tonight, I could do neither. I was at a loss.
A very touched, slightly overwhelmed, loss.
The party was thrown together by some friends from my church small group. They invited a few of my other friends and my family. It was very sweet...and very pink. There were pink balloons, pink flowers, a pink princess pin for me to wear and even a pink cake.
After I arrived, and some of the shock wore off, they played a game. A survey/quiz type game about me. That was pretty fun. There were questions about my disdain for my name, my baby tooth, and, of course, my love of blogging.
I love surveys and quizzes.
Then, they went around the room and took turns saying nice/encouraging things to me. This was the most difficult and meaningful part of the night for me. I just have a hard time when people say nice things to me. It's dumb. I should love it. But, I don't. I squirm inside. I feel vulnerable and exposed and weird. I don't feel that way when people say critical or unkind things to me. I expect those kinds of things...and they are easier to believe.
Yes, I've considered psycholocial help.
During this sharing time, my sister-in-law spoke up and even this morning, I get choked up thinking about it. Since she became part of our family, the Lord has led me to be a specific way with her, to be intentional and consistent in how I relate to her...regardless of what is going on or how she responds to me or how I feel. I've never communicated any of this to her, I just try to do it as much as I can. But, last night, as she spoke, I could see that she got it. She knows it. She sees it.
I almost lost it.
Then she told the "mall story", about the time I almost jumped a guy I thought was coming on to her. He turned out to be a guy she went to high school with who just happened to have a very seductive method of greeting an old friend. He swaggered over and looked at her like a lion looks at a zebra, and I said "you better keep on walking. she's a married woman." Then my sister-in-law recognized him and I was able to de-clench my fist.
I'm a bit over-protective, it would seem.
After that, my friend Lisa spoke. My Lisa. I love her. I want to be her when I grow up.
My friends Amanda, Todd, Brenda, Regina, Steve and Wendy also shared and said some very sweet things to me. I was blown away by their kindness and thoughtfulness in what they shared. I just sat there thinking I could say so much more back to them about how they've blessed my life...and how they made all these things sound so special and like a big deal when really it wasn't...I just love them. But, also, their words helped me to see a little bit more clearly the true state of my life. So often, I feel alone...very alone. I feel like my friendships are on the periphery of other people's lives and don't really make a dig difference. I feel like that a lot...but not last night. I'm very grateful for that.
I think my ovaries are grateful, too.