When Loneliness Threatens..

Loneliness reminds me of an old movie I watched as a kid again and again called The Never ending Story. There is a force called the Nothingness that threatens their world. It was so scary as a child to think about this blackness engulfing the characters. This morning, as I was waking up I felt like the nothingness was creeping up on me, and as the horse in the movie, sinking into a muddy pit named the Swamp of Sadness, I felt like I had a choice. Let sadness engulf or turn to the only one who can save, Jesus. The temptation to focus on the sadness, and the very real circumstances I face was high. Not to feel sorry for myself, but to try desperately to figure out if I can do anything to fix it. If I was just a better friend, daughter, or wife maybe, somehow I could fix all my relationships and the loneliness would flee. When I attempt this past pattern called Codependency it doesn’t take long to realize that it offers only lies. Then opens the door and invites in more panic, leading to hopelessness.

The cycle is not easy to break, impossible on my own but as I turn to the Word, He speaks such love over me.

‘Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.” -Jeremiah 18;6

His hands are so loving, and so gentle. He reminds me He has and will never let me go. Then He goes on…..

‘You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, The Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.’ -Isaiah 26:3+4

The nothingness still threatens my world but being in love with the One who saved me transports me out of the danger. Into a world I don’t fully understand, a world where I stand on the eternal Rock and am completely secure, wholly loved, and will live eternally with my Beautiful Creator.

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Press in

Funny how emotions can sneak up on me, or rather, how good I am at ignoring their firm tug at my heart. I am waiting in my car at school, a half an hour early (because I have a compulsive arriving way to early problem) pondering my life. I am so overwhelmed with missing things. I miss my mom and dad. I miss my husband. I miss Alaska. I miss my kids being little and adorable. I miss my forever friends. I miss being a stay at home mom. 

I am tempted to turn this into bitterness towards the new things in my life such as school or new people in my life. My brain likes to fill the holes in my heart. Cement is a fast drying and a quick fix but I dont think the holes are meant to be filled. When I refuse the hardening of my heart that would offer to help avoid these feeling I am left with grief and sorrow. Its in these empty places God can heal and minister to me. In a perfect world I would be able to hug my mom or laugh with my dad. I would be able to go on a hike or a boat ride down the Clearwater. I would be able to have coffee with my oldest and dearest friend while we watch our babies play. 

Its sad and very painful but f I avoid those feelings and allow my heart to harden I miss out on the beauty Jesus has in the sorrow. I miss out on drawing nearer to Him and trusting He has a plan. As well as remembering the suffering and great sorrow He took on Himself to save me. So today I choose to not avoid but to press in. 

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. -Philippines 3:14

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The path 

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” -C. S. Lewis

As we come up on the anniversary of our move from Alaska to Indiana I have decided to take the time to reflect on the changes that have happened. Part of my brain does not want to do this. Claiming I do not have the time. The truth is its not easy to face but I’m trusting God is here with me.

I have no doubt that this move was in God’s plan for us. Its amusing to me that often I invision His plan for my life as a beautiful, sunny nature hike through butterflies, birds and flowers. Skipping along with a song on my lips, happiness abounds, hard situations and circumstances are long gone. The reality is a bit different, although there are times in this walk it feels very much like I described often it feels like I’m walking through a dark forest, praying that I am still on the path and trusting that if the wolf I hear approaching gets too close God will swoop in and save me. 

I believe that when God saved me I was so unaware of how emotionally and relationally unhealthy I was. I lived in utter darkness. God used the terrible circumstances to call me to Himself. He showed me the path and as we walk together, out of the darkness, He has been healing my heart. We get to what seems like a tumultuous part, so scary everything tells me to run away and He stands firm. He holds me close and points out the lies and the damage. He offers forgiveness and wholeness. He never forces me to walk, He always invites and there has been times where I refuse to go on, so we gently circle around again until I’m ready. 

These last two years have felt dark and scary more often then not. I have had to confront some relational unwellness with very difficult decisions. Shane and I are separated, with the hopes and prayers of restoration. We have a lot of work to do to have the marriage God intended. I am believing He will get us there. I can not speak for Shane but I can say my work has a lot to do with self worth. I was so fearful of being abandoned I would enter into relationships not face to face with my true self being offered. I would enter under the person, offering whatever I felt they needed, hoping to become such a needed part of their lives that they would never leave me. Which worked well and feels great at first. The other person feels loved and taken care of. I, in turn, feel needed and safe. Then after awhile, when the truth starts to emerge that I can not fix or actually meet that deep need in them, the safety begins to feel more like a weight I can not begin to bear. Heavier and heavier, until I begin to suffocate. 

The healing that is happening is so good at the same time as very painful. Jesus has placed me in a community that is along my side cheering me along when I need it. They always seem to be there to offer a helping hand or a good, long laugh when the time is right. I am about to start school, which has been a huge worth issue for me in the past. God is allowing me and guiding me into reclaiming my life. The life He created and the life He died for. A life that I would once so easily cast into the darkness for an illusion of what I thought love was. A life that I am now learning to operate in His true love as well as the identity He died to give me. I trust Him, He knows what He is doing in my life as well as the life of my family.

    “After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.” -Isaiah 53:11 

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Needing perfect love 

I have a fear of flying. It’s not something that I developed over years. I can’t say I used to enjoy it but it didn’t scare me. Until the last time I flew, it was years ago and many circumstances fell into place that had me panicked and opperating from a place of trauma. When I got home I was so relieved but also developed a peculiar fascination with watching crash investigation shows and listening to stories of airplane crashes. Weirder yet, they comforted me, it would help me relax and was also fascinating to me. My theory is my brain had convinced itself during that last flight that I was experiencing an actual event and when nothing came of it it left me a bit jumbled and open. So hearing how crashes played out somehow closed that open trauma. (I’m not a professional although I should have some sort of honorary degree with all the counseling and processing I’ve done.) 

I did not know how I would react to flying today. I felt a very strong peace-like feeling the days leading up but sometimes I think I resemble an opossum and when my most scared my brain shuts off and plays dead. As I got to the airport I started to feel more nervous, my stomach started to hurt and I felt light headed and although attempting greatly to ignore the fear it wasn’t working. I got on the plane and started to pray and tell God how silly I felt. I know about planes. My Dad is a pilot. I know the risks. I also know above all that God is in control. So shame started to worm its way in along with the fear. 

I noticed no one had sat down next to me, which was a relief for a second until I was corrected. In a split second I knew Jesus was sitting there. I could feel Him, I just knew. He talked to me about how much He loved me and how He has so many plans for me. To teach me things and delight in things with me. He said I had nothing to worry about that it would be smooth. (Which by the way it was the smoothest take off I’ve ever  experienced.) We talked the whole ascent and I cried. Not out of fear but because I was so overwhelmed by His peace and His beauty. Being with Him, the source of joy, is really indescribable. Also I was so grateful with how He treated me. I had felt so stupid, I should not be having this type of fear. I felt ridiculous and ashamed. Not for a second did I get that He wasn’t concerned about any of that. He just loves me. He knew what I would need and He showed up to just comfort me. 

By the time we reached the clouds I didn’t feel fear, I felt awe. I looked at the clouds and was amazed by how much they looked like mountains, caves and caverns. A beautiful landscape in the sky. 

Yet they moved, and formed into new shapes within minutes. It was so beautiful. I thought about how God controlled it all. So much beauty even in places we will never see. Then I saw the shadow of our plane darting across the clouds and was, once again, overwhelmed by what I saw. A perfect circle with colors like a rainbow that encapsulated the shadow. I had never seen anything like it before and didn’t know if it was common or not. I did know it was another sign God loves me and I am completely secure. 

As soon as we landed I looked it up and it’s called a glory. (Seriously, a glory!) A glory is an optical phenomenon that represents a saints halo. Glories arise due to wave interference of light internally refracted within small droplets of water. The scientific explanation is under much debate and there area few more theories of why they occur. I know why it occurred today. 

 “Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders. Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge? -Job 37:14-16

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Ruffled feathers

I haven’t written a blog in over a year. It’s been an extremely rough year and I have discovered it is difficult for me to write unless I have a positive spin. God has been doing incredible work in my life and loving me so well but it has been rough all the same. He has been gently reminding me of how much I love processing through writing and how much I miss it. So with a glad heart, after over a year, I am writing again! Here we go:

Two days ago I went for a walk. It was a very nice walk. The sun was shining, a sweet smelling breeze blew my hair back as I walked along. I was listening to worship music through my headphones and felt like I was in a perfect little worship filled bubble, just Jesus and me enjoying the morning. 

Then, out of nowhere, I felt a firm THUNK hit the back of my head. My thoughts and conclusion about what had just happened came instantly although the reasons why took a few more seconds. I had no doubt that it was a bird. For an additional second I thought that the poor bird had accidentally ran into me, I then reasoned that my head did not resemble a window so maybe accident wasn’t quite right. Then my mind jumped to the poor bird was probably sick or blind. After sitting on that for another bit of time I came face to face with the truth (as the bird swooped down for a second attack) that she was being intentional! 

Instead of feeling offended I found it humorous that not only was she successfully getting me but that it took me so long to comprehend that anything would intentionally attack me, someone who was so clearly innocent. I was laughing and pointed at her, explaining I was not a danger to her nest. She didn’t believe me but she only used bluffs from that point to chase me away. As I got to a distance she considered safe she landed at the top of a tree and watched me walk away with feathers sticking up all over the place like she had just come from a pretty significant fight. I had a good laugh but also really felt like God had a message in it for me. 

Fast forward to this morning and I decided to go for another walk. I had a feeling I would have a run in with the bird again but I would be on the lookout this time. As I walked up I noticed first that now the little black bird had friends. Secondly, there were many more cars around therefore a much higher potential for embarrassment as they drive by watching me get attacked by five or six small birds. I decided to brave through and kept walking. My plan was to watch the sky and face them as they came at me. Because I have learned up to this point that they are more confident attacking from behind. If the got close I would stick out my hand and tell them no. Which I felt would hinder all follow through and stop the actual contact. Although in the back of my mind I felt like this could look a bit silly as well. 

As I got closer and the first bird swooped down it dawned on me I could see it. Not because I was turning around in quick circles to spot them but I could see her shadow. Clear as day, I could see her maneuver and I could effectively reach my hand up and block her……

And then block them.

I made it through, untouched, with my dignity and quite amused. I was pondering the rest of the trip about shadows. 

“Shadows are produced when light hits an opaque object which prevents the light beams from passing through. When an object blocks the light’s path, then darkness appears on the other side. This darkness is called a shadow. The sun is a source of light that when hits an object causes shawdows.” 

As my little bird enemy attacked, the sun was so bright that her shadow was easy to see. I felt like God was saying it’s the same with my spiritual enemy. If I fill my life with His light, His Love and His word then as the enemy attacks I will clearly see the darkness coming. I didn’t have to turn around, I didn’t have to fear I could respond without even missing a step.  
Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

-John 8:12

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The exoticly common birds of Indiana

Today has been a hard one. Lots of emotions and feeling misunderstood, I feel tired and looking forward to bed. Faced with a few more hours of awake time I decided instead of eating for comfort or mindlessly scanning Facebook I would write about good things. In particular, the awesome walk I had this morning. We’ve been in Fort Wayne now for 8 months (although up until now I have been saying six because I hadn’t actually counted) and it has been such an amazing time of transition.  It’s been exciting discovering new things, and also a time of building and strengthening my marriage. When I say building I mean it, it’s just like a construction site: messy, loud, and sometimes like God driving nails into us but I know that these times are foundational to the years we have ahead. I have loved every minute of this adventure, even the ones I’ve hated.

  In the mornings this last week  I have been taking about an hour to walk by myself and listen to worship music. It’s springtime here and I have been so elated to realize that there is so many more new things to experience. The trees here are so different. They don’t all turn green at the same time. In Alaska we have a lot of Evergreens, Birch, and Cottonwood. When the leaves start to bud it takes about one week and it goes from no buds to everything green. Which I have always loved and appreciate ever year without knowing it would be different in other places. Here is doesn’t do that at all. Certain trees and shrubs are turning and others look like they aren’t even close and even others are white!  The air is really different as well. I don’t know if I will ever get used to it although I love it. You can smell moisture, it’s reminds me of Alaska when it’s warm and raining, but all the time here.

  Oh, and the birds! They are so numerous and loud here. We saw Blue jays at the school and the same day I was so excited to see a bird I had never seen before. He was black with red shoulder pads. As soon as I got home I looked him up and he is called the Red-winged Blackbird. I also found out that it is one of the most abundant birds across North America. I had a good laugh thinking about how exotic he looked to me, I even took a picture. I can’t even imagine what it will be like when bugs, frogs and snakes start to show up.

  There are so many new things to this move that are still really scary. Buying a house, and trying to find a job for the first time in 17 years are both very scary to me.  It is taking so much faith that God is in control and His plans will be good. Sometimes it feels like things that seem so simple to others are so foreign to me. Thankfully God is there with me, every second. Showing me even though things are new and seem foreign or exotic to me, and it’s true they might not be that way to everyone else, I am blessed because I get to delight in them in ways someone who has seen again and again might not get to.

God really speaks through His creation. I know that I will probably have many years of seeing the exotic and abundant Red-winged Blackbird and it will remind me over and over of God’s involvement in my life. Just like the enjoyment I get taking my little Arlie by the hand and watching her discover the world God has taken mine and He ohhhh’s and ahhhh’s over the things I discover and share with Him.

‘Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.’ -Psalm 37: 3-6

 

 

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my book of life: journal entry 

The beautiful book that is my life has opened it’s pages to a new day. Excitement and gratitude explode from my heart as I begin to uncover and experience what today has to offer. What genre will today be? A drama, or mystery, or even a romance…..more often then not a comedy or satire.

 Whatever it is, my sweet and brilliant Author, You are trustworthy. If today is the most tragic day of my life I trust you to write and work it towards the greatest ending of all time. If the rest of the book becomes terribly painful and difficult to live I pray you fill each day with more peace and praise coming forth from my lips. I ask you, Author and Creator, for two things. First; to incorporate and environment conducive to deep surrender of my whole being to You. And the second; that the stage will be set in Your secret place, that I may dwell in Your house forever. Remaining in your love til the last page is closed and the book has ended. Your love is where I belong. Your story is the greatest story, of the greatest Love, and most beautiful sacrifice. It is the beginning and the end of my own story. 

 As a branch graphed into a tree my story is into Yours. Without You I would wither away and die. But with You? With You I am able to grow and blossom, help bring forth new seeds and life, becoming the creation I was meant to be. The beauty and kindness of You, my Savior, Jesus, can not be matched. Thank you Jesus for Your story and mine.   

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