Paddling with One Oar

Something isn’t right with me.

I’ve been searching pretty hard lately. I’ve been trying to figure out what is going on with me. I’ve been feeling like there is something missing in my life. It isn’t my relationship with God. I have been reading my Bible and praying daily. I took an ecourse called #MakeOverYourMornings, because I thought that might help me. Instead, it has brought up more things I feel like I’m behind on in my life. It wasn’t until I read this blog post someone shared that I figured out what my deal was.

I’m paddling with one oar.

Several years ago, I heard a sermon that used the analogy of a Follower of Christ’s life being a canoe with two oars. One oar is spirituality – your relationship with God, your service, etc. The other oar is what you do – your career/gifting/whatever it is that God made you to do. If you only focus on one oar, you can’t move forward in your life. You’ll be going in circles.

I have been keeping up with my relationship with God, which is of utmost importance to me and my family and the world, really. When I do not spend time with God, when I have not taken the time to allow Him to satisfy me with His love, I am not the same person. I am snappy, become irritated easily, withdraw, get jealous easily, find fault (with myself) easily, and am generally just awful. However, I have found that I am still finding fault with myself, with my life, and becoming jealous of other people. I haven’t been writing, either.

The screenplay that was meant to have a first draft done by August still has no outline.

Yeah.

I’m going around in circles and I am ridiculously dizzy.

With homemaking, housekeeping (which I am lousy at), child rearing, being a wife, helping at the non-profit, family and friend relationships, and my other life responsibilities, I find it difficult to take time to pursue my passions and dreams. When my day is done, I’m exhausted and collapse on the couch next to Hunny until it is permissible to lay in bed. But I have to figure out a way to shake off my exhaustion.

The thing that isn’t right is the thing that hasn’t been written.

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Thirsty Thursday: Beyond Death

This is my second year reading through the Bible. I’m not reading it for the second time. I’m not even halfway through the Bible. I’m slowly but surely reading through the Bible while still getting the most out of my reading.

The past several days I’ve been meditating on a phrase from the final verse of Psalm 48:

that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever. Psalm 48:14 emphasis mine

He will guide us forever.

Isn’t that beautiful?

Forever is such an interesting word. For me and my finite human brain, the word forever is ethereal and poetic. It is almost like a pretend, made up word. What does forever really mean? What does forever feel like?

There was a reference beside the word forever in the text, so I had to look at what was written about this beautiful phrase. The footnote read: Septuagint; another reading is (compare Jerome, Syriac) He will guide us beyond death

Beyond death!

Now that really resonates with me. I am no stranger to death. I have had numerous loved ones die. I see death in the changing of the seasons. I also see death in more banal ways such as light bulbs going out and the blackening of my phone’s screen.

God will guide us beyond death! That is exciting. That gives more meaning to our life after this one. It also gives us reassurance that our trust exercises in this life on earth will help us in the next. God will be guiding us through it. No matter what we’re going through in this life or the circumstances we meet in the next, God is leading us. Jesus told us He would always be with us even to the end of the age, and it is even more comforting to know that God is guiding us from this life into the next.

A Long Hard Look

I’m sick, you guys. As in, can’t do anything but lay there, can’t concentrate on anything, and just feeling horrendous. There’s nothing like being unable to function to make you reevaluate your life. I don’t like what I see.

I’m wasting my life.

Let me clarify: being Hunny’s wife and being mother/care giver to the Littles is not a waste. It is an honor and a privilege. All the screaming and crying I’ve heard from my sick bed confirms that they cannot function without me, so I’m kind of important to their overall well being and quite possibly their existence. However, I am wasting the precious vapor that is my life.

Aside from the 40+ hours a week I spend taking care of my home and family, I spend all my extra time, energy, and effort helping Hunny with his duties at his second job working for a nonprofit organization. Helping my husband is part of being a wife, but I have nothing left over for myself. I spend zero time and energy following my passions or chasing my dreams. If I don’t change this, I will resent my Hunny. Nobody wants that.

I am going to prayerfully consider what I can do to change this and make time for me.

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Ridiculous (Inside and Out)

Why is it that people forget that really ridiculously good looking people have feelings? As a ridiculously good looking person myself, I’m here to tell you, Yes, we have feelings. And yes, I’m making an obvious Zoolander reference and no, I’m not excited about the sequel. I think the sequel is a BAD idea. I predict it will be better than Anchorman 2, but not by much.

Honestly, though, my feelings were hurt deeply and repeatedly this weekend. Someone laughed in my face, another person made snide comments to me, a third person was purposefully mean to Cupcake (a grown up no less!) all within a thirty minute period. That was just at one event this past weekend. I won’t go into the others.

I think it is easy to look at someone who is attractive and married to an attractive person and has attractive children around them and think, Ugh. There is NO reason to be kind to them. Their life is perfect and mine is not and I am going to treat them badly so they know what life is like for the rest of us!

I can tell you right now: my life is not perfect. If you want some proof, read more blog posts of mine. Here’s one. Here’s one. Here’s another.  No one has a perfect life. No one will have a perfect life on earth. But you have the ability to be kind to others. You have the ability to make someone cry in the car for thirty minutes or make them feel welcome in new surroundings. You can be really, really, really ridiculously good looking on the inside.

Thirsty Thursday: Forgiven Much

I have two newly pregnant friends. One is married. One is not. I have been sharing as much as I can with both of them, because being pregnant is hard and scary and everyone deserves support. I’ve been through some serious stuff, so I know I have the ability to be a comfort. I message them both with things that are relevant to pregnancy and sent both of them Mother’s Day cards. One is extremely thankful and the other one doesn’t give me the time of day.

Which one would you guess is the thankful one?

It is not the married one.

I am not reaching out to these pregnant ladies for applause or for attention. I do not expect any thanks. I am doing it out of a genuine hope to be helpful and ease the pain of a stressful time. But it brought something to mind.

Jesus was invited to dinner at an important, religious man’s house named Simon. While they were dining, a woman who was known to have a bad reputation, came into the house. She cried so hard at Jesus’ feet that His feet got wet. She wiped His feet with her hair, kissed His feet, and even broke an expensive bottle of perfume and poured it on His feet. Simon thought, If Jesus was who people say He is, He would KNOW who this woman is and He would NOT let her touch His feet.

Jesus then told him a story about two people who owed debts. One owed 500 denari and the other owed 50. Neither could pay their debt, so the moneylender decided to cancel their debts. Then Jesus asked him which he thought would love the moneylender more. The religious man answered that he thought it would be the one who had the greater debt.

You have judged rightly. Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven–for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.Luke 7:43b-47

When I was younger and dumber, I mean, less perceptive, I thought, Oh no! I don’t sin that much, so my love for God isn’t going to be great.

Wow.

I would find it funny if it weren’t so shamefully embarrassing.

I read that we have on average 82,000 thoughts a day. Let’s say all your thoughts for a single day are sinful. Jesus paid the price for 82,000 sins. Let’s say your thoughts are sinful for a week. That’s 574,000 sins that Jesus paid for with His blood. Let’s say your thoughts are continually sinful for a month. 2,542,000 sins covered by Jesus. Let’s go crazy. We’re going to suppose your thoughts are sinful for a full calendar year, 365 days. Jesus wiped away 29,993,000 sins through His death on the cross.

That’s just thoughts, people! I’m not even going into words you say or actions.

I know that I wrestle with my thoughts on a daily basis.

We should not let our socially acceptable sin blind us to the fact that they are sins and that we are sinners in need of a Savior. We all have fallen short. We all have been forgiven much. Don’t let pride get in the way of seeing how good you really aren’t and how great God really is.

Thirsty Thursday: Socially Acceptable Sin

Sexual sin as a whole used to be social taboo in puritanical North America. Unwed mothers used to give their babies up for adoption, leave them on doorsteps of churches, or have their families raise them as a sibling. Marital infidelity was something shameful and if such a behavior were found out, it would cost the adulterer their job or their position or even an election as a political official. Homosexuality was seen as perversion. No one would admit to being homosexual and if they did, a person could be arrested or worse. All manners of sexual sin are socially acceptable today. The only two I can think of that are not socially acceptable are bestiality and incest.

My sin is socially acceptable. No one can see or hear my thoughts. Because of this, I am perceived as a “perfect person.” As a “model citizen” no one is going to point their fingers at me or wave signs of hatred in my face. My doubts and my fears go under the human radar, but blip loudly on God’s.

All sin is unacceptable to God.

ALL sin.

That is why Jesus had to die for us. God cannot associate with sin. So when you’re sitting over there lusting at the girl behind the counter, God sees it. When you think mean things about a family member, God hears it. When you break the laws of the land by surpassing the number on the speed limit sign, He knows. And it hurts Him. Having sex with your boyfriend is practically encouraged in American society, but you are disobeying God and breaking His heart. Only Jesus can wash your sin away.

Jesus has washed my sin away, and I ask for forgiveness when I stumble. I ask for forgiveness when I am not faithful. He is just to forgive me every single time. Have you asked Him to wash your sins away? He can even take your socially acceptable sin.

A Word on Healing

Why is it always your most well intentioned friend who cuts you down or throws you into a depression spiral?

One of my well intentioned friends messaged me on facebook (you know I love facebook!) that she had a miscarriage and that even though it was sad, her heart was now healed. I messaged that I am glad that she was happy but that I cried over her baby. I get a message back that I need to let God heal my heart and that I can’t go on like this and to promise her I will let God’s love heal me.

Am I not letting God heal my hurt? Is it my fault that I’m still emotional about miscarriages and lost babies? Am I defective?

I messaged her back. I recounted everything I had gone through and what God has already done to heal me. One of the things God did was free me from being afraid of sex. I was terrified that I would become pregnant and not survive a second miscarriage. I didn’t want to go through the literal hell I went through losing Jason. And I haven’t even shared the half of it.

Stories of drug addicts who welcome Jesus into their hearts and never touch drugs or alcohol again are fantastic stories of the awesomeness of God. Then you hear stories of people who are saved and battle addiction their whole lives. It is easy to think, Geez, that guy is doing it wrong. Maybe he’s not saved. Maybe he’s not letting God work in him.

Maybe.

But maybe something greater is happening there. Maybe the constant day by day struggle for survival makes that person dependent on God and dependable for God. Maybe that guy is growing and becoming more like Christ every second they flee from temptation. Maybe that guy’s treasures in heaven will outweigh his chaff. Maybe that guys struggles make him more accessible to a group God wants him to reach. Maybe that is God’s plan for him – to shine His love and His light and His glory into dark souls and the dark corners of the earth. Maybe the places he can reach cannot be reached by the guy who was instantly healed.

Most likely.

Emotional pain is difficult. Unlike physical wounds, you can’t see them. You can’t gauge how much longer it will take to heal. There’s no cast for broken feelings. We are all wounded soldiers: arms in slings, bandaged up, and limping through life. It is why God wants us to bear one another’s burdens and to share our joy and grief with one another. It helps healing.