Thursday, July 28, 2011


Just writing this post right now is a challenge for me. I have been wanting to write a new post for a while now, but it has been a challenge to know what to write. There were and are so many things running through my head that I wanted to write about, but just wasn't sure what to share or how to share it or how much to share. I wanted to do a post on "being real". Lately that has been something that has come up a few times in conversations with others, or in other blogs I've read. There is a real need for people to be more "real". Sometimes part of my challenge in sharing my challenges is I am a little afraid at times to be real for fear of "spiritual reprimand". Those who are more "spiritual" instead of helping me through the challenge by offering up prayer, just listening quietly, or just sharing and showing that they understand my hurt, will in a sense reprimand me for not being as spiritually strong and great as they are. Then I started thinking about challenges, hence the title. :)Sometimes people who are going through challenges just want people to let them vent, understand their hurt, and if they can't understand the hurt or relate to it, say that. Tell the person you can't understand what they are going through and you are sorry that they have to go through it. I guess what I'm saying is, sometimes it's harder and more hurtful to just hear how wrong we are being for hurting, or how we must not be trusting the Lord or His will for us, or not accepting His will for us, almost as if we should be ashamed. That's not right, neither is it fair. People go through real hurt and need someone who can be real with them. I mean look at David, look at some of his Psalms, he talks about his soul being disquieted within him. And yes, of course he talks about his hope being in God. But he has to vent a little first, get it out, share it, then he can help to remind himself of that. If we can't vent and feel free to hurt then how can we remind ourselves of God's goodness to us, how can we remind ourselves to hope in God. As I have mentioned in a former post, don't be like Job's friends, who were miserable comforters. There are actually a couple of instances in just the past week to explain what I am talking about. One example is from another blog that I read. One of the comments under the latest post was about a single girl who had to be maid of honor in her younger sister's wedding after her wedding had just been cancelled. She mentioned how her friends understood how painful this was for her. They would tell her how the situation was awful for her... they didn't just tell her to get over it and be happy for her sister, or tell her that she needed to deal with it because that was obviously the Lord's plan for her. No, they helped her by acknowledging her pain. She said that that was what helped her to be able to feel strong enough to genuinely feel happy for her sister. She didn't feel as if she had to pretend it didn't hurt. They allowed her to hurt, and because of that to be able to celebrate with her sister. That is more spiritually helpful than all the right "spiritual/Christian" things to say. The other example is a sad one. A girl I know from college was requesting prayer yesterday for her 5 year old daughter who had contracted Ecoli earlier in the week. I just saw it yesterday. Well, the comments were so sweet, just praying for this family. Yesterday afternoon, the mom posted that her little girl was in the arms of Jesus. This broke my heart as I'm sure it does for anyone reading this. I just had to read what people were commenting to them. It was amazing because, so many said, I can't begin to understand how you are feeling, but know I'm praying for you. Or just simply, I'm praying for you and your family, or my heart is breaking for you, or I'm praying for you, I have a little one in the arms of Jesus too. I'm sure these comments probably meant so much to her. Those type of comments will do more to encourage and help her through this challenge than anything else. I guess all I am asking is that we acknowledge someone's pain or hurt or challenge, feel for them, let them know we feel for them, and will bear their burden with them, without judging and without "spiritual reprimands". Show loving kindness rather than godly rightness.
Wednesday was a good day for me, I was able to share some of my challenges with a dear lady who is always so willing to listen and doesn't make me feel bad for hurting. We talked about that and how that was so needed, especially in Christian circles. The Bible talks about bearing one another's burdens, but how can we do that if we don't allow people to share those burdens. Then I got to spend time with a really great friend. She needed to talk to me, and share some challenges, and I needed to talk to her and share some of mine. We were both able to encourage one another. What a blessing! So thankful for friendships like that! Then that night we went to a Kids Krusade which is VBS. One of my former students wrote up the whole theme and parts and everything. It was based on Clue. The setup in the fellowship hall was amazing, different games and things for the kids to find and do. Secret passageways were built into the set, it was awesome! The Bible lesson was on Lazarus, and the key word for the night that we went was patience. Mary and Martha had to be patient. The Lord didn't come right away when He heard Lazarus was sick. Even though Lazarus died before the Lord got there, Jesus performed a wonderful miracle for them! Then my former student got up to share just a little more, about trusting God even when we don't understand. Having patience to wait for the good even though it's very hard. Again, I was truly blessed. When faced with challenges, I/we know the Lord is in control, we know He has a plan that may not be our plan, we may not like it much, and we may really struggle, but we can come to that on our own. So long as we can be real and share our real hurts and real challenges with real people who will listen and not judge and allow us to be able to hurt and to celebrate in our own way and time.
Lord, I hope I haven't been too real, or said something that wouldn't please you. I felt as if you allowed me the freedom to finally get this out to share. Whether people read it or not, and whether they agree or not, I feel this is something important to understand. There are challenges in life, it's not easy. You never promised it would be. So when I falter and fail, and struggle, help me to find the right people who will help encourage me in you and allow me to feel my hurt, hurt with me, pray with me, and celebrate with me as we see you work through the challenge. Help me through these challenges I have been going through, I can only conquer through you and your name. Then, Lord, I pray for other friends I know who are going through some pretty strong challenges, help them to see you. Be that ever present help in their time of trouble. God, thank you for being so good even when I'm not. (Just being real) Love you, Lord!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hard to Understand

There are some things in life that are just hard to understand. Some things that just make you wonder... One of those things that has recently been hard for myself and many other people I know to understand is the terrible, evil murder and dismembering of an innocent 8 year old boy. He was innocently on his way home from day camp. His parents didn't want him to walk alone for safety reasons, but he convinced them that he was old enough to do so. Plus, they lived in a Jewish community, so I'm sure he figured he could just ask someone if he got lost. So even though his parents went over the route with him to be sure he safely knew his way home, that is just what happened. He got lost, was going in the wrong direction. He decided to ask a man from his community to help him find his way home. This man told him he would help him after he went in and paid a bill. When he came out he took the boy in his car with him, but sadly, the boy never made it home. This man, police determined from scratches struggled with the boy, killed him, and cut his body up in pieces and stuffed the pieces in some luggage and put it in a dumpster. This story has made me so sad, and it's one of those things that I really just find hard to understand. What do you say to those poor parents? What do we say to those around us who may not understand this tragedy? We need to be careful how we respond, sometimes we offer up a quick, easy, "Christian" response such as, "Well, this must have been the Lord's will and we just have to accept it and trust Him." I think we would all agree that that would be a callous, cruel thing to say to them during this time. There are times like these where there really are no words, and sometimes it's just best to pray for them and just show them that you care about their hurt. That's what they need more than anything, not just easy words for you to say, because you cannot understand what they are feeling. Sometimes words like that can cause more hurt and pain than help.

It's hard to understand a senseless death. It's hard to understand the death of a family member who was so loved and needed by the family. Someone who was the stabilizing force for that family, that seems taken away too soon. It's hard to understand how someone who works so hard and goes above and beyond in all that they do losing a job. People who have families to support and try to find a job, but are unable to, when there are some that don't try. It's hard to understand people who take the lives of little children, but seem to get away with it. It's hard to understand the terrible diseases that some people get that threaten their well-being, threaten their life and limb. It's hard to understand someone who loves his/her country so much that they are willing to fight for it, only to lose limbs or life to people with so much hatred in their hearts. It's hard to understand the devastation some countries and some states have to deal with. The list could go on and on. But the thing to remember if we ever have the opportunity to talk to people who are dealing with these things or are affected by these things, don't be a "miserable comforter" as Job's friends were through part of his suffering times. Sometimes just saying nothing, but showing you care can mean more than any quick, easy words. Pray and seek the Lord for them, that is always a very welcome help.
Lord, it is hard to understand certain things that happen in this life. We as Christians know that you are in control and you will help us through, but help us to be careful not to offer up vain, easy, quick words to make the person "feel better". Help us to remember sometimes it's better to just encourage through prayer and care. Thank you for those you have provided to pray and care for us in our times of need. Help us not to forget our times of need, remembering how we feel, and what we need to help us, and help us to be that for someone else. Help us to trust you more with so many of these things that we just find hard to understand. And Lord, please be with the family of this little boy who died so senselessly, in such a tragic and awful way. Please comfort them and give them your peace, and if they don't know you, please bring them to a saving knowledge of you.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Crazy times!

Early Tuesday morning, two o'clock to be exact, I jerked awake in bed...what on earth could have caused me to be up at that time? I lay still for a second trying to figure it out. As my tired mind finally caught up with my body, I realized what I had figured would probably happen that night, actually was happening. Bella was clamoring to get out of my mom's hot room and come into mine, where it is a little cooler because I at least have a fan turned right on me. Does this little girl not understand that I don't care how small she is, the way I like to spread out while I sleep... there is just not enough room for the both of us?! Well......I made room. We snuggled up together and I got back to sleep...only to be abruptly woken up again....this time to Bella's loud barking! What in the world?!? Are you kidding me?? All I wanted was a good night's sleep so I could get up early and get to the school to help out like I was supposed to. What is she doing? This was one of those "someone or something is making noise in the house or outside of the house" barks. So now my heart is pounding in my chest as I put Bella down and open my door so we can go see what she is barking at. Seeing as I had nothing in my hand to hurt anyone or anything with, I don't know what I would have done if there was someone or something in the house. Well, as Bella tore down the hallway barking I was a little nervous. She tore into the kitchen, I slowly followed her...and found........her drinking like there's no tomorrow!! She just ran to her water bowl and was guzzling that water. I checked rooms and doors...nothing, she was fine now. Is that the only reason she barked like a wild woman, to get me to let her out to get something to drink?? Wow, I just don't know! I left her in her excited drinking state and headed back to bed, this was the second time she woke me up and it was definitely way too early to be up. I went back to my room, she came back to my room, but this time just stayed on the floor by my bed. As I got back into bed, and prayed that I could somehow get back to sleep for at least a couple more hours, I hear more noise. Listening, I realized it was my mom's TV, and then I hear her getting out of bed to go to the restroom. Ok, that's ok, she's just going to go to the restroom and then get back in bed, it's fine. I settle into the pillow and try to get back to sleep, when I hear her go back to her room, and hear her drawers opening and closing, what is even going on this morning, am I losing it? She was laughing at the loud TV and getting dressed for the day. Are you even kidding me?? It's 4 a.m.!!!!! I lay back in bed with no sleep coming to me, so I read. A little after 5 I realized I was outnumbered and thought well, if I can't beat them, join them. So I took Bella out to go potty and then thought maybe then mom and Bella will have settled down and maybe I can get a quick nap. Nope, not so my friends, that was asking too much on a crazy morning like this! When Bella and I got back into the house, mom was at the breakfast table ready to eat...oh yay!! So, guess what I did.......? Well, had breakfast with her...duh. I went off to school, not thinking I would be able to make it, but actually made it through the whole day, plus a couple of extra hours. Thank you, Lord! thought I was done didn't you?? Oh no, I said "times" for a reason. Early Wednesday morning, 3:30 this time, I woke up to scratching on my door again, my darling diva Bella was baaaaaccckkk! This time I was wise to her and told her to go get some water before she came in my room. That taken care of, we got into bed, thankfully no one woke up until almost 7 that morning, phew!! I was going to school that day too, but didn't have to get there until noon, much better! Better than the 6:30 that I left the house the day before, just to get out of there. When Bella and I came back in from potty time mom was getting dressed, but into something that she would normally wear on a Sunday morning. She asked me if what she had on was ok. I asked her why she was wearing it. Well, she knew it was a church day, but was just a bit confused that it wasn't in the morning, but at night. I convinced her to get comfy for the day. She did. I started breakfast and she came out in her "Sunday-go-to-meeting" outfit. I told her church wasn't until that night. She went back into the room and got comfy again. When breakfast was finished and I was washing the dishes, she came back out in her "Sunday" outfit with her purse this time and went to the living room window to see if the neighbor was on her way down to pick her up for church, then became very concerned because her car wasn't even down at her house....and people wonder why I'm a little...ok, many times ALOT off!! :o) I told her again that she wasn't going anywhere until that night. I told her she had approximately 8 hours before she needed to go anywhere. So, I figured she went back to get comfy clothes on again, relieved that she could be comfy. I got myself ready to go, took Bella out one more time before leaving for school. When Bella and I got back in, she was on the edge of the bed in her "Sunday" outfit, asking if that was ok to wear. Then also asking if the neighbor was coming to pick her up. At that point all I could do was mutter and sigh a "yeeeeesss". I kissed her goodbye and went off to school. She had to figure it out eventually right?.....ummm, right? At the end of the day, I became a little concerned because I hadn't checked on her that day. So, I called on my way home...and called again...and again...and again...and again... Well you get the picture. She wasn't answering the phone. I knew it, she looked out the window that morning, didn't see the neighbor's car in the driveway, walked down the street to check for sure, then tried walking to church and got lost on the way, and I am going to need to put out a missing person's bulletin when I get home. Then I called that "one more time" and she answered and was just fine. She was just outside sitting with Bella for a little silly of me!! When I got home wouldn't you know she was dressed in her comfy outfit and was ready to go to church, not even remembering all the craziness from the morning. When I got home from church, I got in the house just in time before a big flash of lightning. Mom just laughed at me coming in the house so fast. She came downstairs with me so she didn't have to stay upstairs dealing with the storm all by herself. We watched America's Got Talent, had some great laughs and just enjoyed one another...ahhhh. Craziness diverted for a little while. Thank you, Lord.
(Don't worry, this time I am done.) :)