Progressive faith or how to count down your blessings.

If you asked me 2 months ago if I was a runner, I would have laughed and said, most emphatically: “No!  Unless I’m being chased.”.  I dislocated my knee and had two (unrelated) surgeries, all in one year, I’m a little out of shape. Yet now, I’m running a mile and a half twice a week with my children at their school’s running club.  Okay, my participation is more a run-walk-jog-walk-run but, every week I’m running more and walking less. 

If you asked me 12 months ago if I was a writer, I would have been too protective of my written thoughts to reply with anything affirmative. Now, I have a blog, I’m part of a writer’s group and I’ve done the scariest thing ever for me!  I shared my written creation with others!  For critique, no less!  Not just a book I’m working on, but my heart’s most inner thoughts, my poetry!  This is coming from a former high school student who once wrote a fantastic story (so she was told), and took an F because I would not, could not, stand up in front of the class to give an oral presentation.

5 years ago, I was not a public speaker, now I speak to church groups, and young people in the ministry groups I help lead and with young women outside of the groups through mentoring I do with them. 

10 years ago, I was not yet a mother, now my life is so full with two gregarious clones of my DNA!

30 years ago, I wasn’t sure how I was going to survive what was happening to me at the hands of someone I should have been able to trust. Now that pain gives me empathy and a sad, sincere credibility to others looking for help in their own private hells.

This looks like a scattered countdown of the past but, it’s so much more.  I can see now where the impossible became possible and where I took a chance and let God work.  I am not arrogant enough to suggest He was just on the sidelines and I was doing it on my own.  People were praying for me all along without knowing specifics.

Rather, I am grateful for Him continuously weaving his river of life throughout my history unbeknownst to me, while He awaited my free will to choose to change my heart to trust Him. I know I was under His protection when things could have been so much worse, although that was hard to believe at the time.

It’s scary and humbling to think there are people being affected by what I say or write. It is incomprehensible to me how my life experiences are being used to effectively impact people today. It is hugely reassuring to stand vulnerable to my God and ask for and receive His grace, time and time again.

You matter! I’m sorry for the pain you’ve been witness to and my heart breaks for the suffering you have been subjected to, whether in the past, present, or both. I can’t take that away. I can’t tell you it will ever completely go away. Here’s what I can tell you.

People out there have walked a similar path and are waiting and willing to share your pain and show you love and build a relationship with you, pray with and for you. If you invest yourself in those relationships, you will get better and stronger. As long as Christ is a priority and a major part of your recovery, you will put distance between you and the pain. There will be a time when you too, can count down your blessings.

If it’s too painful to talk about, write about it. Drop me a comment and let me know what you’ve been able to count down in your life.

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Stir crazy, with a humbling dose of perspective.

Have you ever been accused of going stir crazy?  It’s usually because you’re doing something, actively physically freaking out or demonstrating a lack of control over some issue, right?  I am currently going stir crazy in my mind!  Friday, my knee decided to “spontaneously dislocate and relocate” itself, while I was standing still! Can you believe that is even possible? My husband was sure I was being melodramatic.  I’m not a melodramatic person,and once he saw the marshmallow developing where my kneecap used to be visible, he realized I was in trouble.  Now, I’m as spontaneous as they come but, I had no idea the rest of my body felt that free of restriction as well!  So, I’m now 4 days into my convalescence and next week is a hiking field trip with my son!  That should be interesting, don’t you think?  Do you ever get those times when you become so narcissistic and just don’t quite keep everything in the right perspective, even while thinking you are?

Yesterday, that perspective came to a head.  About a year ago, I became reacquainted with a wonderful woman through Facebook, whom I had known in my youth group in high school and college.  I also knew her sister and we have great memories of our various antics.  I was stunned to read yesterday morning on my friend’s page, that she was asking for prayer for her sister’s family because she was in OK, right in the path of the tornado and they hadn’t heard from her yet because she was at school with her son!  All of a sudden, nothing else took precedent over my fervent prayer that God would see fit to grant mercy to that family and bring them home safe together.  About an hour or two later, she checked in on Facebook and I’m sure all of us who read that beautiful short paragraph breathed a silent prayer of gratitude as we sighed with relief.  They are whole when so many families are not.  They will still deal with the devastation that took out most of their neighborhood and the long term recovery process along with all the post traumatic stress that goes along with all of this tragedy,

I start physical therapy on Friday for my knee.  I’m going to do all I can to be able to participate in my son’s field trip because that’s a priority for me.  However, if I don’t for some reason beyond my control, I know I tried my best and it is not as important as having my family together, all in one piece.

One reporter was interviewing a lady who survived the tornado and as the survivor described her harrowing ordeal and the steps she had taken, the reporter said, and I quote:”It’s almost like a miracle that you escaped from your house with no injuries.  What were you doing?”  The survivor went on to explain standing with pillows surrounding her and how she prayed!  “What did you say?” she was asked by the reporter.  The survivor replied:”I just prayed, God help me, and I believe He did.  He took care of us, just like he always has.”  This is a woman who’s whole house and neighborhood was leveled and yet, she knows it wasn’t almost a miracle.  It was the providence of a loving God who heard and answered her prayer.

I know many will automatically think of the lives lost, where was God then?  I don’t know how to address that question without personally having a conversation with the person asking such a valid question.  I cannot answer that to anyone’s satisfaction, myself included, so I will not even speculate.  I cannot even pretend to know the motives or reason for what happens in this fallen world of ours.  I know God is ever present and His mercy is endless.  I will remain in prayer, knowing I am gathered with so many other believers, (you included, perhaps), in supporting the hundreds of families dealing with the aftermath of one of the worst disasters in recent history.