Trusting the Only One I Can Conclusion

Part Two

Very shortly before we moved, we finally settled where we would be living. A first-time landlord was renting out a beautiful country home for a price we could just afford, and, man, the pictures were just beautiful. They even helped us move in and flew down from another state to sign the papers with us the very day after we arrived in Missouri, so we only had to spend two nights in an expensive hotel.

Fantastic. Beautiful house, tons of space, living in the country with plans to grow tons of veggies in the big garden, almost fully unpacked quicker than I thought possible. Marty’s work was going great, and they were promising him a promotion, and we even found a church to visit that seemed good. Yup, it was a good 2 weeks or so.

Then Marty ended up at the hospital. And I had a wreck. And I started resenting the stupid country home. Stupid house, with stupid gravel roads, and stupid ambulances and tow trucks that couldn’t ever find it, and stupid lack of cellphone and internet reception, and stupid everything. I felt unsafe, and I was worried about having an accident or emergency and being unable to get help. I was afraid to drive over 10 MPH, and my anxiety and depression went through the roof.

Mom, my hero, came to my rescue again. She stayed with me for a month at the beginning of Marty’s deployment when I was falling apart, and she stayed with me for three weeks here in Missouri when I was falling apart. She helped me a lot, and I got some support from my doctor, and I got back into counseling, and we attended church regularly at the church Marty and I had visited twice, but I was hardly praying, and I wasn’t really acting as if I trusted God.

Right after my mom had to leave, Marty and I spoke on the phone, and he revealed some things to me that were extremely painful. Things from his past that he had been advised never to tell me… but he decided he wanted to be open (and, in my opinion, he probably needed to get these things out in the open in order to heal). At first, the pain was excruciating, but that didn’t last as long as I’d expected. It faded and was replaced by an extremely heavy burden. It was so heavy, and I cried not because I was hurting so much as because I just didn’t know what in the world to do with this burden, this information. Where did life go from here, and what was I supposed to do every day? I felt kind of numb, kind of depressed, very burdened.

But God never abandoned me. Never, in everything I’ve gone through, and only a few of you really know everything that I’ve gone through. When I’m in true need, he always has made a way. My jobs and living situations, in so many more instances than the ones I’ve mentioned above… He always provided. Financially, always. When I had a wreck and was panicked? When we had to pay thousands of dollars for fixing the car and having a rental? When Marty was in the hospital? My mom was able to come, the money came just in time for our DITY move, and God put us in exactly the right place.

It took that kind of breaking that happened when Marty revealed those things to me to get to another level. Because for two days I carried that burden, and then it was Sunday. I planned to get up early and go to church, and I was going to talk to the Pastor’s wife that morning before service and try to get some help or perspective or prayer or something. When I woke up, though, I said screw it. Nevermind. I can’t do it. I’m tired, and I’m depressed, and I’m going back to sleep. I did. I went back to sleep. And then I woke up, and I had just enough time to go to church. I went.

(Sidenote: This church is different from any I’ve been to. They call themselves non-denominational and Holy Spirit led. They’re truly unique. And at this church, the worship service is basically in the dark, and many of the congregation (which is only about 15 people on a good day) go up front to this open area where they sometimes dance or lift hands or kneel or lay flat on their faces or wave flags around or clap or just whatever they’re led to do. It’s all completely unique. I spent my first two months there standing by my pew and singing, like I would have anywhere else, but I kept feeling like I should go up. Go up front. Go up front. I felt like I needed to just do it. Go up front. I told God he had to be patient with me because I’m shy. Just be patient, God. I’m not trying to fight you, just trying to work up the courage.)

Worship began, and I felt that tug I’d been feeling for weeks. Go up front. I thought about it, but no, I couldn’t. See, so-and-so is standing right there, and I’d have to squeeze past and disturb her, and, see, on the other side there’s so-and-so, and he’s taking up the whole space. I won’t fit. We got to the second to the last song, and all the so-and-sos left. Errr.. Okay, God. I guess… I guess this is it. I started to go, I stopped. I almost took a step, I stopped. I took a step, I went back. Finally, though, I forced myself to walk up to the front. I stood awkwardly to the side with my arms crossed across my tummy and closed my eyes and sang.

The female deacon of the church came up to me shortly afterward and placed her hand on the center of my chest, starting to pray for me. I kept singing. She gently unfolded my arms till they were palm-up at my sides. She touched my head, told me to let go, let go, let go, breathe deep. From behind me, someone was touching my back, and someone was holding my arms up until I was reaching up to heaven, and I started to shake. It was hot. I was worried maybe nothing would happen, and how would I have faith then? But I was shaking, and I was breathing deep and telling God I let go, I don’t want it, You take it! My knees were weak, and at least three people were praying around me as the last song started up.

They say you’re slain in the Spirit when they touch you and pray over you and you fall down. I wanted that, but I couldn’t figure out where the line was between resisting and simply letting my legs give out. Eventually, though, I was at the point where I felt like I was going to faint, and I just went ahead and sat down. The others left, though one put a light blanket over my head, but the deacon stayed and prayed. She held my face and prayed and told me to let go, and I continued to just try and do what she said. Breathe deep. Let go of everything.

When worship ended, I sat for a while. When I opened my eyes, I was kind of seeing double. I was still shaky, and I felt a bit intoxicated. But oh, I felt joy. I felt light. I felt… my burden was gone. As if God said, of course you don’t know what to do with this burden. It’s not yours to carry! The sermon afterward felt like it was just for me, and that afternoon I got even more encouragement from talking to the pastor. God has never been so real to me as he has been since that day…

And I could finally see how God had worked everything out just perfectly. Now, Marty’s going to be medically discharged from the Army, but it wasn’t God’s will for him to deny the orders to Missouri and get out the way he wanted to. No, we had to come here. We had to come here so he could have the care he needed when he ended up in the hospital. We had to come here so we could grow in the ways we needed to grow. We had to come to this house, because otherwise we would never have gone to this tiny church in the middle of nowhere. We needed to be here, at this time, and things needed to happen in this way, and even when it was too much to handle, it was all right (and alright!) because God had things in hand. He always does.

God is the One who will never let me down. The only One I can fully trust with absolutely no doubt or fear of being let down. Because of what He has done in my life (definitely not because of what I have done), I’ve finally come to a point of what I believe is complete trust in Him. I think it will be tested, and I think I will have to really put forth effort to live out that trust when I’m tempted to worry about things, but I honestly believe that I can say that I trust him completely. With everything. And I hope to learn to keep giving over things to Him as I realize that I’m holding onto the control or worrying about the outcome. Even when my anxiety and depression tells me things are not ok, I know deep down that they are.

And I’m not sure what else I can say. I can’t make anyone else trust Him. I can’t convince you that my experiences are not just coincidental and emotional but truly spiritual. But that’s my story. And I just want to brag on my Heavenly Father and how amazing he is.

Trusting the Only One I Can Continued

Part One

I was working a part-time job which I liked, but I needed income from a full-time job. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I got a call from an office I had faxed a resume to probably six months prior, and they gave me a job with a higher hourly pay and a promise to move me up to full time after a short while. My mom, always full of faith, said it must be God. I said ok. I was excited about the prospect of having enough money to support myself and move out of my parents’ house before they moved out of state.

I believe it was the very day after I got hired that I went to Goodwill during my lunch-break with my coworker from my original job, and there I found a couch. I needed this couch. It was in great condition, and I could afford it, and I knew I could store it in my mom’s house until I moved out. I can’t remember how it worked out, but somehow or other, my parents went to look at the couch themselves. My mom told me I should pray about it. I said ok. Later that night, I was whining to her about wanting the couch and asking her to make the decision for me. Could I have it? Her answer: did you pray about it? Me: …no… I pouted and went back into my room, laid on the bed, and prayed for the first time in a long time.

I asked God… should I get the couch? What should I do? And I heard…nothing. Not that I should do nothing, but I heard no reply. I heard nothing at all. I was frustrated. I went to work the next day still frustrated and still not sure what to do. Then I got a phonecall from my mom saying that, if I liked, they could meet me at the store after work to get the couch. I agreed, and we went.

When we got to the store, however, the couch was sold. I was a little taken aback. Like… *blink blink* … ok God. No couch. That was a pretty direct answer.

I left feeling pretty good, and I started to pray more. I prayed about my new job, thanking God for it. I went to work at the new job. I hated it. Okay… but God gave it to me, right? So I prayed, and I told God it was really hard, and I didn’t know whether to quit or not, and what should I do? Should I keep it? No answer.

I went to work again, and in the middle of the day, I was fired. Umm… *blink blink* … ok, God. Thanks for that. At least I didn’t have to quit.

I stayed at my original job, and before long they bumped up my pay and my hours. Then, again, they bumped it up, and I was working full time! When it was time to move out of my parents’ house, God directed me to a really great first apartment. Based on my previous experiences, I was confident when I prayed about whether to take the apartment, even though I didn’t hear a supernatural voice saying “DO IT!” because I had begun to trust that while I was seeking His will, He wasn’t going to lead me into something contrary to it. Around this time I also finally started reading the Bible regularly again.

Fast forward some, and we get to my dear husband’s reappearance in my life. We had known each other since we were twelve, but we had never dated. When it came down to deciding to date, I took it very seriously. I had been praying for months that God would prepare me to be a good wife but also to help me be content in singleness, which was something I had never been content in. Finally, I felt content, and there came Marty, and there came a new feeling about him that was more than what I’d felt for him the previous 7 years… So I prayed about it some more. A lot more. For about 3 months straight. And I sought advice from people I trusted, godly people. I felt peace with the decision that I should go ahead. All signs pointed to yes. And so we dated, and so we married, and so we fast-forward again.

Since that point in my life, I was kind of stagnant in my spiritual life. Actually, dating and getting married hampered things because I no longer made time for prayer and the Bible. I knew I shouldn’t make my husband my “god,” but I just couldn’t seem to get my priorities straight. So I kind of stayed where I was. I had a sort of confidence that God wasn’t going to let us walk into something awful if we were seeking Him, and that was about it. Then, during Marty’s last deployment, he got orders for Fort Leonard Wood, and Marty had to extend his time in the Army in order to take the orders.

He was basically forced to stay in longer, when he had been planning to get out. And we were both like… Ummm… ok God. If you say so… Missouri, here we come.

Things have been a struggle, let me tell you. Deployment was a struggle, but I grew some… Of course, my good habits of daily Bible reading and prayer didn’t really carry over once Marty came home. Things were just too hectic. We had trips to take and packing to do and a move on the horizon, and Marty was really struggling with stuff at work. The time between his coming home and our moving was hard. Deciding to do a DITY move, having to pack up our whole house and load the moving truck and drive ourselves and our three animals to another state… Oh, and there was the struggle of trying to figure out where we could live. I tried to trust God, but it sure felt like I was doing everything. Where in the world was He, and where in the world were we going to live, and how was I supposed to have any peace when it’s weeks till the move and we still have no place to live! See, really, I wasn’t trusting God at all.

Wednesday in the Word

Last week I was encouraged, by a Bible study I’m doing with some women at my church, to choose two verses each week and post them up and reflect on them, meditate on them, even memorize them. I have long thought known I should memorize and meditate on scripture beyond my daily Bible reading (which I have strived to make a habit this year), but I have felt too overwhelmed to do it. Where would I start? Yeah, I should “hide His Word in my heart,” but… there’s a lot of words! It felt too big to tackle!

But, I’m in a Bible study called Discerning the Voice of God.

And I really want to hear Him. And I really want to get the most from this study! So I took the suggestion and chose two verses. I wrote them neatly in cursive on a piece of paper and stuck it on my bathroom mirror. Now, the problem is, often if I post something up on my mirror I stop really seeing it after a time, but I tried to make myself look at it, read it, apply it to what I went through this week.

I believe that I will look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
Psalm 27:13-14 (ESV)

I am realizing that what I believe affects what I think and feel as well as what I do. To take an example from the book Thin Within, if I believe I’m a chicken, I will act like a chicken, pecking at the ground in the chicken coop with other chickens. But if I believe I’m an eagle, I will soar high above. I won’t stay in the coop. If I believe God doesn’t care about me and there is nothing good this side of Heaven, I will live accordingly. I will doubt him, I will feel hopeless, I will take situations into my own hands. But if I believe I will see His goodness, here, on Earth, that he’s here with me, that will then change my outlook on life.

I’m also encouraged by the message to wait on the Lord. Of course, this appears numerous times in the Bible, but I’ve never thought about it. Take courage, it says, and wait. Often I feel anxious in my inactivity. I need to know what’s going to happen and plan how I’m going to face it, and I feel afraid if I don’t know God’s plan for me. And he says instead to wait. With courage. Believe that I will see His goodness, and be okay with leaving the future in his hands.

The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save.
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
he will quiet you by his love,
he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV)

It is said rather indirectly, but it speaks to me and reminds me that God not only loves me but also delights in me. Exulting means lively, triumphant joy, jubilation, and elation. He rejoices over me and is glad for me. He sings over me.

I sing to Him, sometimes with a heart so full that I want to cry, and yet this verse says HE sings over ME. Our conquering hero never leaves us alone, but stays with us, and not only that, but he loves us and enjoys us. As I faced difficulty this last week dealing with depression again, I kept coming back to this verse and meditating on it, letting it sink in, trying to imagine a God who loves me so much. His love really did work to quiet my soul.

Birdy Blessings Part 4

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Birdy successfully distracted me from obsessing over the approach of R&R, and before I knew it Hubby was home and meeting Birdy himself. They took to each other right away. Birdy seemed to bring a sort of balance to R&R that might not have otherwise been there. We were unable to be too far away from him, as he was still dependent on me for feedings while he was learning to peck at seeds and drink water on his own, but we were still able to doo all the fun things we wanted to do. The only thing that got left out of R&R was something that would have cost us a large amount of money, and we weren’t so disappointed to pass up that opportunity, when it came right down to it. Birdy held us together. He brought us joy in the mornings as we fed him and in the evenings before bed. Hubby knew that sometimes, if I was tired and cranky, all I needed was a little dose of Birdy’s love to cheer me up. We even took Birdy on walks and took him in the backyard to fly. He kept us company at home as we played on the Xbox or watched movies. We were, in fact, looking forward to keeping him and having him around for a good 15-20 years.Birdy family portrait

However, Birdy’s story has somewhat of a bittersweet ending.

“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Job 1:21b (ESV)

The day Hubby left to fly back to Iraq, Birdy also left to fly away and make his own life. The Lord gave him to us for just a short time to meet needs in Birdy’s life and in ours. I was able to give him warmth and shelter and car when he needed it to survive, and before he left he learned to eat seeds on his own and drink water, to preen and to fly, and then he apparently no longer needed my mothering. I pray that he stays safe, and I grieve for the fact that he probably won’t live as long in the wild as he would in my home, but he is where he wants to be. And he is as much in God’s hands now as he was the day I found him weak and hungry, as much as the day he vomited and I was sure he was dying. The Lord has Birdy in His hands. And as I put seeds out in the backyard daily, I sometimes catch a glimpse of this one mourning dove who likes to return alone and peck around. I’m pretty sure it’s Birdy, stopping by for Mom’s free food. Smile

birdy last picture

 

 

 

This is our last picture together, just minutes before Birdy left the “nest.”

(Click for videos: Birdy Got Lost | Trying to Fly)
(Sadly, we didn’t take videos of Birdy during R&R, and I intended to start taking videos again when Hubby left, but I ran out of time, so all the videos we have are of his younger days)

Language

Let’s talk about language. I’ve always been fascinated by languages. When I was a young teenager, I made a list of all the languages I wanted to know. I didn’t just want to learn; I wanted to become a fluent speaker of those languages! A little too ambitious, perhaps, but I hoped to one day be fluent in four or five other languages besides English, including American Sign Language (ASL), French, and Dutch. I suppose it was only natural with a father from the Netherlands and both parents and a set of grandparents working in linguistics. I ended up taking 2½ years of French and ½ a year of Spanish in high school. At my church, my mother and I studied some ASL with a missionary to the Deaf, and when I went on to college, I continued by taking five classes (about 3 semesters worth) of ASL.

Though I no longer really hope to become fluent in all the languages in which I’m interested, I have recently added Na’vi to the list of languages I want to know. I can’t help it! I want to know more!

Grammar & Syntax

I can be, at times, what you might call a Grammar (and punctuation) Nazi. In my book, grammar and punctuation are so closely related they are basically the same subject. I don’t know all the rules, but I tend to be strict about those I know, and I’m always looking to learn more about grammar rules and what is correct. Yes, when spending hours and hours IMing, back in the day, I drove friends nuts by correcting their errors, and they drove me nuts by ignoring my corrections. Some of my pet peeves:

  • The commas. I could never comprehend why people have so much trouble learning to use a comma. The biggest mistakes that irk me are below:
    – I like to sing and, play guitar.
    – My hair is soft, long and blonde. (The fact that this comma usage is becoming more widely accepted does not stop it from irritating me!)
  • The wrong-word-usage. For example:
    – Its vs. It’s
    – Their vs. There
    – Here vs. Hear
    – Know vs. Now (Yes, people actually make that mistake.)
    – Who vs. Whom (If you don’t know which word to use, re-word your sentence.)
  • Prepositional Phrases.
    – Having multiple prepositional phrases in the same sentence while neglecting to pay attention to the word order.
    – Ending sentences with prepositions! It bothers me when I do it, too. 🙂

What is it about languages that intrigues me so much?

Studying

Maybe I’m interested simply because I’m able to understand languages. My mind grasps the concepts, the rules, and the similarities between one language and another, and it wants to know more! I don’t plan to be a linguist, but my desire to learn more about languages is hard to ignore. I do plan to take as many language courses and learn as much as I can in the future!

What about you? Do you have an affinity for languages as well? Are you already fluent in multiple languages? Do you have any tips for learning new languages? I’d love for you to share!

And don’t worry – if you don’t like languages, that won’t make me think any less of you. 😛

Note: This blog was inspired partially by Your Friend, The Comma, which I read almost two months ago.