Days #59-70

Migrating from WordPress to a self hosted site, has been hard. WordPress is like a bad break up, they are ex that doesn’t want to return your things.

Life has not been easy this last month. Changes in my age, my employment, family issues…I want life to slow down and just be peaceful. It gets really difficult.  Thankfully God is bigger than all of these issues.

 

Gossip…Loose lips sink ships

“But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness and their talk will spread like gangrene…” 2 Timothy 2:16-17

 

Gossip…I cringe when I hear that word, but I have gossiped with the best of them.  I have gossiped about people who I know, loved and hated.  I have read my fair share of gossip columns or watched entertainment shows about celebrities.  Who doesn’t want to get the dirt on someone?  It is our selfish nature to compete and feel better about ourselves.  But when you are on the receiving end of it, it is devastating and hurtful.

 

It was a new school year for my child and I noticed that a particular student was not at school.  I asked around, but truly for concern, because they literally dropped off from the face of the earth.  Everyone had their ideas of what happened but no real answers.  Then one day, I drove past their home (which was in the neighborhood of the school) and saw people with what looked like Hazmat suits rummaging through their belongings.  It appeared to have been a clean up crew that would go in once a home was abandoned.  The first thing that entered my mind was, I have to tell someone!

However, immediately, I felt this jolt, like a slap to the back of the head.  God said told me, “Don’t you dare!  Would you like someone spreading half truths or lies about you?”  Sure, what I saw was true, but there is obviously a full story behind it.  Maybe, they just had a cleaning crew come out or they did have to abandon their home for a serious reason.  But I was in no position to talk about their affairs.  Imagine if I did, it would be like the old game “phone tree”.  One would say what I said to their friend, then they would tell their friend, but jazz it up a bit for drama’s sake until it became nothing like it was first cited.  It was none of my business.  Until I am told by that person or their spokesperson of what happened, I have to remain silent and pray for their situation.

 

Gossip is a hard habit to break, but we are told in God’s word how much our words matter.  Even in our venting about friends and family to other friends and family have to be done in a way that it is not a full assault or exaggerated truths.  If we are confided to a secret, keep that secret.  When we are given private information, keep it private.  “Treat others as you wish to be treated”  is perfect when dealing with this.  When you hear gossip about someone, don’t take part in it.  If you are told something in secret, keep it secret.  This world seems so out of control and it is hard not to get swept up into this whirl wind of people’s private lives especially on social media.  But change is possible!

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father.  Protect me Lord in my relationships to not reveal secrets.  Help me control my ability to share others’ information.  Help me protect privacy.  Forgive me when I have taken part in gossip or slander.  If I notice a situation, remind me to ask first if I can help.  If they do not want my help, let me be okay with that.  Let me content in my life that I don’t need to know every facet of the lives of others.  In Jesus’ Name. AMEN!”

Be gentle (with yourself)

“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39

 

We have heard these verses quoted and hopefully take them to heart and practice them daily.  We are to put God first and love our neighbors. I do look at the last verse differently now.  I have come to realize that when you love your neighbor as yourself, you are supposed to have love for yourself too.  Not a distorted love, that is selfish.  It is a love that is gentle and not critical.  I have lived my life as my own worst enemy.  Shame could have been my middle name.

 

I have dealt with an eating disorder, gave depression and anxiety a foothold.  I felt suffocated daily.  These are some of the things I would tell myself, “You are so stupid, you know the Lord, get it together.”  “Why can’t you get better?”  “You are letting people down.” “You are so fat and ugly, no one would want to look at you.” “No one wants to be your friend.  You bring everyone down.”  “Seriously, people live so much worse than you, why can’t you just be happy?”  Lovely, isn’t it?  Would you talk to your friends that way?  If you heard a person speak to someone you love like that, you would knock them into next week.

 

I have been trying to purposefully relax.  I try to do it on my own, but I forget or get distracted with the anxiety.  A good friend of mine does Somatic Experiencing work.  It is best defined as “a form of therapy aimed at relieving and resolving the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental and physical trauma-related health problems by focusing on the client’s perceived body sensations (or somatic experiences).”  Basically, we learn to cope a certain way (the way we think is correct) to handle life’s traumas.   When I get anxious, I begin to panic, because my body thinks it is in danger and wants to get out of the situation (fight or flight).  I could be in line at Costco or at school pick up and want to leave because I am feeling strangled or nauseous.  I tell myself I am only in line, it isn’t anything to be concerned with, but my body reacts as if I am going to speak in front of 10,000 people or go jump out of a plane.  I get down on myself and think to myself, there are people suffering diseases or having to flee their home country due to a natural disaster or war, why can’t you stand in line or go to the dentist without hyperventilating.  I am trying to convince myself to count my blessings, but instead, I just want to run screaming for the hills.  When I explain to my friend, how I feel and how upset I am about not getting better,  she tells me “be gentle with yourself.”  She explains, my body has to re-learn how to handle stress.  It won’t happen overnight. Practice and more practice.

 

God is on our side.  He wants us to thrive and carry out His will.  He will equip us and guide us.  The enemy will throw everything our way, to stop us and disable us.  It is exhausting to think of it as a daily battle but that is what it is.  Be relieved in knowing the victory will come and there is no time we have to finish this by.  Stop blaming yourself and others.  Many times we try to accomplish much to impress people we don’t know or like.  Look forward and be gentle with yourself.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father,  Renew my mind today.  Help me remember your word and that you love me.  Remind me that I am enough and that my standards are to match your way, not of the world’s way.  Protect my mind when I feel unsettled.  Guide my thoughts to heavenly places.  Steady my physical body to respond calmly to situations and circumstances rather than react.  Father God, allow me to let you fight the battles in this world.  Thank you for freedom and victory and being an over comer!  In Jesus’ Name! AMEN!”

Days #52-58

I switched from WordPress to have my site managed by someone else I trust.  In the midst of the change over, my 1 year old, just past the warranty date, lap top decide to crash.  I was trying to work on the website via cell phone or borrowing other people’s computers.  I also had several other things happen.  I had debilitating stomach pain that led to lots of testing  which determined, I am just getting old.  I found another part time job that will increase my work hours to almost 30 hours a week.  We were exposed to lice and was just cleared of not having it.  I am tired and cranky.  I just want peace and to slow down.  But the computer is fixed and better than before, I start the new job tomorrow, my tummy is better and we don’t feel the need to itch anymore.  Thank you Heavenly Father, for carrying us through these situations and reminding us, you are greater than all of these things.

The “I don’t care” Syndrome

And whatever you do, in work or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17

I was walking through the aisles of my local supermarket, running my errands. I walked down one of the frozen food aisles and noticed two exasperated employees (one clerk and one store manager). They were looking at one of the cases talking about how terrible it looked. The clerk told the manager, “I called this vendor and spoke with the person that stocked this section, explaining how terrible it looked and how many complaints I had received. He basically told me he didn’t care. He said he would go tell his supervisor. The vendor responded, ‘go ahead!’” The manager looked shocked and I could see him getting very upset. He said to the clerk, “Please give me their contact person and I will make them care.” The clerk didn’t seem positive and he said, “I hope so, but don’t hold your breath.”

I am not sure when we as a society started to not care about doing the job right. We fill our schedules with more than we can handle and then do everything in a hurry to finish. Many just coast through the day because they hate their current job and hope no one notices what was not accomplished and figure they can just deal with it. I notice that with my own life. I just don’t want to do piles of laundry or clean dirty floors. I would rather watch a movie or day dream. But those errands won’t go away, our responsibilities won’t become someone else’s deal. I noticed when I cared about something, I did a great job. I made sure I followed through, I took care of it. If we look at all of our responsibilities as if we are to please God when we pursue and accomplish them, we definitely would do a better job and put our heart into it. This does not have to be perfect, because it never will be, but to be done in a way that showed we cared. So when you face that pile of laundry, give thanks you do not have to beat it on a rock down by the river and that your family is clothed. When I re-examined my time spent, I could do the important tasks better. I began to discard items (clutter) that I did not need and tasks that were truly are unnecessary (I took a break from social media and other time suckers). Let’s try to bring back caring about doing the job well again and focus on what truly matters, pleasing the Lord.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive our laziness. Help us manage our time and efforts better. Remind us what should be a priority. Fill any void in our lives with your promises instead. Show us what we need to remove in our lives that is keeping us from giving full attention to what really matters. When we have to do the necessary but mundane daily tasks, give us direction and help us find joy in everything we do. In Jesus’ Name. AMEN!”

Day #50 & 51

Being tested, it is not fun. But it reminds you if you have matured in that area. Usually, I fail and get mad or whiny. But thankfully God doesn’t rub our nose in it. We just need to take a moment, reset, ask for forgiveness and pray for guidance and protection. That valley is deep but our God is greater!

Forget Me Not

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.” Psalm 71:9

My husband’s uncle was a hard working Wisconsin dairy farmer. He, also loved keeping record of his ancestry and would host many reunions. During some childhood Summers, my husband would go out to Wisconsin and visit. When he was a kid, his uncle would throw him up in the air and catch him in his arms. My husband has very fond memories of spending time with he and his family.

We went to visit that uncle and aunt this past summer vacation. My husband wanted to have our daughter see the place he cherished going to as a kid. Our daughter would be meeting my husband’s uncle for the first time. But we would have to visit him in a special facility. He has Parkinson’s disease, a disorder that affects his central nervous system. He had been living with it for many years, but he fell and has been needing round the clock care for the last 3 years.

The first morning we were there, we visited him. I saw his frail body sitting in a wheel chair, eyes completely shut to the world. The nursing staff, would talk to him and he wouldn’t even move. They tried to feed him, nothing happened. We decided to try a visit again tomorrow. As I walked out of the room, I burst into tears. I had an idea of what to expect. But it is was more heart wrenching than I believed it would be. All these thoughts came into my head…

Would my parents need this type of place?”

Would my husband or I need a place like this?”

We should have visited sooner.”

We came back the next four days in a row. These days were better. He was responsive and would eat on his own. He tried to speak. Sometimes, we could understand a word or two, most times, nothing. He did delight us with some Hymn singing. My husband’s Aunt, told her husband, that we came to visit. He looked at my husband. He stared at him. I wondered if he knew who he was. Then I noticed his eyes becoming watery and a tear fell down his face. My heart broke and leaped at the same time. He knew. He was happy. He said, “Been a long time.” My husband said, “I look a little different, a few extra pounds?” His uncle replied, “yep!” with a little smile.

We saw the room he slept in and I saw all of these pictures that my mother in law gave him and other greeting cards and notes. It struck me, even if he can’t communicate all the time, he is still aware of who his family and friends are. He probably is in high anticipation to receive any sort of mail or a visit. Yet, we forget. All the people in that nursing facility just want to be remembered. It broke my heart, that many patients do not have one visitor come for them. They sit and watch their television or put together the same puzzle, everyday. Society leads us to use email, texts or Facebook to communicate with everyone, rejecting true interaction. When what we need is to remember the forgotten with a visit, a phone call, cards and letters. Who wouldn’t want a card in the mail and know someone is thinking of us?

That visit to that nursing facility taught me several things.

  1. To remember what Jesus did for us and to daily seek a relationship with Him.

  2. To make relationships be the priority, not daily time wastes .

  3. Make people feel like they matter. Encourage and love one another.

  4. Cards may not be cheap anymore (yikes! But yeah for Trader Joe’s and dollar stores!) but it sure puts a smile on one’s face to receive one.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, help us remember the important things in life. Let it become a habit to reach out and remember family and friends. Let us not feel burdened but to let it fill our hearts. I thank you that you remember us all the time. Restore our hearts, so we can act in love. In Jesus’ Name…AMEN!”

Day #47

When I am in search for
answers, I seem to ask everyone for their opinion or experience with that matter. Unfortunately, I end up more frustrated and anxious with all the information. Sometimes, being still and patient are what is needed. The answers will come.