My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Sunday, January 4, 2009


This morning in Bible Study we talked about prayer. We wrote down our prayer requests and put them on a stool in the middle of the room. We knelt together as a class (I sat criss-cross applesauce because I can't kneel that long!) and laid our hands on the requests and prayed together. My list was 3 pages long.

I thought about my list this afternoon as I lay in the nest sorta halfway napping.... just in my life, just in my little orbit, there are so many people with serious concerns and needs and hurts that need tending and mending. I don't say that to be negative or pessimistic... I just say that to acknowledge that we've all got junk going on that needs the touch of a loving and benevolent God.

I'm real enough with y'all for you to know that I have moments of sadness... of feeling overwhelmed... of being bitter... I whine a lot but it's because this is my place to unburden myself. Trust me... there's even more stuff that I don't talk about because it would be inappropriate in this forum. (Yes, I do have some filters... not many...). I come here to solicit advice, beg for compassion, to gain encouragement and perspective... but also so that when good things happen, you can understand how high the mountaintop is in comparison with the valley that I have just come from.

It's a delicate balance for me. I know that I have a powerful testimony of God's love and provision. I know that there are people who benefit now and who will benefit in the future from knowing that I survived through painful and discouraging events... and that they can too. I want to share but I also want to avoid bitterness and gossip. I want to do it in a way that gives glory to God.

I have placed my Ebenezer stone to remind myself that God helps. I believe ALL of this stuff I've been blogging about... how God is good... how He heals the brokenhearted... how He provides... it's all very real to me. Sometimes I am so immersed in my relationship with God that I even begin to forget the pain.

Today in Sunday School our teacher, Kat, talked about finding freedom and peace. My very first thought was, "I don't need freedom... I just need to not be sad any more". Duh! Freedom... freedom from pain... I definitely need that!

I will tell you quite honestly that for every victorious, strong post I make here... that I could make three more talking about the times that I don't feel strong or victorious. There are times that I feel like part of getting ready in the morning includes picking up all the broken pieces of me and stuffing them back into my one body. There are times that I'm just numb. And.... there are times that I think I could be in a commercial that says, "Heather Gant ... you just successfully left a miserable marriage... what happens next?" "I'm going to Disney World!!!" and the confetti falls all around and I'm on top of the world.

Btw... I'm not really sure what my last name should be. I stuck with my first husband's last name until I married Michael because it was just easier. I really don't want to have to do a name change on everything all over again because that was a real pain. Barry calls me Heather Sauls... he refuses to use Darby. He said, "to me, you'll always be Sauls". My kids call me Sauls. My paycheck says Darby. At church I'm more of a Gant because everyone knows my brother. I don't know. I don't see myself EVER getting married again... so I can't see myself adopting another name. I guess at some point I'll go back to Gant. I don't know. But that's not the point of this entry.

Michael called today for the first time in a month. The last conversation we had was ugly and hurtful. I know that he worked hard this time to not let this one take that road. The unfortunate truth, though, is that we see our situation completely differently... I guess the reality is that we never saw things the same way... it's foolish to think we would now. I hung up the phone and just sat motionless for about ten minutes. I wish I could say that I'm over it all... but it still hurts. I haven't cried... but I'm numb.

I don't want to go back. Not for one second. I don't want to ever live with him again. I absolutely wouldn't trade the relationship I am able to have with God now because of what I have been through to be able to be in a happy marriage with him. I know that our marriage is completely and permanently broken. But it still hurts. It still angers me. I'm not free yet.

I am, however, working toward healing. I believe that when Jesus died on the cross that he carried all of our sins and hurts and disappointments with him there. I believe that he felt the full weight of our shame and guilt and pain. In the same way that people will read my blog because they think I identify with what they're going through and they identify with what I'm going through... I honestly believe that God gets it.

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows
and familiar with suffering.
Like one from who men hide their faces
he was despised and we esteemed him not.
Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrow,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him
and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:3-5

I want to be healed. I want to be able to come here every single day and say, "I'm going to Disney World" and have the confetti fall all around me. I want every day of my life to be that victorious and I believe it can be. Right now I'm hitting those mountaintop experiences about once every 3-4 days. I'm getting there. It's so comforting to know that I am not alone. I believe that the things I prayed for this morning and the things I pray for in all my prayer times are under the authority of the power of God because I have placed them there.

I have the word "Prayer" written in the back of my bible as an acronym. This was from a sermon I heard on July 25, 1993 (I note sermons in my bible).

P - personal
R - relationship
A - acknowledging God is in control
Y - yearning to draw closer to him
E - expressing your thoughts and concerns
R - reaping eternal results

While praying, I'm also conceding that God may not answer my prayers the way I want him to. I'm aware that He may answer me with a "be still and know that I am God".... as He did for so many months there in Jacksonville. I know that there are times that our suffering brings about things that God needs to accomplish in us and through us.

Chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews is sometimes referred to as the Hall of Faith. It lists a multitude of Old Testament characters and the trials and tribulations they faced. It says that they "were tortured and refused to be released so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put into prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated - the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground."

Ok... that's some hard core suffering - not exactly a glowing endorsement for Christianity, right? Sign me up for all that! (not!)... and it also says, "These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised." v 39

To which I say... "whaaaaat?" You mean... I could end up never getting the things that I ask for? I could end up alone for the rest of my life? I could end up bogged down with this ICK for the rest of my life? I know that sometimes the tendency is to say, "How can I believe in a God who could allow me to go through... (fill in the blank)" And I can only say in return that "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11

I could say much more. There are a lot of reasons we go through hard times. I believe that sometimes we reap what we sow. I believe that so many of our hurts are the direct result of disobedience to God. (back to that fear God concept... ) I believe that there are sometimes things that happen that just. aren't. fair. There are definitely innocent victims sometimes. I don't think it's fair that Bobby's mama died how she did, when she did. I would never in a million years try to make that about anything she did wrong... or that her kids did wrong... to deserve that outcome. This is where faith has to turn to trust. It's one thing to believe that God CAN do something... it's quite another to trust that He WILL do what we think He should. Or that what He has done is for our ultimate good.

All things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

That's what I'm banking on... God is right here with me. In every moment where I feel numb... or disappointed... or lonely... or when the pain is so great that I can't even breathe... God is close to me. He's going to use this set of circumstances for my ultimate good. He took me away from what I thought I wanted... and He is preparing me for what I should have... for what He meant for me to be.

It's just about bedtime for me. I haven't slept well for the past two nights. I'm counting on a good night's sleep to prepare me for working the next six days in a row. There's another ICK for you! I'm going to just keep walking in faith and trust God to do what he needs to do in me. G'night y'all!


Anonymous said...

The beauty (if you can find any beauty in death) is that Bobby's mom did NOT die because of anything she may have done, or anything her children may have done, or anything her own parents may have done . . . Jesus Christ paid for all of Misty's sins (and yours, and mine, and her parents', and the future sins her children will commit) by dying on the cross. We aren't being punished when we or a loved one experience death or hardship ~ we have a loving God, one who sacrified His Own Son to pay that price for us.

sober white women said...

Just remember that only you can forgive and release yourself from pain. I held on to pain and then anger for a long time. It was so nice to shed that extra weight. Don't get me wrong, it did take a while so just take it one day at a time.

Anonymous said...

Oy. I am glad you have chosen a tradition that works for you and that you find an abiding faith rewarding. That's good.

You might also consider some of the following... I agree with SWW when she says, "Just remember that only you can forgive and release yourself from pain."

I mean this both in the sense that only you can forgive you, but forgive others is not as much a gift to them as it is a gift to yourself.

If you can forgive, then you free both another person and yourself of 'the extra weight'. If you can genuinely let go of bitterness and anger toward others and forgive them their mistakes, your metaphorical corset of spirit can be leaner and tighter.

In Judaism, it is sinful to ask for divine forgiveness before asking forgiveness of those in the world whom you have wronged and forgiving those who have wronged you.

That act, both of will and the manifest act itself, is an astonishing act of humility. It also is empowering in that you can learn to harness the stress of contrition into energy to better things.

The corollary is gratitude. There's a lot to be grateful for. You likely have over half your life left, yet hopefully over half your life's pains behind you.

You do not live in Gaza, where, regardless of your politics, you would not now want to be.

Your kids are healthy, your are working, you have found community, and the air you breath is reasonably pure.

You are loved, know that moment to moment, your material needs are met, and have the luxury to contemplate the nature of your world.

Most days you wake up with this in the bag, and that's a ton for which to be grateful.

While attention to one's soul is important, to be blinded by your soul and miss the terrestrial pleasures in life is also a divine mistake.

The cold, fresh fabulous pizza, the wit of Sondheim's lyrics, and other pleasures are all worth reveling.

A certain degree of spiritual aestheticism is good, but not at the expense of limiting your experiences from which to draw.


LYN said...

thanks for inspiring me...