My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Saturday, January 10, 2009

things to think about

I've always been a tv junkie. I am the girl who highlights a week at a time in the tv guide. I preprogram my dish tv to automatically change to shows I want to see. I never watch one show at at time... I flip back and forth between two or three. Lately I'm finding that I don't have patience with tv. I want something more substantial to fill my time. My thoughts are too deep, my feelings too real for me to connect with the things that used to amuse me.

Last night I had the opportunity to go contradancing (sorta like square dancing and line dancing) with some girlfriends - a girls night out! And I looked forward to it but at the same time, just wasn't ready for it. It's not that I don't want to laugh and be sociable and be with friends but for the most part, I just don't feel connected when I'm in a large group of people. I feel like I'm having an out of body experience. I opted to stay home and spent many beautiful hours just filling my mind with scripture and reading encouraging stories and praying. With the tv turned off.

I spent some time on the phone with Dean talking about the "why" of our situation. Why do bad things happen? Why do marriages end? Why do people fall out of love? Once my divorce is final, Michael and I can walk away from each other forever and never look back. I could quit cold turkey. Dean will spend the rest of his life having to interact and communicate with the mother of his children. Regardless of who "wins" in court when custody is determined, his children lose a parent, at least in their day to day lives.

I know this much - I know good things come out of suffering. I love the "every" and "all" and "nothing" verses in the bible because they're absolutes. In Romans 8:28 it tells us that "ALL things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose".

I know that during times of suffering we are more aware of God's hand in our life.
Case in point - Dean made a difficult decision to move from Jacksonville to Louisville, Kentucky, just as they started the divorce proceedings. Sounds crazy, right? He endured accusations of moving just to force the court's hand regarding joint custody, which is something Florida courts try to arrange whenever possible. Then, just this past week, as he had suspected, his position in Jacksonville was eliminated... if he had not accepted the transfer to Louisville, he would now be out of work, right in the middle of the most difficult (and costly) time of his life.

Where did that wisdom come from? How is it that a position in Louisville came open just as he needed to move? And can you imagine trying to be a father from three states away? Yet, he has been able to make it back to Jacksonville almost every weekend (which for him sort of comes in the middle of the week) to be a part of his children's lives and to share in the parenting responsibilities. It happened because God is good. Because God's hand is on his life. Because even though Dean is a self-professed, "doubter" (and we're working on that, by the way) God loves him, God loves his children. God cares what happens to them. God know that this time in their lives may be a time of suffering, a time of being in limbo, but it's also a time where they stop and look up out of desperation!

I have been praying over our families from the very beginning... I name each person and pray whatever God lays on my heart for them that day. For Dean I pray that he will have wisdom and patience and joy and peace and ... so many things. I know that God is working on him and changing him and preparing him for whatever lies ahead, whether it's being a full time single dad or spending the next 16 years of his life as a commuter father.

The thing is... we don't know suffering, Dean and I. Yes, we know disappointment. We know what it's like to feel deceived and discarded and hurt... but in the grand scheme of things, it could be so much worse. How many people are recovering from losing a child? Or instead of having a spouse leave due to divorce, how many people watch a beloved spouse face a debilitating or terminal illness? And in the grand scheme of things, we have been protected and provided for and blessed beyond measure. We're working on being able to count our blessings.

I'm grateful for a friend who reminds me every day how lucky I am to be where I am and to have the opportunity for happiness that I now have ahead of me. I remind him of the same.

Take some time and visit with Nancy Guthrie at her website... . Read her articles but also read her random thoughts. It's so encouraging!

I have to start getting ready for Sunday School. I am sure I'll come back later with more but I wanted to share some of the things I picked up while reading last night and this morning. Love and hugs, y'all!

“All the waters in all the oceans cannot sink a ship unless it gets inside. Nor can all the trouble in the world harm us unless it gets within us.”
Eugene Peterson - A Long Obedience In the Same Direction

“It’s easy to be a soldier in a parade,' he writes. 'The weapons aren’t loaded, there is no enemy to be found, and all your leader has to do is make sure you keep in step. But when you’re in a war, your weapons are always loaded, the enemy is in sight, and your commander is telling you what to do in order to stay alive and win the battle. Far too many believers in Jesus Christ think they are in a parade instead of a war.”
Tony Evans

'Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.' 1 Peter 5:6-10

'He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.' Psalm 22:8

Oh..... my joy comes from believing and not doubting. When I begin to doubt that God is in control of my circumstance and things are out of control I lose my joy. But, as I begin to trust the Lord again, my joy is made complete. But then, how do I get that extra joy? I have read recently from Charles Stanley that the extra dose comes from gratitude. Not only do I need to believe, I need to be grateful for what I have and what the Lord is doing in my life. That can be a tall order. You know the saying, 'You get what you pay for'? -carmen thompson

Know that the LORD is God.It is He who made us and we are his.We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;Give thanks to him and praise his name.For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;His faithfulness continues through all generations.Psalm 100: 3-5

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”2 Cor. 4:17-18

"Who you are thunders so loudly that I can't hear what you say. Emerson

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

James 4:7-10 (New International Version)
7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.


Peaceful Epiphany said...

This was a very beutiful entry and a great testimony to your friendip with Dean.

Have a beautiful Sunday!