Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I haven't taken time to blog since we moved to Oklahoma - not because I didn't have anything to add to the internet gobbledegook but more because I haven't found the inspiration to be anything other than a Debbie Downer.  We left Ohio in a flurry at the beginning of August and until now, in the peace and solitude of unemployment and childlessness (they are both in school), things have been dizzingly surreal, disturbingly dysfunctional and, well...just plain hard. 

I prayed for this --- I keep having to remind myself of that fact.  I fervently, with all my heart, put my husband before the Lord and asked him to MOVE in such a way that Chris could NOT deny that the Savior of the universe had good, defined and perfect plans for him.  I had peace with my prayers for him and I knew that God would act in the best interest of my husband.  The desires of my heart were for Chris to KNOW in his heart that God had a perfect plan for his life and without boring you all with the tedious details, it is obvious that God did move, in mighty ways, he moved. 

God moved - so did we.  900 miles away.  Back to a place we left behind in, didn't look back.  So, here to meet us was the realities we left here when we turned our tails and got the heck out of dodge.  Some of those realities were pleasant.  Most of them were not.  Facing the facts that we were not the people that left McAlester - and yet, here we were again, being confronted with the reflections of who we were when we moved here the first time.  Personally, I was a homesick, lonely and scared outsider - I can look back at that time and remember very clearly that my sole intention of this "trip" to OK was to get my husband promoted and so, while I was here I was to ASSIMILATE and SURVIVE.  So, I did.  I joined a church, got involved with the PTSO at the school, volunteered at Hospice, worked with CASA, hosted dinners at our house, brought covered dish dinners to families in need, taught Sunday school and generally just tried to BLEND.  And, for all intensive purposes, it worked.  I survived.  Then we moved away and were taken to a place that was new and I was so very tempted to do the very same thing - but something stopped me.  Something changed.  Something life-altering happened.  My Dad died.

In a gray, heavy and sometimes blinding fog - I left this place and started over somewhere else.  The details of some of those moments that followed his passing and our moving and the rest are still hazy - it was like I was walking around with a blindfold on - in part because I didn't want to see life for what it was without my Dad, the other part was that I just couldn't see beyond the grief.  It cloaked me in darkness and only when the fog finally lifted I was reckoning with so much more than I ever could have imagined.  Reckoning with grief is one thing - reckoning with yourself is another.  There I was, looking in the mirror, hardly recognizing who I had become or even who I was to begin with. 

God uses all things to bring glory to Him.  That person looking back at me was unrecognizable because I had allowed myself to assimilate and survive to such an extent that I couldn't identify that I was His.  I could talk a good game, but at the end of the day, I was so very lost.  God uses all things to bring glory to Him.  Me being lost, so very lost, was the turning point in my life. I had relied solely on myself for so much and when I was in need, I turned to my Dad - never really surrendering all to my God.  I had a support in my Dad that transcended almost all of my other relationships - he was ALWAYS there for me.  In the wake of this death I had to reckon with the truth that I had depended upon my earthly father more than my Heavenly Father and now, there I was, feeling much like an orphan abandoned on the side of the road....and there I found my Savior.  It was coming to Him as a broken, surrendered and helpless child that I found my Father.  It was there I found restoration, healing and forgiveness.

I was so very at peace with our life - I felt like I was home and the benefit of being led and fed by gracious and loving hands was such an irreplaceable gift.  God moved because I begged him to do so, I just have to keep reminding myself of that fact.  So, here we are.  Three months in and this is still as hard as ever. 

When I take my concerns to put them before the Lord, the spirit whispers that I am to ENDURE.  That word keeps being brought to my attention - whether it be in Bible study or devotion or prayer time...ENDURE.  I find myself at odds with that call - times when I rally and feel like I endured well that day; other days when I fall on my face, cry out for respite and beg to released from the call to endure.  It isn't torture, it isn't watching my child fight against a terminal illness, it isn't working three jobs to feed our family...but somedays I get so tired of rationalizing things by saying "it could be worse."  Yes, it could be.  I could be persecuted and in jail for my faith, I could be watching my child fight for his life, I could be scrubbling toilets at McDonald's during the grave yard shift to put ramen noodles on the table - and the fact that none of those things apply to me makes me eternally grateful for the many blessings that I enjoy.  I cannot stop asking, however, what could be worse than feeling so very distant from God?  I take great peace in knowing HE is there - but I don't FEEL it and that makes my soul cry out for more.  It grieves my soul to have felt such presence and then to feel like it slipped away.  I blame myself for feeling distant - He never left me - so that means it is I who has strayed.  How did I let that happen?  To have loved and lost is far greater a travesty, right?  Then...smack, it hits me again...ENDURE.

So, what does endurance look like for you?  I have a friend who is married to a great man that has been battling cancer like a warrior for years and she is a rockstar and a hero because she has ENDURED three lifetimes worth of pain, struggle, fear...and she is still standing.  She inspires me.  There's a little girl that I know here that has spent 4 of the last 8 years of her young life wondering what it would be like to have her Dad in her life - he was released from his 4 year sentence about a month ago and now what she endured has been rewarded with arms that hug her tight and promises he will be there from now on.  I have a close friend that was deployed to Iraq only to come home at the end of her tour to her stepmother with stage III breast cancer - not a hero's welcome, not an adjusting to life back in the states...a get home NOW and forget what has happened because this is happening NOW.  She endured.  So, I am surrounded by people that have endured so heroically, so courageously, so inspiringly - I can't help but be shamed by my inability to endure.

Of course, I know logically, this is because I have let myself stray away from the foot of the cross.  I have let bitterness, anger, frustration and stubborness cloud my ability to see God for who He is, to seek His face and all His glory.  I am a humbled, so humbled - still very lost, but humbled as I crawl back to the foot of the cross.  The healing I receieved through such grace has not left me and it would seem my resolve has been rediscovered as I re-focus my eyes on where they should have been all along. While I still feel called to endure - the choice is mine how I will endure.  I pray for the ability to endure with grace, kindness, generosity and joy.