Hi, It’s been awhile. Sorry about that. I didn’t mean to, but life just got remarkably normal. I wake every morning to my husband’s alarm. (By wake, I mean I hear it, try to ignore it and shove myself deeper into the blankets for a few more minutes of drifting in and out of consciousness before my kids force me out of bed, them or the sheer panic that I’ve just over slept by 30 minutes.) I throw clothes up into D’s bed for him to get dressed for school, pack lunches, do my hair and makeup (if I have to work outside of my home office that day), make tea, get dressed, and head out the door for school delivery. You know, normal… and normal does not include time to ponder or write a blog:-(
It’s hard to believe that a year ago I was doing weekly chemo treatments and daily proton therapy treatments. It’s beautiful to be able to look back at the pictures and notes on Facebook of that time. There are some great things about normal, like not puking several times a day. Hanging with my kids. I had the energy to snow ski last week!! There are some not so great things about normal as well, like grocery shopping, and refereeing my kids, and the immense pressure I put on myself to do it all.
I thought I had learned to have grace with myself, and I have. I don’t allow my brain to beat me up about not being a good chef, or having it together enough to remember what chores I have assigned my kids, or not having enough energy at the end of the work day to clean off the freaking table 100,000,000 times before bed. I have learned to allow myself to be human. Granted, my kids are also old enough to clean on their own occasionally (props to Emma for being the kids who does this most), so that makes it easier to ignore the fact that their bathroom gets trashed sometimes. But then there are weeks like this week, when the normalcy of life and my brain kick my spirit to the ground. Since Christmas, someone in my house has had the stomach virus. Then, everyone went to school for 2 days… normalcy… then it snowed… A LOT. Add PMS hormones, cabin fever, and enough conviction over my Toy Store game obsession to delete the mind numbing game that consumed HOURS a day of my life since mid December, and you have the recipe to fall back in to old habits of beating myself up emotionally. This time it was different stuff, but it also may have been real stuff, that needs to be felt.
I don’t have a concise way of telling this story because I haven’t come to the end of it yet. (I’m sure my friends would tell you I never have a concise way of telling a story because I usually forget the point halfway through what I’m saying, if I ever knew the point at all.) So, I will work through things on paper… well actually the computer screen…
I met with a leadership group at my church earlier in the month. One of the ladies in the group lead a Bible Study I participated in as a teenager. I realized that she is probably the person who encouraged/taught me to start reading my Bible every day. She said, “I didn’t have much to give back then.” And from where she is now in Christ, looking back, she didn’t, but what she gave, set a course for my life. Nearly every night of high school and into college, I would read scripture and journal, sometimes I would write my prayers, or my response to what I read. If it didn’t make sense, I might try to rewrite in words that made sense to my 1990’s adolescent vocabulary (“Like, you know, God is rad man.” Maybe that’s the 80’s…).
I got married at 20, and that meant I had to share my bedroom. My roommate didn’t like when I kept the light on at night reading, so my routine had to change, and 20 years later, I still struggle with that. I like doing my study before bed and meditating on scripture as I drift off to sleep. I never really found a better routine that I could be consistent with. (For the record, he doesn’t complain about the light anymore, and I have found a great Bible Reading App put out by Francis Chan’s new home movement that takes me through the scriptures in an organized fashion in the last few weeks. I’m really enjoying it!)
I am WAY off track here. What does this have to do with normalcy and self judgement? So, I’ve let myself off the hook when it comes to being a domestic diva. But apparently, I have not let myself off the hook about being a super christian. I know I’ve written blogs about giving up the religious pressure that amounts to nothing except super christian awards in your head, but real life spiritual disciplines are necessary. Like, reading scripture for yourself, and sitting quietly before the Lord so Holy Spirit can teach you, like journaling, and acts of justice. There are just things we need to be doing as Christians to grow closer to Christ, not to check off a list, not to compete with our fellow disciples, but for relationship. If I didn’t spend time alone with Cary, if we didn’t text our ideas and thoughts throughout the day, if we didn’t date regularly, we wouldn’t be very close. After 20 years of sharing a room with him, my thoughts, my fears, my vulnerabilities, we’re pretty tight. In fact, I’ve become more like him.
So that being said, I’ve told you that I came in to last year pretty dry and feeling distant from God. I’ve also told you that he was with me every moment of my illness and recovery. He is so precious and kind. But, I still realize that I have lost my wonder. I have lost my child like excitement over him. I still have deep moments with him, he is teaching me more in scripture than ever before, but the part of my heart that would be in awe, that would quickly fall on my face with I felt the Spirit lead, whether at home or church or somewhere else, has kind of hardened, and I DON’T LIKE IT… nor do I know what to do about it. And that is what I am beating myself up about. I have seen him heal people physically and emotionally in front of me. I have words of knowledge about people/situations often. I have dreams and visions at times, but my awe has been diluted with normalcy. I don’t pray with people like I used to. I don’t pray for people like I used to.
Today, my friend Ann sent the trauma prayer to me. It’s been several years since I have listened to it, but I vividly remember a vision I had during the first time I heard it. I saw myself splattered in droplets of blood, repeatedly. I looked to see where the blood was coming from, and I saw Jesus with hyssop in his hand. This is the same thing the priest did to purify moldy houses in the Old Testament. He was splattering his blood on me, cleaning my of my unrighteousness, not because of anything I could do to be clean, but because of what he has done to cleanse me. And I’m reminded that I can’t bring back my wonder and excitement, but I can ask the One who can. I can surround myself with people like my friend Emily, who is always in wonder over the goodness of Christ. I can revel in the new things he is teaching me in the scriptures I have read several times before. I can look back at the healing he has done in my life and in the lives of those around me, and I can celebrate his goodness until my heart is leaping with joy and anticipation again.
So tonight, I think I will listen to that prayer again, and rest in his presence and see where he takes me in his goodness and what he delivers me from this time.
To God be the Glory!