How God Heals Us

I just thanked God. For all the “delivery systems” of His grace and love in my life… Even in the midst of the changes that scare me, and the doubts… As I watch the child who was the “baby” for 7 years seemingly come unanchored from all the certainty that made her the John in the parable of our relationship – the one who rested assured of the love of Jesus Christ for him… Loved ones who have observed us have asked aloud whether the former “baby” will become a “Lost Child.” Which is a nightmare, it should go without saying…

I have to listen, my heart breaking, to my children as they call out for me…before they remember that it’s Daddy whom they want now; because, he is the one who tends to their needs now. He’s the one who makes the lunches, as I recuperate from my Emergency C-section, hobbling around with my 3-5 month “pregnant,” deflating belly 2 weeks later. He waits outside with them for the bus and makes their meals and answers their incessant demands – the ones I miss now that they have been detoured away from me to my partner.

And my partner is tired of being primary caregiver to 4 children and a nagging, sickly wife. Even though I do blame him, in all honesty… Also, in all honesty, if it were the other way around after 2 weeks, I would go outside somewhere and leave my cell phone behind. Just so I could breathe and get a good whiff of freedom… I’d have to get away and pretend for a little while that things were normal, too.

Because we have not achieved that new normal yet. We’ve barely managed to keep our heads above water on this part of the water ride, y’all. But there is a glimpse of hope on the horizon that we follow doggedly, almost against our will. Christ in us must be pulling us toward that light the same way the new baby’s cries convince me to feed her again – through the pain.

And people bring us meals. They bring us gifts. They spend time with us and take the kids on fun missions that don’t focus on the new baby. They agree to take The Littles to activities that they otherwise would have missed. These acts of generosity and friendship and family represent the system by which God delivers His grace. His love… And they staple our transition wounds back together. They tape the openings closed where infection could otherwise seep in. These people that God has given to love and to care for us are one way that God heals us.

14For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come. 15Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Hebrews 13 (New American Standard Bible.) That’s what came to mind as I thought about how, even as I doubt and fear for the future, I thank God – sacrifice of praise. I always feel like the speaking of what I know about God – even when it doesn’t feel good – changes my reality. So, I praise. I worship. I pray.

All Else Fails, but Heaven Waits

“Usually” means different things for me today than it did a little over half a decade ago. Thank God, I’ve moved out of the Bad Old Days and into a new life. I have friends and self-esteem (security, instead of insecurity about my identity). I don’t have to win at all costs all of the time. And I don’t mind giving 100% on my end of a relationship. I’m not saying: I always do that. I’m not saying: I don’t ever get tired. But I’m usually good with giving. And when I’m not okay, I don’t do anything drastic; I just step back a little…and allow The Scales of Relationship to balance.

Sometimes you feel like royalty. Sometimes you feel like a dirty bin left on the side of the road. And all you’ve got to look forward to is the garbage man coming to take out the trash. Oh, but he doesn’t take you. You get left behind. What do you do then, but wait for someone to rinse you off and roll you back up the driveway? Either way, you’re at the mercy of a whim, waiting for someone to care. Thing is, you can stop caring, too… But then you’re just trying to fill up the empty with more empty. The real answer’s tough. You have to get mad. Then you have to tell the truth. Then…you have to start cutting things – ties. Investments. You have to be willing to be disappointed. Again.

As much as I experience it and try to learn about it, I do not understand the ebb and flow of relationships. Except… There’s something about most relationships (not blood connections, usually) that makes us treat them like library rentals. What you check out of the library can be returned. If it gets torn, we just scotch tape it. Often, even when they leave us torn, we hold on to blood connections. We never let them go. However, when most relationships disappoint us, we pack them back up like borrowed books and dump them in a drop box. We distance ourselves. We reevaluate. We hold grudges. We let people go.

That’s how it works.

I love people. I love facilitating relationships between other people. I value the connections of others as well as my own. But, for most of this part of life, I’ve been a loner. Thus and unfortunately, it’s too easy for me to let hope in people subside. 

That’s good and bad. Because, people aren’t like God; we’re seasonal. We’re roller coasters. We change. We grow – together…and apart. We disappoint.

So, ultimately, God is who we need. Faith in Jesus Christ. To rest in Him and the Love WHO IS…God.

This is something we need 🤓 Eternal Perspective Glasses to see 👓 When this part of life sinks, our existence in Christ can still float on the buoy of the hope we only have in Him.

Friends Fight

Have you ever had that feeling, Friend? When friends feel more like family, and family morphs – hopping onto the bandwagon with your foes? Does family every feel like the enemy you need to love as Jesus Christ loved you?

Maybe the issue is: Rose-colored glasses. It’d be better if they were rose-colored goggles, because goggles strap on and are harder for the storms of life to dislodge.

Once that rosy glow is off any relation – friend or family member – it’s never the same. After the glow of rose is gone, relationships can be either 1) one-dimensional and forgettable; or, 2) better. How?

Well, if the storms of life break the shell of a relationship, it’s like an egg: If you crack it right, you can make something beautiful out of it – separate the yolk from the white and make a lovely, fluffy whip for waffles or who knows..? You can keep the yolk and use it, too. My point is, You can make something better than the unfertilized egg it was. Or… The shell can break…along with the yolk… Maybe bits of shell get in there, too, and after you try to get the shards out, you realize it needs to go down the disposal.

I don’t know how good I am at analogies or how well you were following that one, but I’m talking about what happens when you hit those high hurdles in a relationship. I’m talking about what happens when you or your friend or family member doesn’t clear the hurdle, and things crash. I hold to advice I got when I was younger: If the relationship means anything to you, confront the issues head on. If not, let it go.

Let it go? It, if you’re wondering, could be the issue. It could mean that you let the relationship (as you knew it) go. 👈🏾 In my experience that happens most of the time. Because people don’t have the nerve to do the confrontation thing. Confrontation feels scary or mean or…confrontational. But don’t we usually address things that mean a lot to us? If we don’t feel well, don’t we talk to a doctor (or someone) about it? If our kids come home complaining about a bully, don’t we call or get a message to someone? Those instances are examples of confrontations. And they’re healthy responses to data that comes in, to circumstances of which we’re made aware.

Why don’t we talk about it when relationships go off the rails? Why do we think we can brush that stuff under the rug?

Real friendships can sustain blows…because those friends can handle the hard work of facing issues and challenges that come up with honesty and grace. As I said earlier, relationships can be better for having weathered the storm! On the other hand, friendships or family ties that sink when they hit the inevitable icebergs of life throw off your rose-colored glasses. And those connections either wither in the eyes of your heart, becoming 1) enemies; or 2) dutiful relationships that continue to move only because of the property called inertia. When inertia is the engine of a relationship, it just means: Whatever honest spark once brought life and set a growing connection into motion is no longer actively burning; the relationship is simply moving because it hasn’t hit enough emotional debris to stop its motion outright.

That’s sad.

Whether it’s family or friendship or your marriage partnership, you never want to be moving forward purely based upon inertia – like the words of satellite broadcasts that resound out in space today, but were spoken in the past by people that are long gone. Growth in relationships doesn’t come from the memory of love and respect and humor and thoughtfulness and investment that was once a burning flame. We need to be facing our realities, changing out minds about how to be in relationships, and realize that living from love is a million quadrillion times better than existing together because of duty.

Friendship means facing it. Together.

Mom Wants it Now, but God is Patient

What’s causing Mom anxiety this morning? Impatience. My desire for things to be instant. I texted a friend and want a response NOW. I ordered a bracelet and want a confirmation email and a direct message from the consultant. IMMEDIATELY…

Meanwhile, we’re trying to teach our children to hang on to the hope of the future. We’re counseling them that, Though they won’t see it for a long time, the future is worth it. Things will be better and easier. They will make sense. As a mom, I’m telling my kids, Hang on to your faith in me; I’ve been there and done that, I’m telling my kiddos. Hang on to your faith in God, who sees the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), who is faithful to complete what He’s begun in you, His unique child (Philippians 1:6; Psalm 139:14) And yet… I struggle to wait for a text.

God is patient (II Peter 3:8-9; I Corinthians 13:4,7.) Why do I say that? Because God…is…LOVE (I John 4:8,9, 16.)

It’s not to tear myself down that I share and point out this fault in my soul – impatience. But I have a relationship with myself, too. And as in any relationship, it’s good to tell the truth about what’s wrong. As Christians, we need to let GOD, not emotion lead that confrontation (II Corinthians 7:10.) It’s good to forgive ourselves as Christians for having to confront ourselves, as well as people we love… It’s also good to forgive ourselves, as well as people who’ve hurt us. The rebuke should happen, so things (and people) can change (II Corinthians 7:9-11.) The forgiveness should happen, so the love, which God commanded (John 13:34; John 15:12), won’t be impeded – in ourselves or, in the hearts of those in relationship with us.