Monday, August 6, 2012

God is Good: Full-of-Faith Musings During A Storm of Life

Me with one who lifts my spirits. Everyone should have a
friend like her! [...preferably in the same town as you! Haha!]

Hello reader,

I have been keeping up on my Bible reading, which I usually post about on Mondays. Other than always speeding, my mind has been processing a lot of things that are out of the ordinary for me. I am also watching over a sick kitty. The usual Monday post, while not very eloquent normally, would have been even more scattered I think.

Instead, here is a post that I prepared earlier last week. I think it is somewhat coherent.

I hope that you are well,
Jennifer

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[Sorry for any disorder in this post; I’m writing this more in a journal/ diary style entry]

I mentioned in a previous post that I have been reading Lisa Bevere’s “Be Angry but Don’t Blow It.” I’ve read all the chapters and have only the 21 day practice to go through. I was going to start it this past Monday [it’s set up to begin on a Monday] but I’m putting it aside for a little while as other things have taken precedence.

I’ve said that I’m not an angry person where people would suggest anger management for me. I suppose that I have been harboring anger in my heart though. Definitely I’ve been angry with myself on numerous occasions. Part of it is just expecting more out of myself and challenging myself, so when I disappoint myself, I get a little angry. Other parts of it are just… I can’t say here.

So, I had gotten Bevere’s book in order to help me process the pain and some anger of the past few years. Another book that has helped me process is Rebecca Alonzo’s “The Devil in Pew Number Seven,” as well as the Bible of course. I recommend all three books.

Back to Bevere and my pain, this was not a pain that I kept to myself; it would not have been possible for me to keep it to myself as I am in the habit of doing. It was a public thing that caused the pain. Others were aware that I was in pain, but I mostly bore it myself, and that has greatly prolonged the healing.

The book has helped me with anger that I didn’t even know… I mean, I don’t know exactly what I was angry about or why, an anger that I didn’t even know was there.

I think there are some, if not all, pains that one shouldn’t bear alone, or shouldn’t have to bear alone. Just to have a parent, a sibling, a friend, someone to say, “Go ahead, I’m here,” has the ability to do wonders for helping along someone in pain. I have gone a very long time without and I’m afraid it shows.

Where is there anyone whom has never felt pain?
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Something else happened with reading “Be Angry;” more healing than I imagined happened, or is happening, and I hope that this time I am right. I don’t always enjoy being “right” but I would like to be right this time.

I believe that God has and is always preparing me for more, and that is what he did in this time as well.

I could have added more anger to the list this past week. I still sense it, right beyond my reach and I’m okay with that at the moment. I don’t need to pick it up and wear it. I am giving it to God who is the only one who is able to bear it all.

I took a risk and asked for a small relief from someone I had never really relied on before for this kind of thing. I couldn’t go to my usual person for it, not this time. I just wanted some small relief so that I could pick myself up again and move on, that’s all I wanted. I just wanted to hear those words again: “It’s okay.”

It didn’t work out like that at all, and it is okay. I wanted to say more in reply, but I held my tongue. I don’t need to pick up the offense and I don’t need to add to it.

I had a moment of anger when I wanted to punch something, and I was able to take out some of the physical energy on some milk cartons and aluminum foil. But otherwise, I was able to control myself.

I had a moment when my nerves, and a roach, got the best of me, but only for a moment. I cried, closed my eyes for a bit, took a breath, and carried on.

I felt God say it, as he always does but I don’t always hear it: “It’s okay.”
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The preparation: 5 things, that I’m aware of- there may have been much more.

1- Recently, I have gotten back on track with my one-year Bible reading plan. I had gone about a year of not reading the Bible at all and something at the start of this year told me, “Enough!” Still, I stalled with reading around March, and then picked up again in June and got caught up in July. I have been consistent so far.

Along with not reading the Bible, I haven’t been doing much of anything else either. I haven’t been going to church, and I’m still working that out. I wasn’t praying much at all. Getting caught up with reading, I started to pray a little more.

And it’s difficult to say why I stopped or why I lagged in my reading, or why I’m picking things up again. For now, I’m going to say that God drew me close to him again and I am glad it happened before this past week happened, so that I was a little more prepared and so that it was expected that I would go to God with all of it.

2- Reading “Be Angry” before this past week happened has also been a good preparation. I was able, on several occasions, to see the offense, register it, work it out, and then let it go. I gave it to God.

Before this week, I had often wondered about what it meant when people would say, “Give it to God.” Now I understand it a little more.

3- I had gone to my friend’s Bible study a couple times. They are going through Beth Moore’s study on David. It is a fantastic study and Beth Moore, a wonderful teacher. Her spirit resonates with my spirit in a good way, and that’s how I know that it’s right.

Beth Moore’s teaching is the other part of understanding a little more of what it means to “Give it to God.” I have her voice in my head telling me that He is the only one who can bear it all. Not only that he can, but he wants to, which is amazing.

If I had that lesson before, or if I had missed Moore’s lesson this recent time, I don’t know but I wouldn’t have been as prepared as I was now.

4- On July 15th, this was my public post on Facebook:
“Does God answer prayers? He did today. It was such a simple thing but so very effective and for what I’ve been asking for a long time. I’m not there yet God, but I got your message.”

That Sunday, I received a call from someone from my former church. It was a few minutes. She called to say that she was thinking about me and wanted to know that I am missed. She asked me how I am doing. She said that no one told her to call me [apart from the Holy Spirit perhaps]; she’s not on any outreach committee who had me on a list or anything.

She didn’t ask if I’m going to another church. She didn’t say that this-or-that department at church could use some workers and would I be interested.

We just talked a little. She offered her friendship, that I could talk to her whenever I wanted, she’ll be there for me.

I teared up while talking with her. And… I’m familiar and friendly with her family, though not particularly “close” with them. So I was a bit surprised by the call.

To be fair, a few others have contacted me in the past, since I had left the church. Mostly, it has been off-putting though. The good ones: a hand-written note, from someone whom I’m ashamed that I’m not sure who they are, telling me that she was thinking of me and that I am missed, and also that God has a plan for me, and other encouragements; and a quick message from a young friend, so full of faith in me, or more so, full of faith in God to continue his work in me.

These things have brought me to good tears.

5- Back in June, I restarted, or started really for the first time on a journey of health. I am glad that I began it when I did and no later, or I could be in worse shape right now, mentally and physically. I have already written about some of this preparation here [Healthy Go: Sleep Okay? And Preparation].
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I’ve also gotten a glimpse into what Job meant when he said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
[Job 1: 21; NKJV]

It is echoed in the song “Praise You in This Storm” by Casting Crowns:
“As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
‘I’m with you’
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God
Who gives and takes away.”

It was what caused wonder in me as I watched a woman live it out. She continued to come to church even as she grieved her husband’s passing away. I had the chance to ask her about that and I get it now.
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 I am, perhaps, yet cautious about hoping [and moving towards] great, great, great things. This is different for me, as people have told me and I am now starting to accept, that I am ambitious. Not in a conquer-the-world-and-answer-to-no-one kind of way, like a Napoleon-type. I am not a dictator, as have been said of me.

I suppose I am just ambitious enough that in general, I keep moving, keep challenging myself, keep expecting that I ought to be better in the next moment than I am in this one.

I want things in life, and I’m willing to do the work.

Or, that’s how I used to be and I’m starting to find me again.

Is God good? He is so very good.

Mahalo for reading.

P.S. You are welcome to post a comment in the box below. Perhaps, share a praise or a prayer request below and I will certainly pray for you whichever it is.