Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chinks in my armor

It always starts with being tired. This is my weakness. I have fibromyalgia and when you take away all the complicated reasons they say you have this condition it brings you to sleep deprivation and the inability of your body to restore itself. This creates a vicious cycle of pain and then less sleep and then other things go wrong and your immune systen is compromised, and it spirals out of control. I have not been feeling well since my strep/scarlet fever diagnosis last week, and took a day off my antibiotic because it was making me so sick to my stomach. I guess in hindsight that wasn't a good idea. By Friday night I was wiped and my throat was sore again, and I was so tired and discouraged. Around 2 am Danica woke up screaming like she often does these nights because of her pain and after that sleep was a lost cause for me.

Saturday morning came. It was wet and cold, and I had to get up and ready to take Delaney to her horse back riding lesson. I was in the worst humor you can imagine. Every little thing Dan did upset me. I mean why in the world was he vacuuming and washing dishes when I needed him to be watching Danica so I could get ready? (I know most of you are thinking I'm crazy now because who would complain about their husband getting up early to clean house, right?) I called him to come in the living room so I could tell him something about Danica's schedule while we were gone. I didn't want to yell because my throat hurt so badly. He didn't want to come, and I got mad. I stomped in and gave him a piece of my mind. He gave me a piece of his. I told him I can't take it anymore. And then he said under his breath the word we said we would never say again. The "D" word. A word we came all too close to several years ago. There it was. An fiery arrow piercing through the chink in my armor. I started to bleed. Hot tears spilled over, and I left with Delaney.

As I drove the almost hour to the stable I began to pray. Something amazing happens to your stubborn and proud heart when you get before your Savior. I didn't begin praying about how sorry I was, but that's where I ended up. I have to die to self. I have to realize I don't deserve any of this. I don't deserve these beautiful girls I am so blessed to serve. I don't deserve a marriage to a man who forgives me again and again and cares for me and loves me when I am so unlovable. Even on my hardest days when I feel the worst I am bought with a price. He must increase. I must decrease. I don't need a spa day or more "me" time or even a retreat from this battle I am waging. I need fresh grace to heal these wounds and the shield of faith to protect me next time the fiery darts come flying.

I know the next few months will be hard. I am preparing for tough decisions about Danica's chiari--more financial stress, less sleep, more fear, and pain--all things that could break me mentally, emotionally, physically and especially spiritually. How am I going to head into this battle before me? How will I stand? He answers me:

"Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins gird about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:11-17

Thank you for Your promise I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Humble my heart. Protect my soul. Protect my family and my marriage. Help me stand.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The junk drawer

Friday night Dan tucked Delaney in and she started a conversation with him about a discussion between her classmates at the lunch table about "the middle finger". We have always encouraged her to come to us with anything that she sees or hears that she doesn't understand or makes her feel uncomfortable. She attends a Christian school so the second graders knew this was a bad gesture but didn't know what it meant really and someone had suggested there was a bad word that went along with it. Delaney wanted to know the word. Dan came in our room to ask me what I thought the best decision was and together we both decided that she should just know it was a very yucky word and a bad hand gesture and although someday she would probably hear the word we didn't want it in her head right now.

So yesterday Delaney spent the day at my parents house because her cousin Avery was visiting, and I guess this was still weighing on her heart so she brought it up to my mom. My mom decided to tell her the word--the "F" word. Without getting into her reasoning, etc. let me just tell you I was livid. I wasn't just a little mad but the kind of mad where you think you are going to explode. After I had it out with her about why this wasn't her choice to make and what in the world was she thinking, I began to stew inside. When I got home I had to tell Dan and this got me all riled up again. As I tried to fall asleep it kept coming back to my mind.

This morning I felt pretty far from God and was home from church with strep throat. My heart was just stewing in this lack of forgiveness. I sat down in a puddle of God's sunshine and a moment of household peace and read a devotional from "The Sacred Ordinary" by Leigh McLeroy titled "Inside the Junk Drawer." She begins the devotional by describing the junk drawer in her kitchen (which sounds a lot like mine) and how it finally was so crammed with stuff it got stuck. She then goes on to write:

My heart has a junk drawer too. And I wish it would get stuck more often. I visit it when I’m searching for reasons why God shouldn’t love me. When I’m feeling lonely or useless or discouraged. And in it I find odd pieces of my own history that shouldn’t matter anymore but still do—some far older than a few candy pieces gone bad. This heart-drawer holds secret sins, confessed—forgiven!—but not yet removed from my memory’s outtake reel. Words I wish I’d never spoken. Words I wish I had. Failures. Lapses in ordinary kindness. Moments of misplaced shame. Old hurts I still pick the scabs from. Scars I like too much. This junk has been forgiven, or redeemed, or transformed—but still I hold on. It’s trash. All of it. So the next time this drawer hesitates to open, I mean to let it stay shut. If God has
forgotten its contents, then by his mercy I can too.

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those
who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or
rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back
to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be
enslaved by them all over again?
Galatians 4:8–9 NIV

If your heart’s junk drawer is crammed full too, wouldn’t this be
a fine day to begin to empty it out completely? Where would you
choose to start?

Today I am starting with a piece of junk I threw in there just yesterday. Real love--God's love--does not harbor any wrongdoing. It is forgiving. Can I sit at the foot of the cross where every one of my sins is forgiven and hold this little hurt in my heart? I'm taking inventory of the rest of my stuff too. Making a list and really cleaning this junk drawer.

Thank you God that I do not have to be enslaved by bitterness and hurt when I feel I have been wronged. Teach me more about Your amazing sacrifice of forgiveness and grace so I can live free to love like You do.