Monday, November 12, 2012


I want to simplify my life.
I want to get rid of some of my crap and start from scratch. 
Maybe I'll reconsider what I want to be when I grow up. I've been joking about having a quarter life crisis but so far it seems like a remarkably accurate assessment of the current situation. 
I'm moving out of my apartment and in with a family from church. They're taking me in when I'm the least likely to contribute anything and the most likely to just mooch off of them (which ironically motivates me to help however I can--isn't that the effect grace should have on us?). But, the point is, I'm getting a chance to get rid of some of the stuff I've accumulated over the years and start over with the things I really need. I have a feeling it will be evident which things aren't necessary over the next few months, since I'm moving from a pretty large living space to a much smaller yet more cozy and comfortable space. There's something about having a whole family down the hall that creates a sense of security that just doesn't exist when you're living on your own. 
My life doesn't look like I thought it would. Has it ever? You'd think I'd get the picture after 26 years of thinking it will turn out a certain way, only to be surprised each time with God's plan being different (and better) than mine. After a while, logic says I should probably stop setting so many expectations for myself and just trust that God is using me in his kingdom the way that only he knows is best. 
I'm moving back in with family at the age of 26, I've spent all of my savings on doctor's appointments and medicine and food,  I've slept through a large portion of the past 3 months, I've taken lots of time off work, and I'm still confused. That feels like failure. The endless refrain that runs through my head says, "why can't you do life like everyone else? Everyone has a hard time, but they can keep going. Why can't you? You're basically worthless." It's sad that the voice spouting those lies is often louder than the whisper that says, "you are worth it. you are loved. you are precious in my sight and I have great plans for you." I'm glad the whisper, though quieter sometimes, is far more consistent and infinitely stronger than the lies.
God wants me to slow down. Simplify. He wants me to calm down and stop trying to figure everything out. Maybe it would be ok to just sit still every once in a while and stop thinking.
I was talking to a friend today, wondering if she had figured out the secret to life making sense. She said, "I think I've come to a place where I've realized that all the wisdom comes from the Lord and that it doesn't have to make sense to me." It doesn't have to make sense. What would it look like for me to be ok with life not making sense? 
Daniel 2:21-22
He changes times and seasons;
he sets up kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.

He's in charge of the seasons. Both the weather kind and the life kind. He knows what is in the darkness. He is light. I don't think it's a coincidence that to shed light on something often means to cause something to make sense. Right now, life feels hidden and dark. Answers seem to materialize one second and vaporize the next. But God is wisdom and in James, He promises to give us wisdom when we ask. The light I long for dwells with him.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

speak up

Tomorrow's Scripture at church is Philippians 3:12-4:1 and since I'm reading it in the service, I decided to read through it a few times tonight. God decided I needed to hear a few things, too. The other day, I asked him if he could speak up a little cause these days I don't hear so well and I feel like I've been having trouble hearing him. Well, I kinda wanted him to tell me what to do about work and what to do with all of my stuff and the secret key to unlock the mystery that is my health (or lack thereof). Or maybe he could tell me where my husband is or how long I'll have to wait or when Diabetes will fade into the background and not be such a big deal. But, as usual, his thoughts are so much higher than mine, so He said this instead:

Philippians 3:18-4:1
   For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!

I am so thankful that I don't live as an enemy of the cross of Christ. SO glad that I've been rescued. Yet, I still live like my God is my stomach and my glory is in my shame. My mind is stuck here in this fallen world, where nothing is new under the sun and we move from dust to dust, endlessly acquiring things that moth and rust will eventually destroy. I'm so discontent at times because I look around and my life is not what I thought it would be. There are so many things that I want that I don't have. A husband, kids, a job that I can do consistently without so much wrestling, a brain that works and produces serotonin, a benevolent donor, a pancreas that actually produces insulin, and on and on. The point is that my mind is so often wrapped up in trying to "figure out my life" that I forget that this isn't my home. Things are never going to be the way they should be on this side of eternity. We are in the between time, the "already but not yet." We are already saved from our sin and freed by the blood of Christ but we are not yet made whole, complete, and without sin the way we will be in the new heavens and the new earth. We live in the tension between knowing we've been made holy yet still struggling with sin. But one day, we will be glorified with Christ and our "lowly bodies" will be like his "glorious body!" 

So, no, I don't have everything I want right now but when I step back for a minute and take my mind off my circumstances, I realize that I have everything I need. My god is not my stomach and my glory is not in my shame. Jesus paid for those things. At the cross, he bought me freedom from my stomach and my shame, the two things that bind me most tightly. Paul says that we should stand firm in the Lord by eagerly awaiting a Savior from heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ. I want to be eager not anxious, hopeful not depressed, expectant not avoidant. I want to walk and rest in the truth that he has everything under control and he's in the business of rescue. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

soaking up God's grace

In 2.5 years, today is the first day that Anne has cancelled an appointment. We've missed weeks but it's always been planned in advance. That is a darn good track record. Add that to the list of 1,017 reasons why she's the best therapist in the entire world. She is so consistent. and her life is such a beautiful picture of integrity. She's congruent. She's brave. She lives what she says and she always keeps her promises. and I can always count on her to say plenty of things that are worth repeating. She is so patient with me and shows me such bountiful grace. So thankful she's mine.

Last week, in the midst of many tears and snot and puffy eyes, she made me look at her. She's never done that before. I mean, I don't know about you but looking someone in the eyes is not my first choice of things to do when I'm weeping and feeling like a total mess. But, I trust her, so I did. and I'm glad I did. I know I've said this before, but I'm reminded every week -- She has kind eyes and the ability to communicate deep concern and caring by just looking. And she said, "This is the cycle of shame starting. Do you hear yourself? Amy, it is OK that life is hard right now. It is normal that you're struggling. You've had a rough couple years. There's a lot of grieving to be done, still. and you are not alone in this." I'm sure she said a lot of other things but that's what I heard. I've been hearing that in my head all week, especially during the times when I feel like a failure at life because I can't work or when I have to lie down in the middle of the day because I'm tired or when I wonder how I'm going to make it through the next month financially.

God provided in a beautiful way today. I've said before that my CDE Susan reminds me a lot of Anne. I asked her once if she was a closet therapist. :) She's just a really great listener and she asks really great questions. She also can read me like a book. She can tell when there's too much information or when I just need to talk or when an hour isn't long enough. Well, I had an appointment with her today. What sweet provision. Susan brings out a part of my personality that most people don't see very often. She makes me witty. It's weird how different people bring out different parts of us. When I'm talking to her, I just feel understood and like it's ok to just be me. I had to tell her about the cake pop, reese's cups, skittles, 2 PBandJs, and distinct lack of vegetables I ate yesterday. I didn't even really notice, to be honest. I'm in survival mode. My new goal is to eat one vegetable a day. My over-achiever tendency would normally try to eat 5 vegetables a day but this time I really only have the energy to think about trying to eat one. Susan treated me to coffee after our appointment today and it was so fun to laugh with her and just get to know each other better. She's a keeper for sure.

I've been spending a lot of time at the church office this week. It's been so good for me. Even if I don't talk to Corey, there's just something about knowing that he's in the next room over that makes me feel safe. It's restful. and I think that's the point of my life right now. I'm trying to slow down and breathe and do things that I want to do. and not feel pressure or stress or expectations. Anxiety is near these days for some reason. Even in little situations, like taking longer at wal-mart than I planned. I'm trying to convince myself in those moments that it's ok to not meet my own expectations perfectly. I don't have anywhere else to be. it's ok.

Anne said something last week that I think is true. She said "I think maybe you're fighting too hard." I spend so much energy trying to get it right and fight to be joyful and happy and content that I end up being just the opposite. How do I just relax and soak up God's grace? How can I just rest in His goodness to me without feeling like I have to DO something?