Thursday, September 30, 2010

Yelling and alone

I found myself yelling at God this morning.

Ok, well, I still am yelling, I think, but it's not as out loud as it was in the car.

"I don't want to be alone anymore!"

It seems that as things have gotten harder this year, as things have come up that I need to deal with, as deeper hurts are exposed, things have been changing. 

Humans, as a rule, usually don't like change, aren't a fan of it.  I am no exception to that.  The changes have been from our small group disbanding, to my kids both being in school, to my working through the summer.  Each involve a gain in some way or another, but all involve loss too - and the grieving of it.

I have had God show me some things in my life, using the mirror of His Word and Truth that needed to be gotten rid of.  He has shown me other things about myself that need deeper healing than I have had before in these same areas. 

And I hurt.
And I have been crying.
And shutting down some too.

I don't like this.  I hate this.  In the midst of it all, in the midst of the changes, I find myself without the people around me that I would readily turn to for help, support, wisdom.  Not that we aren't still friends and family, but that our lives are full to the brim, and things seem to keep on getting in the way.

I tried to talk to 2 friends today, but they were distracted with other things and couldn't talk.  I tried to get together with another but she had a schedule conflict that came up, so we had to reschedule for tomorrow.  Two other friends had other things that were going on and had to leave before I could get a hug.

It's all little "piddly" stuff, but at the same time, at the painful place I am in at the moment, it was really hard to deal with.  So I yelled at God.  It didn't make me feel any better though.

Everything - absolutely everything - seems to be getting pulled away from me.  Everyone.

I did get the chance to connect with one friend, but only briefly as she had other things that she had to get to, but she was able to give me 10 minutes on the phone.  It was good.  It was better than nothing.  My conversation with her, of which I can remember very little at the moment, helped me.  Oh, and made me cry all the harder.

We got off the phone and I headed home, where in about a half hour I will have to pick up my daughter from school and then my son.  But I have some peace and quiet here, which is good.  But I am alone.  Sometimes I long for times like this.  I ache to have no demands on me for a period of time.

But today, all I want is a hug.  I know that God is with me.  But right now, I want a hug from someone "real."  I guess I want that physical contact and a shoulder to cry on.

My counselor asked me yesterday, after I shared some things with her, "So, what do you want to do with this?  What do you want to do now?"

I said, "Tricia, I don't even know."

It was quiet for a few moments.  Then she asked me what I was thinking.  By that point, all I could feel was this weight settling in to stay for a while, and I couldn't find the words to tell her even that.  I felt afraid, and didn't know how to tell her that either. 

I did tell her that I would probably be able to answer her question once I got in the car and started driving home.  It wasn't quite accurate.  It took sitting down here at the computer to get it out.

Again, I know God is in all this, but I feel dreadfully exposed and vulnerable.  I gave God permission to do heart surgery, and laid myself out, submitting fully to Him.  He has wasted no time, using things I never expected to pull at me and tear at my heart so I can see where there is more junk to be taken out and cleaned up.

In the process, I feel isolated and alone.  I feel like there is no one to turn to and no help in sight.  I know that this is a faith walk, not a "sight" walk.  But the knowledge in my head isn't helping this raw, aching heart.

I know that God wants me to cling ever harder to Him.  I know He is using this Breaking Free bible study mightily in my life, if not everyone else's.  He's orchestrated this all to coincide in my life for a reason.

But again....

I don't want to be alone!

Maybe I will finally sense His presence here, and continue to submit, rather than curl up around my hurts and try to fix them myself.  In reality, there is no fixing them.  Only God can heal them.  If I will let Him close enough to touch them.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

tender hearted

My heart hurts and is very tender this day.

I spent some good time yesterday with God, and then was able to relax with the kids at the farm for a while.  This morning, as I was getting ready for church, God spoke and reminded me of some verses I had read yesterday about repentance.  I just heard the word "repent" in my heart and connected it to the verses I had read the day before.

And, God connected both of those thing with some areas in my life He has pointed out that I need to work on.  Some things that make my flesh squirm in shame and pain.

As I drove to church, I was praying, asking God to help me focus on Him today, and to be able to worship and really hear what He had to say to me through the sermon.  As I did, I heard again the word "repent" in my heart. I caught myself telling Him "later" and stopped.  Why in the world would I do something later that I heard Him ask me to do when I know He's asking it, and that when I haven't responded right away, putting Him off, I feel more distant from Him?

So right there in the car, on the way to church, I did.  I turned it all over to Him and sought forgiveness.  Oh that opened the floodgates of the tears!

I made it safely to church (I was crying while driving) and got in there.  Almost as soon as I walked in, I saw our former pastor and his family here.  I gave him a big hug and greeted his family.  After a moment or two, as others came to greet his wife and daughters, he asked how I was doing.  I said OK, but saw that familiar look in his eyes.... and amended it, saying instead I was making it, but been struggling quite a bit recently again.  He reminded me to hang in there.

Well, little did I know that he was going to be getting up with an announcement at the beginning of the service.  He gave a report on how their fund-raising was going to plant their church, and how the sale of their house was going.  When he was done with that, he shared how during this process of the last month being away from our church, it had been extremely dark and hard and heavy.

Then he said, "I don't know where you are today, or what is going on.  Some of you may be walking in some darkness.  Feeling lost and heavy and having a hard time hanging on.  I just want you to know that God has not dropped you off along the way...."

The words aren't exact to what he said, but the meaning is the same.  I don't really have the rest written down, because I could hardly see Pastor Brad for the tears streaming down my face, and the sobs threatening to overtake me.

I pretty much cried on and off through the rest of the service.

The sermon was good, I was able to connect to God through the worship, and afterward ran into Peter and Donna, my small group leaders.  Peter pulled me aside and we had a conversation, one that I had been expecting, but still hard nonetheless.  I gave him a hug, and started to cry (again).  He reminded me we are still family, and I explained that this, though expected has come on top of some other tough things God is working in and working through and working out, but they are hard.... and it was just one more hard thing today to have confirmed for me.

This pulling apart in my life is really getting old, and it hurts and it has left my heart very raw and vulnerable.

I know God is working on getting me to rely on Him 100% and not leaning on other people first.  Depending on others, and having accountability, and living in community and unity is wonderful.  However if that starts taking the place of going to God first, then He is going to do something about that.

He's been working on my heart for so long now.  Only now am I learning that when I feel His prompting I need to act on it immediately, no matter how inconvenient it might be at the time.  Slowly I am learning to set aside things in my life that are or have been idols.  Slowly I am allowing Him to open up my heart to see the things I still need to work on.  Slowly I am learning to submit myself to Him.... and its a daily thing many times....  submitting myself and submitting my "stuff."

Folks, my heart hurts.  All I want to do is cry.  This growing and stretching thing is really painful.  I know that the Holy Spirit is working.

I. Can't. Do. This.
It's. Too. Hard.

But I have to remember that God is in control.  He has not dropped me off along the way.  He is carrying me, even when I don't feel Him there.  If I draw near to Him, He will draw near to me.

Every little thought of what has happened, just today, pricks my tender heart.  Too much to process, too much to think about, but I don't want to shut down again, so that means I need to live with this tender heart.

God, hold me tenderly this week.  Hold my vulnerable heart in Your Hands and keep it protected and safe.  Guard my mind and heart and soul this week, and continue Your healing in my life.  Somewhere I read this week that to be broken is to be healed.  Well Lord, I feel broken.  So I am choosing to trust that Your healing is following.  I am truly "on the road" with You..... You have shown me that I have a tendency to hang onto You, so I know that I will hang in there with You, but please keep feeding me strength and hope for this process that seems never-ending.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

so very precious...

I see something so very precious in front of me, slipping away so fast.

I try to grab it, to hold it together, but it shifts and changes and, what I once knew it as, is gone.

We've been so close, spent so much time together... birthdays, parties, weekly gatherings.

Homes were opened to each other.
Meals were shared.

Hearts were opened to each other.
Tears and laughter were shared.

Now it's a new stage, a new place.
One unfamiliar.

The shape has changed and morphed over the years as it's needed to, slowly growing or shrinking to accommodate its members. Now it's changing again, but suddenly, at least more than ever before.

Still family.
But different.
Hurts and tears still there.
Hugs and comfort still there too.

But its all changed and changing.
What it was, what we were, is slipping away
lost in the past,
but what we are is yet unknown, other than

we are family.

God's changing us and breaking us out of the mold we have been in. We are all tired and need to stretch and straighten and work out the kinks come from being in one place for too long. But we still need each other, just differently.

It comes as a shock, seeing what I feared becoming reality.

But somehow, I know God is in it. He is doing something for all of us, and in all of us.

So something very dear and precious to me is slipping away.

But I know that God replaces good with better, and better with best. Always improving it. Always moving us upward and inward to His "best" He has for us.

So do we hang onto what we know, to what is familiar, or do we let go of this thing that has become so precious to us, and instead, grab onto God and make HIM the most precious thing to us?

Submitting to Him. Surrendering my plans. Letting go of what I love.

Then I can love Him more.
Then I can find Him to be my very all in all.

Then He becomes so very precious
- that when I grab on -
He doesn't ever slip away and disappear.

Submit, resist, come near...

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you." James 4:7-8a

These verses jumped out at me today, and though I have tried to put them away, they seem to fit in with a theme I have been noticing lately.

I have talked about it here.

Letting go.

No matter what I do, God keeps telling me to surrender to Him. I keep asking, "What? What is it you want me to surrender." He just keeps saying "Surrender."

You think by now I would have gotten it. I have been flailing around trying to figure out what I haven't surrendered to him. What in the world have I left out? How could I still be holding back from God? What would I possibly still be holding back from God, and why? Because I know all the incredible things he has done to heal me. There is no reason to hold back.

Then this verse popped up several times today.

"Submit yourselves, then, to God."

I didn't get it really, still don't totally. Now that I have looked back at former verses and gotten the context, it has helped.

The previous verses talked about friendship with the world. Friendship with the world is hatred toward God. God has asked me to give up some things that aren't inherently "bad" but they have caused me to love the world more, idolize some things, and therefore, that makes me an enemy of God. Can that be possible? But the verses refer to how God is a jealous God - the Spirit He placed in us envies intensely.

Because of our (my) tendency to love the world and the things in it, then I must submit myself to God. It's a surrender..... but when I think of a surrender, I think of Him asking me to surrender something specific.

Submitting myself to God is different. It means that I am opening up myself to Him. Submitting. Trusting. Purposely placing myself under His Hand. Allowing Him to work, even when I know its probably going to hurt.

When I am finally ready to do that - you know what happens?

I'm sure you do.

Think about it. You're ready to submit to God's will. You're ready to let go..... and along comes the enemy, with every good and reasonable sounding excuse to wait. To hold on. To take the time to "figure it out" before you actually do what God is telling you to do.

What does the next sentence say?

"Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

Resist him - even when you are tired. That is the hardest for me. I just told God this morning that I was tired. So many times I have cried out to God that I am too tired to fight anymore. That's it. That's all I've got, God.

But if I resist. If I allow God to strengthen me in resisting (which He will, especially when I am submitted to Him) the devil will flee from me. FLEE!!!

And when I am feeling so dry and alone and worn, I "come near to God and He will come near to [me]." What a blessing that when I have nothing, if I come near to Him, He doesn't pull away.... He draws closer.

I think of when I am with my kids on the couch. When they push away and won't come closer when I ask, it makes me further from them, and they feel further from me too. But when they submit to my arm around them, when they draw close and snuggle in, it is so natural for me to rub their back, comfort them, love on them.

Isn't that what God does for us too? When I come closer to Him, intentionally positioning myself in His presence, focusing on Him, I feel Him there with me. I can feel Him loving on me and wrapping His arms around me.

Then I am sitting in His lap. I am safe in my Daddy's arms.

Ok, God - here I am. I want it and yet I fight it at the same time, though I know You are trustworthy and true. I am placing myself under Your hands. Under those healing hands of Yours that have done nothing but love, heal and help me. I see my past. I see how You have been so faithful to showing me Your love in spite of it all. I see how You have been so loving and gentle with this fragile heart of mine. I see how You have tenderly taken me and showed me a bit at a time the truth of Your Word. You have shown me the lies and slowly rebuilt my mind to recognize and lean towards the truth, rather than the old worn tapes full of lies from the past.

God, my Daddy, I choose to trust You because I know, even when it is hard for me to believe, that You have my best at heart. Oh come close to me, as I come close to you, because this little girl inside needs some cuddle time in her Daddy's lap!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Time to Break Free...

Tomorrow is the day.

We are starting the "Breaking Free" bible study by Beth Moore at our church. In the end we are going to have a total of 9 ladies (counting myself) once one comes back from a vacation.

This year, I am leading the Thursday morning women's study. Last year another gal was, but she and her family have moved further north of here, and while they are still coming down to our church for Sundays, she has had to back out of other things to be close to home for her kids who are just starting school.

So, I realized that most of the summer was gone and no one else was stepping forward to lead.

I could have let it slide.
I could have let it go.

But all the gals who had done it last year really loved getting together.

I prayed about it some, and reasoned that I would be going to it if someone else led it, and because we'd probably do a Beth Moore study, and the teaching is all done by her, by video, that I could at least facilitate.

And as I thought about it, there were many that were running through my head.... I kept thinking of all the studies she has put out. I kept coming back to one. I couldn't get it out of my head.

I am pretty sure this is the one God hand picked for those of us going through the study. "Breaking Free: Making freedom in Christ a reality in life."

I don't know each of their stories, or where they are on their path with God. But for this moment in time, for this semester, God has caused all our paths to converge, to come together for this study.

I know where I am. I know the struggles I have had. I know the fears I have. The depression I have been battling.

I have been back in counseling. I have been going again, trying to get a handle on what is going on in my life, and in my emotions. I know that I have been walking in freedom, but now something is holding me back. There is something re-surfacing, that I need to work through for further healing.

I think this study is coming at a really good time for me, and for maybe all the others who will be involved.

I also know it will be a great challenge to lead, because of how the enemy attacks when we step into leadership. The old lies and insecurities resurface and the little voice inside starts whispering,

"Who do you think you are? You can't do this! You're nothing. There's no way you can even begin to pray for these people, much less anything else. You are nothing, you have nothing, and if they knew about your past...."

Will you please pray for me?

Will you please pray with me?
Will you pray that everyone who starts will complete the study to the end?
Will you pray for God's truth to penetrate hearts and minds, and that we would be willing to act on what He tells us?

Will you pray for me as I lead, and facilitate and pray for these precious women, these precious sisters in Christ.

Please pray too, that if there is anyone else who is meant to be in the study, they'd just show up. We have a couple of extra books that someone could take.

Pray that God's mighty Spirit would blow through us and change us, and through us, inspire and encourage others to change as well.

I am going to spend the rest of my night tucking in my kids, snuggling into bed and praying/journaling for the study tomorrow, and for my time with Tricia in my counseling session tomorrow afternoon.

May God bless you all!

Friday, September 10, 2010

it's all I've got - no energy to pretend

I don't have the energy to act like things are good, when they aren't.

Not today.

I was able to enjoy time with my kids, and with their grandmother.

Then I left the farm, and headed on some errands. On the way, I checked my home answering machine remotely. There was a message there from Cindy D. As soon as I got to a parking lot where I had good cell reception, I parked and called her.

She is such an encouragement to me, though she doesn't realize it. She is going through so much herself, yet at the same time is so willing to listen to me talk, ask tough questions and share what she is learning as she heals and grows to help me.

We talked for quite a while. By the time I got off the phone, I at least felt like I could drive again, with some sort of attention to the road.

Essentially I was "running away from home" for a while tonight. I wanted to get away from my normal, so that I wouldn't go back to my "normal" mode of behaviors.

By the time I got to the grocery store (keep in mind, after talking with Cindy D. I only went to one other store - briefly) I was exhausted.

One of my friends works there, the wife of our small group leader. She happened to not have any customers, so I was able to talk with her just for a few minutes. When asked how I was doing, I couldn't just say "good." I couldn't. I told her I was ok, that I was really tired and that I missed her and her husband. I was able to tell her that I was struggling, but that was about it as she got a customer at that point.

I got home and ate, and am now writing this.

I am doing better than I was. I felt like I had a small victory tonight and was able to get through. I spent a small amount of time with God - mostly praying as I was walking around the house doing things. Talking to Him more than listening, I think, but it was all I had in me.

I am still fighting the depression, but hope that some sort of semblance of sleep tonight will help me feel better in the morning than I did this morning.

Still a couple of lines from Psalm 143 stick with me.... tonight before I fall asleep.

I may not have them quoted perfectly, but here it goes...

I spread out my hands before you, my soul/heart thirsts for you like a parched land.


Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love....

Friends, I am praying tonight that this coming morning will bring me word of His unfailing love. I need the reminder tomorrow morning especially if it is anything like this morning - I need the reminder tonight.

The only thing I left out of the end of that last verse is ...for I have put my trust in you.

I have put my trust in him.... but have I trusted Him with everything in my heart? There is still some holding back there, though I know the right answer. Though I know that eventually I will let Him into "that" place too. Maybe the pain isn't great enough for me to finally give in.

Why does it always end up being that way? The pain needing to be great enough for me to finally cave in and allow Him to heal?

That's a whole other post, and not one this tired soul can go into tonight.
Maybe more on that tomorrow, if I have my thoughts gathered at all.
I don't have the energy tonight.
Not to act like things are good - and not to write well - and not to gather thoughts completely.

this is all I've got, and it's not much... but I guess I'll post it anyway.... it's just where I'm at.

a challenge and Psalm 143

God is still faithful.
God is still good.

I am writing these words as much for myself as a reminder, as for you who are reading.

Last night I went to bed late, worrying and praying for a friend who is really struggling and hurting.

This morning I woke up just before my alarm. As I went to bed so late, I was planning on hitting the snooze until it was time to get my son up for school. But, I was awake. So I dragged this weary body out of bed and curled up under some blankets on the couch. I didn't even have the energy to make coffee. I took my bible with me, but was so tired, and so low in my spirit, I didn't even think I could open it, much less read it.

But I did open it.
I did read.

I opened to the Psalms because those always bring comfort when I feel like this.

Yesterday morning I wrote how I could feel the depression sneaking back in, and this morning, it was there. Not full force, but with my extreme tiredness, it felt worse than yesterday.

My bible opened to Psalm 143.
The whole psalm is wonderful. It spoke directly to where I am at right now. I couldn't have found better words than those already written in this psalm.

You see, yesterday I found myself challenged. I was challenged in an area that I feel God has been speaking to me about for a while now. He decided now was the time. He spoke to me through a friend. He gave me the courage to speak out about what it was. She was the first person to whom I have given voice to these words, this deep concern. I was scared. I was embarrassed. I have been feeling ashamed and running from the problem.

My friend challenged me in another "letting go" and agreed to hold me accountable, be my encourager and to walk with me through this area.

All my life, hiding from my emotions and thoughts and at times God too, have been my specialty. Through the past few years, as God has done major healing, I have learned to embrace my emotions more. Not that it's easy. Many times I have been overwhelmed by them, and chosen instead to run from them and not face them. Tuck them down way inside and not pay attention or let them run their course.

Once I talked to my friend, Cindy, it gave me the courage to agree to the challenge that she gave me.

Once I agree to something, and make a verbal commitment, Cindy knows that I will follow through. It's that part of me that is so responsible, I can't let something go.

So this morning, I felt (and still feel) that the enemy has circled around me and is causing situations to work out that will make me feel more isolated from friends, from God, and it's only deepening the cloud of depression. Things that are going to make it even harder to keep up with this "letting go."

Here is Psalm 143;

O Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy;
In your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.
Do not bring your servant into judgement,
for no one living is righteous before you.

The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead.
So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.

I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.
I spread out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah.

Answer my quickly, O Lord;
my spirit fails.
do not hide your face from me or I will be like those
who go down to the pit.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.

Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord,
for I hide myself in you.
Teach me to do your will,
for your are my God;
may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

For your name's sake, O Lord, preserve my life;
in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.

I read this sitting and watching the sunrise.... meditating on the lines of "Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you."

God gave me this psalm for this time, to remember that God hears my cries. He sees my struggles, the battle I am in for yet more freedom. I just have to trust Him with all of me.

I am struggling to remember that He just wants me to trust Him. Even when the enemy is raging at me, all God wants is for me to trust Him.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

a new book and a new perspective

I found this new book the other day.

Ok, it was 2 days ago. I have almost finished it. That is a record for me when it's a non-fiction book. Course, I am a reader, so that helps.

But really this book is amazing, and though it is bringing up many things, it is opening my eyes to look at some things in my past in a new way.

The book is called "The Invisible Bond," by Barbara Wilson. The subtitle is "How to break free from your sexual past."

The gist of the book is that if we have had affairs, emotional or sexual, or had sex outside of the plan of God, we are carrying these bonds with those people with us into new relationships. It doesn't matter if we were a victim, or if a willing participant, or initiated the incident. We have created a bond with that person. We have bonded to that person, and when we "broke up" we walked away with bits of that person's heart, just as much as they have walked away with part of our heart.

This book tackles what this looks like, how we have been hurt, symptoms of that hurt and how we are "coping" to hide or numb that hurt, or both. And how to heal from those encounters, and how to break those bonds with those people.

If you have been reading my blog long enough you know that I have dealt with some areas like this of bondage to past relationships. I have broken many of those bonds. However, this book is seeming to bring up some of those relationships again.

One of the things I have been praying about is that the enemy wouldn't be trying to get me to "re-hash" stuff that isn't a problem.... bring up things that are already taken care of.

I don't want him to try to say "Well, really look how much you were hurt. You aren't really healed from that.." etc and open up old wounds that are really being healed (or have been).

Rather, I want to see God take this book, and use some of the exercises within it to help point me to some areas that need further healing. There are already one or two things that are very vivid in my head that I think I am going to have to work through with Tricia.

A while ago, I mentioned that Tricia had said that my friend's passing away was the icing on the cake, but what was the cake.... I didn't know at the time.

I still don't for sure. I wonder if a couple of these memories are part of the cake. I don't know that they are, and to my mind it doesn't seem to make sense that they would be. But I suppose sub-consciously they could be. The effects of not being fully healed from them, the resulting pain, and the coping mechanisms that I have been using surely could be what are causing me some problems.

All I know is this book has been a really good tool for me to assess what is really going on in my life and heart, where I felt I didn't have a tool, and that I was walking into counseling these last few times, feeling like I was running blind. I think that Tricia has felt the same too.

Running blind isn't a bad thing because it makes you rely on God. However it is really hard at times when you know you only have a limited time with someone and then end up really only getting to some of the "meat" of what's going on at the very end of that hour.

I am continuing to pray for God's wisdom and guidance.

I want the healing, but at the same time, I am afraid of it.
But I know that God is faithful, and because I have gone through facing tough stuff before, I proceed with more hope than I did before, because I have experienced the freedom of healing.

I feel the depression sneaking back in again, and I am trying to fight it. I have been extremely busy with work, so that has helped distract me, but every time I go into the weekend, I find myself crashing. Please pray for me as I go into the next few weeks here, hormonal issues could become a problem again, right at the point where I will be needing to hit tough stuff.

I hate the constant struggle, but this morning as I am able to think rather clearly, I know that struggle is worth it all because it draws me closer to my Jesus.

May I remember that in the days to come, and come back and read these words again as a reminder to myself that God is faithful.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


It isn't easy when something you are sensing is confirmed by God.

A week ago, Cindy asked me if I felt ignored by her. I told her no, because I know the circumstances she has been going through. We have talked on the phone several times and seen each other at church, but not really had the chance to get together. I was able to tell her "no" truthfully.

I know in my head I am not abandoned by her. I also know that my other friends that I am close to haven't abandoned me either. Some have had other issues that they have had to deal with. Circumstances and odd schedules have caused us to not be able to see each other, or not be able to talk to one another.

It is how life is sometimes. I know that if I needed them, I could call and they would be here in a minute.

So again, I know in my head I am not abandoned. I know it in my heart for the most part too.

But there are still emotions that tug at me, and make me feel so alone.

I wrote that in my journal the other day.

"I feel lonely."

I shared it with Tricia. She confirmed what I felt God has been telling me all along.

Sometimes God allows people, friends to fall away, to the point that our only recourse is to focus totally on Him. In those times of loneliness there are the opportunities to fall away, and to turn to other things for comfort, to allow our focus to be turned away from God. There are the chances that we will stop, stuck in bitterness and frustration and we just hold still and we don't let go.

I have been there. Years ago I was in such a position. Friends were stripped away. I literally felt naked and exposed. From time to time I looked only to God. Other times I tried to make due with other things, whether it was working, reading, TV, anything else to distract me from the pain of betrayal, loneliness and bitterness I felt.

I did hang onto God. Or I wouldn't be where I am today.

That helps me now.

I have not been betrayed now, like I was back then.
I don't feel naked and exposed, like I did back then.

I am vulnerable, like I was. Somehow this feels different. I know I am healthier than I was back then. I feel different and that is a good thing. But I don't want to "muscle through" this on my own strength but rather rely on the strength of my Savior. The cutting away of things is really hard though.

I am loved. I am cared for. My friends are still here, they are still close. But without the closer conversations and contact, and feeling distant because they are having struggles too that they need to focus on, I still feel lonely.

I hate that lonely, empty feeling. I have had it too many times in the past.

I read something a couple of days ago about keeping my gaze so focused on Jesus that the rest of the world fades into background noise. To the point that all I can see is His face. His smile. His delight in me. Then, even if I stumble, even if I fall, even if I falter and get afraid, if my gaze is focused on Him, it will be ok. In the end it will be ok..... and it will be better than ok.

Because more than ever, He will be my all in all.

Then I can be a better wife, a better mother, a better friend to those I love so much in my life. I will be less of me and more of Him.

But that means I have to trust Jesus right now with everything.

Like I talked about in an earlier post, its about letting go. Tricia confirmed that too - so did another friend I talked to on Wednesday night.

This is all about letting go. Not letting go of friendships and friends and walking away, but trusting God to keep those friendship - trusting my dear friends to His hands (way better than my hands at holding close those I love).

Letting go so that my hands are empty and open to Him to receive from this time what He would have me learn. He would have me learn more deeply that He loves me. He is reliable. I am His beloved, and He is mine.

I still hate this lonely feeling though.
It makes me afraid.
It causes me to flail around looking for some way to connect with someone, or to fill the emptiness.

I know that having everything else cut away for a time is good. It's good for me. Its a refining process. But it still hurts.

I also know it is temporary. It is necessary. I have needed time to grieve, to focus on my family, to get the kids ready for school, to get necessary things done for work.......

....... and God has provided someone else. A friend. A counselor.

With Tricia back in my life - as a counselor - I have had some stability.

There has been the initial regaining of trust, getting to feel comfortable with her, enough to be open and honest and raw. There are still things that I'm afraid to tell her, or I down play the significance of. That will decrease.

God has placed her there as a steadying influence when all else is seeming to go haywire, to keep me focused on Him, to keep me going the right direction, and to point out the things and confirm the things that He is already speaking to me.

I still don't like confirmation of things that seem to be happening in my life.

But God used Tricia to show me that it's ok to have these times, as long as I respond to them, and go through them, in a healthy way. We are going to still be working on these things. It won't go away that easily, but I know that there are reasons behind everything that has been going on.

I need my Jesus more than I ever had before. I am entering new territory, new waters, new challenges, and new opportunities. God is growing me for something through these hard times.

I am praying that I will be able to keep my eyes fixed on Him and Him alone.

Please pray for me that I will be able to find those times to retreat with God. I need that so badly. I am struggling with how this schedule is going to work with school and dropping kids off and needing time for myself and God in the morning.

If I don't have that time, I am going to find myself quickly leaning on my own strength, and I know from experience that is not a good thing, and won't end well.

He is more than enough for me.

I need to fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith.

Oh Lord, help me.