Saturday, July 20, 2013

"we don't do church discipline here"

I recently heard about a young wife who found out that her husband has a girlfriend.  She's been living with this knowledge for a while with really no one to talk to.  He wants to make a family with that girl and raise all his kids together with the new girl and her kids.  So, the wife goes to her pastor and says, "hey, so my husband has a girlfriend.  I need help.... What about church discipline?"  And the pastor says, "Well, we don't really do church discipline here."

wait.... what?!

I don't know this girl at all - she's a friend of a friend in another city.  I don't know the church or the pastor.  But, I'm genuinely angry.  Is this normal?  It just makes me so sad. 

I don't even know what else to say about this except that it hurts my feelings.

I want to drive out there, gather them all in my little car and drive them back to Tulsa to a real church.  To real elders who will do the hard thing, call sin "sin" and beg him to repent and stay after him. To godly women who will deliver meals to her a couple times a week for 7 months straight.  To friends who will come over at 4:30 in the morning when she's scared.  To college kids who will adopt her children as their own little siblings and love on them.  To long, lingering hugs from women who have walked this road before her and survived.

That's all.  Carry on.







Monday, June 24, 2013

honestly, this was not a good day.

In the past few weeks, I've...
  • been accepted into the OTA program
  • diagnosed and fixed my upstairs air conditioner
  • changed a headlight in a car
  • fixed my ice maker
  • kept the flowers I bought alive
  • killed a big fat mama black widow and (hopefully) all her babies outside my garage door
  • and lost 14 pounds

In the past 8 hours, I've...
  • taken a psych exam
  • broken my lawn mower 
  • burned my hand on the motor in the process
  • been attacked by a flyaway weed-eater cord
  • nearly choked on a chicken bone in the soup I made
  • discovered that my bathroom scale needs to be recalibrated the wrong direction
  • and had my yearly girly appointment - 4 years late, but whatever.

Ha! I think my winning streak is officially over!  I'm going to bed.  It's hardly past 10, but I have blood trickling down one shin and a welt and bruise on the other, a nasty blister on my hand, a splitting headache and red puffy eyes from a well-deserved, I-haven't-done-this-in-a-while-so-there's-lots-to-cry-about sobbing. nuclear. meltdown.

sigh

"Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so." :-)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

firsts

You would think that after 4 years, I would have encountered almost everything that newly divorced people have to go through.  There have been so many firsts.  First time you see your ex.  First time he shows up at the kids' school with a friend (who happens to be a girl).  First time you watch your children drive away on Christmas Day to spend the next 8 days at his house.  All of these firsts have stung a little.  Some have stung a lot.

Enter Easter 2013.  First time to spend a holiday together.  Yes, you read that right.  First time to cook for him.  First time to meet beforehand to make some "rules" and discuss how to love the children well during an event.  First time to debrief after an event.  First time to sit around the table together.  First time for me to sit down with the kids and say, "This is what this means" and, perhaps more pointedly, "This is what this doesn't mean" and pray that they understand and believe me.  First time to watch a "carnage" game out back on the trampoline in a very long time. 

I wish you could see the peace in my heart.

Because even though this was perhaps the most intense first yet, it was one of those that we had to get through for me to live at peace with divorce.  I know!  You'd think I'd be at peace with divorce already.  But, its just hard to get there - you know?  I guess if you're not divorced, you probably don't know. 

Anyway I think our Easter dinner spoke volumes to the kids (and the tag-along OSU students that were here) that we would make an effort to love them and, yes, dare I say love each other enough to swallow pride, embrace the awkward and be together.  Thankfully and mercifully, I don't think anyone is misunderstanding this to mean something that it is not.  So, though not perfectly executed, by any means, I'd say the day was a success.  There were a few awkward moments to learn from.  A little bit of rule breaking.  A few bright lights pointing out some ugly dark corners of our hearts.  Bright lights are a good thing. :-) 

Easter was what it should be.  A celebration of the risen Savior.  A look at how his resurrection gives us hope and eternal life.  A reminder that our best days are ahead. 

Yes.  Our best days are ahead.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

sanguine love song

Every now and then I think of myself as a writer.  And then, something comes along that changes the way I view my world - permanently - and I go back to hoping that one day I'll be able to string words together to powerfully communicate life altering truth like that.

So if you haven't already read this article, go read it and then come back.

My Train Wreck Conversion

I love this story.  A woman that most of us would shrug off as "unreachable" is brought to Christ in the way I imagine most people are brought to Christ - friendship.  She wasn't someone's evangelism project. She was someone's friend and God used their conversations to bring her to himself.

But here's what she said that got me.  It whispers to me when I am insecure.  It screams to me when I feel myself reeling out of control.  And, it is what I must smother into silence when I am tempted to sin.   
But the voice of God sang a sanguine love song in the rubble of my world. I weakly believed that if Jesus could conquer death, he could make right my world. I drank, tentatively at first, then passionately, of the solace of the Holy Spirit. I rested in private peace, then community, and today in the shelter of a covenant family, where one calls me "wife" and many call me "mother."
A sanguine love song.  God looks on me with cheerful optimism and sings.  To me.  About me.  And its not a durge, it is a love song.

I'm not sure you can understand the significance of this for me.  I'm divorced.  It was (and is) a death.  Do you know that in my father's family I am the only one to be divorced in three generations.  The only one.  My grandparents were married 70 years, had 4 children, 12 grandchildren and 24 great grand-children before they died a couple years ago.  I'm not stupid.  I know there have been issues, but everyone else seems to have held it together at least on the outside.  Except me.  And the music of my heart has been very mournful.  I suppose that's appropriate to an extent.

But what I forget to see is that God sings to me with hope.  He smiles and he loves and he sings.  He's not worried.  He knows my past, my present and my future and I will choose to believe that "if Jesus could conquer death, he [can] make my world right."




Saturday, January 26, 2013

so. much. better.

I started another blog.  It'll be different - yeah!  I miss the old xanga days where I talked about everything under the sun.  I still want to process through the divorce here, but sometimes I have other things to say.  Shocking, I know. 

Honestly, I think this is progress for me.  Four years of my life has been about the divorce.  I'm so thankful for some of the things that I've learned.  And, I'm still learning.  The truth is, there are about 15 blog posts stored as drafts to this blog.  Things I'm wanting people to know but I'm not sure I'm ready to say outloud or if I ever should.  Like why I hate Bob Marley with a passion that is equally unreasonable and ridiculous.

But, life has gone on.  I remember Ricky telling me over and over, "your best days are ahead."  I didn't believe him.  Life was over because my marriage was over and I would be alone.  Life was over because every day I ached at the pain I couldn't heal in my kids' hearts.  Life was over because precious friendships were forever altered.

Well, so I'm going to be processing the whole single thing for a while, I think.  And even though every few months someone offers to set me up or pay for an eHarmony.com subscription :-), I suspect that God has more for me to learn right where I am.  My kids do struggle and groan as they deal with Jesus.  But Jesus loves them, far more than I am capable and he will not leave them alone.  He will pursue them.   And friendships need work and grace and go through transitions.  People get married, have babies (woo-hoo!) and life and love are redeemed and we adjust.  It's a beautiful thing.

Nothing is as it was, but much of it is so. much. better. 

I'll still write stuff here.  My understanding is that there are a few people I haven't met who actually read this.    This is humbling and encouraging.  I wish I had written more and that what I have to say wasn't so weird.  I really do want to help you if I can.

Friday, January 4, 2013

its just me

A few weeks ago I went to Amanda and Dan's wedding and ran into someone who absolutely should have remembered me.  But he didn't.  I could tell when he saw me that I wasn't registering in his brain.  So when it came time for introductions to be made, I thought he would catch up.  He didn't.  Even when I said my name I could see he didn't have a clue because he said, "So, how do you fit into this wedding picture?" 

How delightful and strange to be just me.  In that potentially awkward moment when all the ugly past could have invaded the happiness, it turned out to be nothing.  My identity is... myself.  I'm someone who happened to be around when Amanda came into our little world and I just love her.   I'm a guest at the wedding.  That's who I am in this moment.

It's just me.

Monday, December 10, 2012

survival kit, pt2: Selah

I don't generally listen to the band Selah.  Honestly, I don't listen to contemporary Christian music much at all.  I find so much of it... well, nevermind what I think about that.

But, a friend (knowing what a sucker I am for tight harmony and how my heart gets healed by music) loaned me this CD during the first few weeks of the "twilight zone" (the 9-month period of time directly after "the day the world fell apart" and immediately following the "semester from hell").  I don't think the CD even made it into the house.  During the twilight zone months, my Suburban was my office.  There were many, many..... many conversations that I had to have out of earshot of my kids.  Things were insane in our world.  There were elders from 2 churches as well as RUF guys who I was keeping up with and the conversations were heavy.  There was lots of anger and fear and crying coming out of me at that time and these gracious men as well as their wives and many sweet friends listened to me for what turned into hours.

My kids got used to seeing me sit in the driveway in the 'burban talking and crying and listening to music.  They learned to leave me alone out there.  I'm sure the neighbors did, too.  It was nothing for me to stay out there for an hour or more at a time. 

One of the big things I had to work through was fault.  I was, quite frankly, obsessed with it. Whose fault was all of this mess?  I used to think everything that had happened for the previous 21 years was my fault.  It was not easy for my friends to drive this out of me.  But, while I was slogging through that emotional and spiritual swamp, I listened to this song over and over and it was a lifeline for me.  OK, not really the song itself, but the gospel in the song.  The song was anything but new to me.  But during those days something happened in my brain.  Phrases once commonplace began to mean something deep and personal.  There were no more cliches.

No matter what my fault was, I was covered because of the work of Christ on the cross.  This huge colossal mess could not erase my name from the palm of Jesus.  He had paid for my sin.  The sin I knew I had committed.  The "sin" others said I committed, but I hadn't.  The stuff I wasn't sure about.  It was all covered. 

But, it was not only my sin that was forgiven.  Sins done against me could be and should be forgiven because a Savior loved me enough.  How could I fall at the feet of Jesus and lay out my sin if I wasn't willing to reach over and grab the hand of the person beside me pouring out their own heart to Jesus in repentance.  It became the basis for forgiveness and reconciliation.  And was the beginning of the healing.