Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Enough Said

So I find myself missing Scott more now than before because of the holidays. Obviously!

I was sitting outside in my work parking lot, praying, and just trying to connect with God. My question was simply this, "How will I get through all of this?"
And I clearly heard in my heart - " With Me".
My only response - "OK"

Nuf Sed.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


“There's an old saying that "perception is reality." But is this statement true? Not very often! Reality is always factual, but perceptions can vary widely. Different people may view the facts in different ways, but that doesn't change the truth of the matter. For example, individuals or groups may perceive God differently, but that does not change God. God is God and that will always be reality. What the saying "perception is reality" means is that people will react to their own perceptions as if they are the real truth. It's the way we see things!
Name a particular group, organization or business, and you'll find people's opinions often differ wildly regarding its purpose, position and function. They have perceived its nature based on their own experience and viewpoint”.
I stumbled upon this the today and realized that God is so strongly at work in me that I’m amazed – even though I know I shouldn’t be. He’s always up to something. I’ve had the perception that He’s preparing me for something for a long time now.

So, again, yesterday, our lunch room conversation turned to a highly controversial subject. And of course, opinion’s varied. Or perceptions varied.
Topic: illegal immigration.
I listened more than spoke, only because I have such mixed emotion and opinion about it. “Beep” went my internal watch. I’ve since stopped carrying the stop watch.

The majority of the contributors to this conversation had really strong opinions of their own perceptions – this is “my” country, this is “my” tax dollar, this is “my” land, “my house” and so the conversation went. And I completely understand that there is frustration where people come into “my” country, and violate our laws and land in jail, only to be supported by “our” money, tax payers money.
But I feel the same way about the people who were born here. So for me, it’s not a prejudice against a particular nationality, just a prejudice against people who are evil. Could that be “righteous prejudice”?

As I meditated on this subject last night, it was revealed to me that none of this is “mine”. This is God’s land, God’s money, and God’s jail.

If we change our perception to it all belonging to its Rightful Owner, then does it all really matter? As I kept thinking about the conversation, I just kept redirecting my thinking to this not being “mine” but God’s and the frustration I felt other people had over the illegal immigration problem diminished.

If anyone has a right to hate someone else, God does. And yet, we read that "God so loved the world" (John 3:16)— so much so that He wants to include its people in His eternal family. When I say, “people”, it doesn’t just refer to “American’s”. It refers to ALL PEOPLE.

Now, that’s not to say that I have had a complete change of heart. But I am made more aware of the brokeness of people, regardless of race or culture. There is still a part of me that says, “If you come to this country, obey the laws or go back to your own country. Or we’ll send you back”. And I’m reminded that we are to pay Cesar’s things to Cesar and God’s things to God. And I’m still troubled in my heart that I have that part of me that says – “its mine and you can’t have it”.
I’m reminded that I am broken too. And I am humbled.

Friday, December 11, 2009

For years now, my kids have asked me what I want for Christmas. I used to jokingly say, a million dollars, a new house, a new car, a new Harley. They would laugh and say, “No, really, Mom what do you want for Christmas”. And typically I would answer that I had everything I wanted. I have phenomenal daughters and wonderful grandchildren. I really didn’t want anything.

This year, they haven’t asked me… yet. I think they know that all I want for Christmas is something I can't ever have. My husband back, not to have gone through the trauma of helping Scott die, our life together back. Even as crappy as it was sometimes, I miss it so much.

Scott grounded me. He was tough, but that kept me grounded. I felt like I had a purpose and a direction. Now, I feel like a ship without a sail, just kind of going with the motion. I'm not challenged by anything except getting over the trauma.

As the holidays approach, I dread them. I try to keep a happy heart and a kind spirit, but I really don’t see (and never really have) the purpose of hanging lights, buying and decorating a tree, only to take it all down again and put it away. Spending money on presents for people who most likely don’t want that thing you just spent money on anyway. Seems like a waste of time and effort to me. And this year, I REALLY don’t want to do any of it. There is less motivation for me now than ever before.

I find myself, lately, remembering conversations Scott and I had, that I’ve long since forgotten about. Not the most recent conversations but, old ones. I remember a conversation we had when we first met and we were going “on our first adventure” together. He told me to eat oatmeal before we hit the road so I’d stay warm on the Harley. So we ate oatmeal. I laughed then, but now, I know how important that was. (I didn’t stay warm for long though. Driving up the Cajon Pass in November on a Harley in the cold was the coldest I’d been in a long time).

And the one thing that has been running through my memory all day today is when he told me “You complete me”. And I remember the scripture we used for our wedding. Ecclesiastes 4:12 - “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken”. But it has been broken. And I’m not sure how I feel about this right now. I feel like I’ve been lied to somehow. We made a covenant with God, and now that’s been broken. I understand the realities of life, but “really”, Lord, “really”???? I feel like God didn't keep His end of the bargain.

This morning I was thinking about Scott more than I normally do on any given day. I thought about all the things we’d done together, the things we’ll never do together and all the things we said we were going to do, and never did because we didn’t make it a priority in our lives. From the smallest of things, getting matching tatoo's and we were supposed to set up the camera and take portraits together of just us. We never did that. We were supposed buy a pop up trailer and drive up north to different camp sites and just be together, and relax, we never did that either. And now we won't ever.

Why is it that we always want what we know we can’t ever have?? Why is it that we never think about **(fill in the blank) ** till someone says we can’t have it?
I don’t think it’s just me, I think this applies to everyone.

And it all started with Adam and Eve in the Garden. I just want to know why she listened to the stupid snake in the garden. Seriously, did snakes talk back then? Was she hypnotized? Or just plain stupid.

Yeah, yeah, I know – she was deceived. But Adam, he wasn’t. Didn’t he trust God enough to know that if he remained faithful, God would have given him something so much better? Why didn't he know this?? And if God knew in advance (which I believe He did/does) why did He do it? Why? This is one of those questions that often keep me up at night. And it won’t be answered until I meet up with Him later.

So… all I want for Christmas I can’t have. I can’t have my husband and life back, I can’t have answers to all my questions, and I can’t be “normal”.

So… why bother??

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

My church, TerraNova, is doing a new series called “Ghosts of Christmas Past”. It’s not the same as the movie necessarily, but it is about things that have happened in the past that make the holiday season not such a good thing for some people. And it’s about asking God for forgiveness and healing of those things from our pasts so that the future can be a bright, light place. Where we can walk with Him in the light. One of Scott’s favorite verses was read by our church – Eph. 5:8-14. I didn’t know it was a favorite till I looked at my husband’s bible shortly after he passed away. It was post noted in pink with “especially 13” written in his handwriting. I don’t think our Pastor knew that this was one of Scott’s favorite. It matters not.
Sometimes I’m hit with the emotions of Scott’s death when I least expect it. Yesterday at church was one of those moments. Usually when I first walk in I’m blindsided. I’ve learned to expect this trigger. Scott’s presence is very heavy there. The place was our home away from home. It was our place of refuge during the storms of life. It’s where we practiced choir. It’s where they met to head out for Project Mexico. It’s where our life was. I’m reminded of how much he put into that place. He was very involved in capturing the build-out in photographs, he went and sprayed for bugs so that Laura wouldn’t be afraid to be there. He worked along side Stefanie to clean it up. I don’t even know how many times he swept that warehouse floor. He watched it come from a hollowed out warehouse space and helped to create it into the warm and loving place of worship it has become.
When I look at the lights I remember how he LOVED being a part of that, same thing with the sound system. So now when I walk in, I try not to look at those things. I just focus on my new life and the message being presented. But yesterday, I was blindsided again. In the Children’s Ministry workroom is the “bio” that Scott and I did when we did his Art Showing. Talk about the wind being kicked out of you! But it was OKAY! I’m glad that he’s still remembered.

Anyway, back to the message from church, I’ve pretty much covered most of the issues of my distant past – my totally dysfunctional childhood (yeah, I know – who didn’t have one of those), God has redeemed my children back to me (which I am forever grateful for), I believe strongly that He has forgiven me for those things that I’ve done and that He’s forgiven who people have done awful things to me.
I’ve been a Christ follower for 12 years now, so I have dealt with, been forgiven of and have moved past a lot of things from my past, so I didn’t think the lesson really applied to me, however, I’ve changed that view point. Since the series goes along with a couple of other studies I’m doing, and I have to do spiritual inventory for those studies I decided to think about and pray about the “Regrets” and “Resentments” that I do have buried.

And it comes down to in part to this – I’m not a strong believer in the Christmas season. Not because I don’t believe in Christ, but because I don’t like celebrating the way modern society has come to celebrate His birth. It’s become such a money pit that we all fall into and then regret when we end up paying back so much more. And teaching our young ones the wrong meaning of the season!
We’re too busy focusing on the “holiday” and not the meaning behind it. But then this got me thinking about how it’s easy for me to not celebrate Christmas. I’m just not into holidays. And that’s because I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and so that “holiday spirit” was never engrained into my head. So it’s a little easier for me to make a stand to not get all caught up in the shopping and decorating and cooking and so on and so on. So, no regrets there.

And Scott and I decided about 3 years ago that we weren’t going to get a tree, or buy presents for anyone. It was hard, but it was okay. I like buying stuff for people, that was the hardest part. So we bought a little fake tree that takes 15 minutes to set up and put away. And now that Scott has passed away, I’m going to compromise this a little bit.

I won’t put up our little 15” tree this year, or any other decorations. Mostly because they’re packed in storage, but also, my little space doesn’t allow it. This allows me the freedom to think about getting or making Christ-centered gifts for my children and grand children. I’m not going to spend a lot of money doing it. I WILL STAY IN BUDGET. It may just come down to sharing the story of Christ with them in a unique way. I haven’t decided yet, but this I know, I will celebrate Christ’s birth the best way I can and that is keeping Him in the center of it.

Then this leads me to discuss the “Regrets” and “Resentments” I do have toward other people and myself (and surprisingly, God too) that I’ve just not thought about in a long time. Or am just coming to realize. And though it may be true that I’ve dealt with many, many issues from my past, yet there are still some recent areas in my life where there are “Regrets” and “Resentment’s. And so I’ve prayed that God would show me these areas. And I have questions, questions that I’ve posed to God that I’m currently waiting answers on. One of the answers has already been given.

See, last night as I was sitting outside in the cold pondering the spiritual inventory I have to take, my question was why can’t I just get over the death of my husband? It’s been almost 7 months now and I feel like I should be farther along than I am in the grief process. This is a process I hate right now. I cannot rush it along, I cannot push it, and there is no reward or prize if you finish first. And honestly, I don’t want to “finish first” on this one, but I do want to have some kind of “normal” in my life and I would hate to think that where I am right now is “normal”. And the response I heard was clearly, “Some things just take more time”. And, “This “normal” is only normal for a season”. Then I looked at my ring that I bought about a month ago. It reads, “I know the plans I have for you”. Jeremiah 29:11- 13
Here’s what the full verse says, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”.
Oh WOW! This is so reassuring to me.

My faith remains, it weakens and it gets stronger, day after day, but I haven’t completely lost faith. Everyday my faith looks different to me. Some days it’s HUGE and other days it’s truly a mustard seed.

And this is where my “Regrets” and “Resentments” are right now. And I’m sorry that it’s still all about Scott for me, and it might be that way for a long time.
I Regret that Scott isn’t here with me right now and I Resent that God has chosen to take him from me right now.
Scott lived his whole life hard and fast and crammed it all into 53 years. I had no control over that. And I had very little control over anything in our relationship. Yet, I suffer the consequences of Scott’s choices. I have resentment about this. I resent that I’m always reminded of him and that he’s not here and I resent that I’m sad all the time. There! I've said it.

Life just doesn’t seem very fair to me. But life isn’t “fair”. Or just. It just is. “It is what it is” and I’m learning to just “be” in each moment. Take each moment as it comes and not control, analyze it I may or may not remember much of this time right now, but I am learning through it. I am growing through it and I know that this too shall pass.

I’m confident that “normal” will happen for me – In God’s time, not mine. For He has always known the plan for me. I may not like the timing or the plan, but if God's in Control and last I checked He was still on the throne, then I'm OKAY with it.