I’m Fine…I’m Running as Fast as I Can

“It’s only when we admit our un-fine moments that people can actually get to us to help us.”

I am a stubborn human woman.  I know, it’s shocking to hear, but I have learned over the course of my life to be fairly self-reliant.   I don’t ask for help for much of anything, and when I do, I have to be darn near death.  What I have learned, in times when I expected help to be there, was that people will always fail you.  People will hurt you, disappoint you, even crush you if given the opportunity.  So why on earth would I want to place myself in a position where I am actually asking for support, needing another person to raise me up?  To me, it just seems like you’re asking for trouble, and I certainly don’t need more trouble in my life.

And then I began this transformation…this recent self-reflection of who I am, where I’ve been, and where I’m headed.  And I’ve realized over the last few years that some changes need to be made if I want to achieve the happiness I desire, with the people I want in my life and stability, all wrapped with a nice big bow.  So I’ve been trying these changes on for size, one at a time, and seeing how they work for me.  You see, no one gets to be who they are by accident.  I’m not this stubborn, independent woman by accident, but absolutely by situation, dictated by the events in my life that demanded I either adapt or die.  For the most part I like who I am, and strange as it may sound, I wouldn’t change most of the events that happened in my past – they all occurred to mold me into who I am today.  Sure, do I wish I could be who I am without those traumas…well, yeah!  But I understand that God’s purpose behind each and every trial we face is to mold our character, not to harm us, and to make us reach closer to Him.

But I’m also learning that how I coped with these events just a few years ago might have functioned perfectly fine then, but for where I’m headed, they are not quite so functional anymore.  And I want to change – which is the biggest victory of all.  So I’ve been working very hard to acknowledge the areas that might need tweaking, or a small sledgehammer, and have been eager to work on those areas and test them out.  But even with all this work and support from a phenomenal therapist, there are times I feel like that small, scared little girl trapped in the grown-up body, cowering in the corner, alone and afraid, just wanting someone in my corner, saying they are with me and talking me through what’s happening.

That was this past Tuesday.  Court…again.  Sometimes I think I’m so grown and strong, but court…lately it brings me to my knees every time.  The atmosphere, the environment, the reason I’m there – it crushes my spirit faster than anything else I can imagine.  I knew before I went I should bring moral support – but felt embarrassed to ask someone to subject themselves to that ugliness.  After all, it’s my junk…I loathe being there, why would I ask a friend to endure what I can barely stand?  But that morning, I heard God telling me to simply ask – and so in obedience, I did just that…at 8 am.  I sent a group text to my friends – the ones I know I can count on…and in God-like fashion, they responded.  Why it continues to surprise me, I should really be ashamed.  Two separate friends rallied, while those who couldn’t sent their words of encouragement and prayers.  I felt so very loved and protected in those moments – it brings me to tears again just recalling the texts.

At court, ‘they’ were there first, but knowing I had support on the way, I held my head high.  I didn’t feel anxiety as I usually do.  I was receiving texts of support all the while until my first dear friend arrived.  And we just chatted and passed the time – the LONG time – visiting and forgetting where we were, which made me so at ease.  Then my 2nd friend arrived, and it was like a party of privilege, with just us 3 as the only attendees.  We joked and laughed and had a great time – almost completely oblivious to where we were.  God was truly with us, and I was certainly blessed.

As the business at hand finally began, it was unproductive and difficult, as predicted, but I wasn’t afraid or uptight.  I conducted myself in a pleasant manner, as I usually do, and his actions spoke for themselves, as they typically do.  When we were finished with the Judge, I simply walked out as if ‘they’ didn’t matter, and left, emotionally tired but not defeated.  There will be more battles to endure, but I am now confident that if I actually trust to call on my friends, they will rally to that call and be there for me when I need them – I just have to choose to let them.

God never intended for us to live this life alone – John 15:13 states…

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Here God is referencing more than a friendship, but a love relationship between us and Him, and in turn, between us and those around us.  His greatest command to us is to love one another; when it’s the hardest thing to do, when they don’t ask for it, when they hurt you, when they don’t talk to you for years & years, when they laugh in your face, when they try to kill you, when they destroy your reputation – there is no stipulation on loving one another.  Jesus loved prostitutes and murderers – are we under any less of an obligation than He was?

So I’m trying a radical new approach – praying for ‘him.’  There was a time he loved Jesus, when he wasn’t so lost, when he knew the right choices to make.  I decided a long, long time ago not to carry around hate – it’s useless, heavy baggage with no purpose and it only impacts me.   I’m certainly not going to start now.  Lay down my life?  Not quite yet, but I’ll keep up with the prayer and let you know how that works out…


Standing TALL after the Fall

Sometimes it takes a good fall to know where you stand.

I’m not naïve enough to think every day is full of sunshine and puppy dogs.  Some days I wake up, and within no uncertain amount of time, I am ready to go flying back to my bed, head quaking under the covers, wondering why on Earth I bothered to get up at all.  Today was one of those days…

It’s winter in New England – and prepare as I might, weather-related delays are inevitable, inconvenient and unwelcomed.  Nevertheless, they are a part of life that must be dealt with…one way of the other.  For those not from this area, we are having a particularly snowy patch as of late – and I am not doing a great job of being joyful about our current bounty;  in fact, if I’m being perfectly honest, I’m down right cranky about the whole deal.  And today was certainly no different.

Two days ago I had just spent a luxurious 3 hours outside shoveling my Jenny Craig size driveway so my car could fit instead of trading for that motorcycle I’ve been eyeing, only to have my efforts covered with a fresh deposit of snow, ice and slush overnight.  Let’s just say Pharrell’s latest hit song was not exactly what I was humming as I dressed this morning…after the 90 minute delay announced by the kids, throwing my immaculately timed scheduled into a cataclysmic cyclone of disaster even the Lone Ranger couldn’t lasso.  But I tried to roll with it as best possible – breakfast, 2 kids off to the bus at 8, last kid out the door only 10 minutes late, with me right behind after a last second shoe change decision, which proved to be the ONLY good decision of the day.

As I slid to the car, I really did notice the mound of snow at the base of the driveway…honest.  But somewhere in the back of my brain, I briefly thought my 10 year old minivan had been transformed into the Starship Enterprise overnight, able to leap small, possibly moderate snow banks in a single gas-pedal stomp.  Absolutely no time to shovel…I can make this…I have to go!  Into the car I lunged…buckle up, this is going to be a bumpy ride…aimed between the ‘goal posts’ that used to be the end of my driveway, now 8 feet high with dirty white mounds of hatred…and I floored it.  Thud.  Hmmm?  That didn’t quite work…let’s try again…Forward, Reverse…thud.  Uhm…?  Ok, one last time should do it for sure…I’ll turn the wheel a tiny bit…there’s probably just a small snowball blocking the tire…reverse…THUD, SPINNNNNNN!

I see in my rearview mirror a young man, shoveling my neighbor across the street, and his father with a snow blower, walking up the sidewalk at the corner.  I do that thing…you know it…where you sit there and pretend what has happened is really NOT HAPPENEING…for maybe 30 seconds…until I see this young man out of the corner of my eye, about 3 inches from me now, as I’m hoisted up in the air in my car, like a parade float…he’s brought his shovel, and without a word, he’s begun to remove some snow from under my float…I mean my car.  I feel a bit obligated to roll the window down, swallow the large piece of stupidity I’m choking on, and thank him for his support…I’m thinking he’s trying not to laugh, but I can’t be certain…he apparently was raised well.  His father, however, now joins him, and he has much less – shall I say, composure – ‘Jason, we don’t have time for THIS!’  Ma’am, you’re gonna want to turn the wheel…and not run over a mound of snow with your car AGAIN…’  Oh, really…did I do that?!  We make a few back and forth attempts, they both push a few times, the older gentleman gets in for a moment (obviously he can push the gas pedal better than I can – or maybe he was just wanting to run me over at that point, I’m not sure), all to no avail.  He tells me I need to find someone with a tow rope…and they leave me…right there in my float.  I must say, it was a pretty lonely moment.

Being the stubborn girl I am, I sat there a LONG time.  I thought about what to do, how to resolve this hot mess I found myself in and if it was truly a possibility to just abandon the whole scene and come back in July.  It was shocking to me that 3 people…I hope these people were merely passing down my street and were not MY NEIGHBORS…had to drive around me, but simply shook their heads in disgust (Seriously, no one could have been more disgusted than I was…just sayin’) and kept on trucking.

And after all of that, I thought about what brought me to that exact moment.  I was having such an anxious morning.  I was headed to court, somewhere I didn’t want to be, to do something I didn’t want to be a part of, alone.  And I was going through all the motions – the old me I’ve been working so very hard to walk away from – and I would have walked into that court alone, stood up alone, and done the right thing, just like always.  But this ridiculous morning happened…and absolutely not by accident.

Time after time, instance after instance, when I’m brought to my knees, or my face, or my back on an escalator, God is standing there with His hand at the ready to lift me up – but not until I see what needs to be seen.  Today I could have had a tantrum about missing court.  I really needed to be there, but once I realized I wasn’t going to make it, it rolled off me like a wave in the ocean, and though I still had the parade float to deal with, I wasn’t uptight, I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t frantic.  I sat there for 2 hours…2 funny, ridiculous, crazy hours.  But those were 2 hours I wasn’t being verbally assaulted, or belittled, or vilified.  I was protected by love, and once that became clear, the iceberg landed and I was allowed off.

The coolest part, however, came once I got inside the house.  God shows us His love all the time, every day, tens of times a day.  But my absolute favorite part is the confirmation that He is in complete control.  I came inside, put my pajamas back on, climbed back into my bed, and promptly received an email notification that court was continued for 4 weeks – I had missed absolutely nothing critical – I was right where I was meant to be all along.  On my knees, on my face, on my back, on an iceberg – we can’t prepare for the fall, but God does, and afterwards, we stand so much taller.  Today, in that car, I gained at least an inch – and part of me that’s been missing for a while.  For that bounty, I’m available again tomorrow…