It’s A Circumstanial Thing. Right?


 

sad girl staring out window

It has taken me almost a half a century to understand that one of the greatest measuring sticks we have in our life is death. As I have lost friends and family members, recently  I have learned that our legacy is more important than the “things” we gather, here on this earth, because they are all left behind to be given away by someone else anyway. It is more about the things we give away while we are here that really matter most.

And it is not only about material things, even more so, it is about our self and our time. I am beginning to come to terms with the fact that I am selfish in giving away pieces of me. I give freely to the people I know love me. But even at times, I’d rather be alone. And if someone is difficult, even if I love them, I have learned to avoid rejection or dysfunction at all costs.

I spend time with a handful of people I choose to, that matter most to me, and don’t really go out of my way to make new friends. My husband is constantly wanting me to reach out to friends at church and I have always dug my heels in, except for a select few. I remember when we moved away from the place I literally grew up, away from all of my friends, to a brand new place and he’d said, “you’ll make new friends.” I told him, I have all the friends I need. Well, that would have been very sad if that was true, because some of those friends now, are the ones in that handful of friends I mentioned earlier, that I have grown to love and choose to hang out with most.

I do know that I tend to want to come home from work which is a “people” job, and retreat into my own little shell away from everyone, not answer too many questions, or have too many plans and just unwind. I know that I disappoint my very socially inclined husband, and I feel bad and then that makes me mad because I feel guilty and that is up there among the top four feelings I hate to feel… Frightened, Sad, Angry & Guilty!

Depression is something I have never bought into. I mean, I know it exists organically. I worked in a Psych Unit for almost six years. It is a very real condition. And there is treatment for that kind of Depression. I’ve witnessed the successes of those treatments. But what I am talking about is admitting that I have it or not. Which I was told that I do by our counselor. And have fought that diagnosis ever since. In fact I got mad and stopped going to counseling. Thinking of course you are going to have to label me. I’m not depressed! I’m mad and angry and exhausted!

I mean, crap happens and you are sad, or scared or angry because of it, right? It’s a circumstantial thing. Depression doesn’t happen to people like me. I go to work every day, I don’t sleep my life away. I laugh and joke and live! You work through the crap and it goes away. Right? Maybe not. Maybe you work through it, but the layers of fear from all the things that have happened in life pile up and you don’t know how to deal. For the first time since then, I have wondered. Maybe she was right?

Fighting a war inside your head is exhausting. Being expected to even know how to begin to talk about it, takes your breath away. Even people like me, who talk for a living. It is like caring too much about everything but being perceived as if you care about nothing. Always looking back, wanting to fix where you were, being afraid to believe in tomorrow. Sometimes faking a smile and saying you are fine, is so much easier than trying to describe your pain. I mean, don’t think that I can explain how I feel when I don’t even understand myself. Always wanting someone to just say “It’s going to all be okay” and  for me to really believe it. And wondering if you will ever feel like it’s really okay.

A lot has happened to a lot of people, horrific things that I can’t even imagine and they have turned around and made their journey into lessons for others. I know that some of my experiences can be an opportunity for a better testimony, that if I can get through it, others can too.

I guess that I’m beginning to realize that finding the courage to understand is our reward.  That it’s okay to cry for the ones that we miss, but so important to embrace the ones that are still here. That fighting for life is making us stronger and that stronger is a very good thing. And that I need to learn how to really and truly, genuinely love the person I have fought for all along… and that, that person is me.
To love God first, and then ourselves is one of the  hardest lessons I’ve ever had to learn. For I can’t love anyone else until I understand who is loving you.

She builds people up because she knows what it’s like to be torn down.

praying woman's hands

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has known what God has prepared for those who love Him.                                                                                             1 Corinthians 2:9

Still The One


friends two little girls with braids

“Love doesn’t keep track of wrong doings.”

It took me over a half a lifetime to understand what that one piece of wisdom that God  has tucked in HIS WORD over and over again, really means. I’m not sure  why it took me so long to truly understand just how simple this message was. For years, it seems as if I’ve been angry at something or someone. My dad used to say that I had a Forest going, with all of the leaves I turned over. I wasn’t always like that. I was a happy little girl. For the most part. But people hurt me and I let it get to me.

peaceful forest

A few years ago, I had a falling out with my childhood Best friend. We’d lasted for over a half a century without so much as a cross exchange. Well, at least on my part. She was the “alpha” in our relationship and pretty sharped tongued at times, and said it like it was. I’d accepted that part of her personality and though she hurt my feelings at times, I’d dealt with it. And then in one stupid afternoon, I used my words to retaliate and let her know that it wasn’t okay. It wasn’t that they were fighting words, or even that they ended our visit on  the spot. It was just that I’d had it and I stood up to her for the first time and it surprised us both and for the most part, changed  the future of our friendship. I am not saying that it is not good to be honest with your feelings, nor to stand up for yourself when the occasion calls. I am just saying that for me, it was not worth it. And it kind of changed the dynamics of a life long friendship. Though we’ve shared a thousand phone calls and texts and emails, and have confided and laughed and cried and laughed again since that last time, I hadn’t been back for a visit since that fateful confrontation. Until…  this last weekend, my daughter and I went to visit her. And she was still the one who I walked to kindergarten with, and failed my driver’s license test in front of… TWICE. She was still the one who was in both of my weddings and I in hers. She was still the one who let me drag her around as I searched for the perfect “first dance” song. She was still the one who ironed my wedding dress twice! We were even both pregnant with our daughters at the same time. She is two months older than me and her daughter is two months older than Brooke! And she is still the one who invested in my daughter’s dream, helping her pay for her first year of school.  She is still the one who my dad sent for when I went through a bad break up, and still the one who was my friend when I sometimes felt that I had no one else. And she was the first one I called when my dad died. She is still the one who has beat this damn cancer over and over again for the last twenty years. We’d planned a visit for her birthday this year, but then she canceled saying that her treatments were taking a toll on her and we should wait until later. But her sister (also my dear friend) called and said not to wait. So my sweet daughter piled in the car with me and we took that six-hour round trip laughing and crying both ways. door ajar The house was still the house she’d designed with loving care. The scent of her home still enveloped us as we walked through her door that I hadn’t walked through for a few years. And there she was. They’d gotten her a hospital bed. We covered her with the blanket we brought her for her birthday. She was able to get up and eat some lunch. I fed her soup. The next day she went on hospice. On the way home, my daughter begged me to get a mammogram. I got one the next day. I guess I am sharing this because I have learned that we don’t always have to make it about us. We don’t always have to be so offended. I mean after all, it worked for over fifty years the way it was. I do have regrets. I wish that I’d just “let it go” because we were best friends forever, we wrote to each other on stationery we picked out especially for the other  and used sealing wax to make it even more special.

sealing wax

Our friendship was one of the greats, the way we loved each other, and the history we shared would be hard to duplicate. But I still regret that one month where we didn’t know what to do so we did nothing. Last night, I read all of our emails since 2007 And you know what? God really has it right…. “Love doesn’t even notice when it’s done wrong.” 1 Corinthian 13:5

friends crying hugging

My Strength


baby smile

I have been working a lot lately, so when I come home, I just kind of zonk out and recently have not been writing too much. But I had to share this one that came to me the other day while I was at work (of course ~ since I’m always there!)

Have you ever been in a funk and totally zoned out? Perhaps standing in a line at a register waiting to be checked out, and a baby catches your eye and smiles at you? In a split second, you are transported to a place of innocent joy between you and that smiling baby. You smile back only to receive an even bigger smile. At that moment, nothing else matters, not bills, being late for an important date, or even what has you really worried. It is as if God Himself, reached down to hug you. The innocent exchange reminds you of bigger things. Maybe even a glimpse of a speck of what heaven will be like. Nothing but innocent joy.

0413011039 hot tubrohss

The other day I was ouside at work. Even though I work in a beautiful piece of God’s country where squirrels scamper just inches away and birds sing to me as I do my job, I feel a bit like Cinderella having to clean out the chimney, (in my case tubs) waiting for my Prince to rescue me.

river oaks hot springs spa20121207_125633 hot tubs

cinderella mopping

(after all of my work… they look like this…)

hot tub

hot tub2

I have to climb up and down hills all day long, and under hot tubs that might have snakes and spiders where I have to go. And I have to admit that I don’t always stop to smell the flowers as I head under each tub.

tired maid

snake20130315_154425 hot tubsspider web

I asked God to give me something profound as I walked around the other day in a particular funk. And I amost heard His voice as He gave me:

“The joy of the Lord is my strength”. 

Wow!! It was such an intense and fast answer that it brought quick tears to my eyes. I asked for more and was given the vision of how I love to make people laugh. Particularly  people who I respect, like my dad or a person that I place a little above myself. And I realized that laughter translates into joy and giving joy is empowering. Hence; maybe the same goes for the meaning of  strength in the verse God gave to me? I pondered a bit more. (Funny how if you stay focused, God will talk to you as long as you talk back and sometimes even when you don’t!)  I realized that desiring to give God JOY is my strength. When I know that I know that I know that my heart is only wanting to make God “laugh” or make Him proud or happy, I am as strong as Samson!

I have been feeling blue lately and disappointed by people. From the time I was young I’ve had a habit of looking up to people; Teachers, Politicians,  men and women of God. And ultimately have discovered that they are all human. And unfortunately, all eventually succumb to pride and prejudice in their own ways. And maybe that is a good thing. Because when I start to admire someone too much, I usually am disappointed. I have just begun to learn that it is not fair to them. No one is ever going to not disappoint me. No one but God that is. And so my focus should be finding my strength in His joy!

A black cloud followed me

as I walked out my  front door.

Grumbling, I got in my car

 thinking I couldn’t take much more!

The day seemed to move slowly

and it lasted way too long,

counting the hours, I wondered

what else could possibly go wrong?

Suddenly I realized

I hadn’t started out in prayer.

Nor invited YOU my Lord

to follow me anywhere…

And so I stopped everything

as I bowed my head to pray,

finally inviting You

into what was left of my long day.

Funny how the traffic didn’t seem

to bother me anymore,

and when I stopped to pick up groceries

a stanger held my door.

And  I knew you’d heard my prayer

after standing in line a while,

when  that baby caught my eye

and gave me the biggest smile!

happy baby in grocery cart

That’s when I knew YOU gave to me,

a sample of YOUR grace,

and showed me that the Joy of the Lord

truly is my strength!

Diane Reed

2013

The Joy of The Lord

The Other Shoe


Please excuse me while I am waiting for the other shoe to fall. I have been doing that pretty much all of my life. Never really enjoying the good times… There has always been a disaster looming around the corner and I have always been waiting for  that other damn proverbial shoe just hanging from that freaking foot to fall. You  know the saying… “Waiting for the other shoe to drop” Well, it has in my life, a few times… and I have grown accustomed to knowing or at least expecting that it will again… And so as I throw away my 2o12 calendar I feel as if I am throwing away a lot of missed opportunities, and oh how I wish all of my mistakes could go in that trash can as well. Let’s see my book would have already been finished and submitted. I would have reached my weight goal rather than have spent the year going backwards…and I would be in a better financial position… Ahhh what do they say about the best laid plans? All in the trash with that old falling shoe!

shoe falling

It is January seventh, two thousand and thirteen.  And speaking of calendars… I just noticed that my old-fashioned wall calendar that I have always continued to keep, (regardless of the latest technology of a calendar on my laptop or Smartphone.) Is still on December. As I turned to the next month, I realized that there are no pages left. And it is so metaphoric for me.

calendar

I open the blinds to see the sunrise, only to be met with a very blustery and  stormy Monday morning. I need to start editing my book and yet knowing I am not going to post more of it here seems to make it more work than fun.

Okay now… before I lose you… I just went and put a pot of coffee on so maybe that will boost my mood.

coffee and computer

I live right near the gate of our gated community so I watch as the cars pass on their way to work, I imagine the life of each one as they pass by. I actually like the busy-ness of the street. I know that it might not be a selling point for some when it comes time to sell this house, but I have always loved that part of living on the corner here, as well. I have always  thought it would be nice to live in one of those high rise apartments right smack dab in the middle of the city. I like the bustle and activity. It makes me more creative. I guess I have the best of both worlds, I live in the country close to a lake. It is a vaction community for a lot of people. Some, may even come here to write. I live here and I am grateful. And yet it is funny, the part that most people might be negative about makes me almost happy. I watch each car as it drives by and wonder who they are and where they are going. Yes, I am a writer and so I think like that…  I wish I could say that I am praying for each one as they drive by me. Perhaps when I think of it… I do. I would love to tell you that I just sit here and do that every day. That would be a wonderful thing to tell you…. but I am wrapped up in this narcissistic feeling cacoon right now and feel those walls going up again as if to dare someone to climb over. I hate when I get like that.

 cacoon in the rain

Okay, now I have taken my first sip of coffee. Funny how that can clear my head like Xanax can for other people.

Smile.

writing just hand view

I guess that sometimes, life just happens. I can be going along perfectly okay, even with a raging cold, and not feel down and then something just hits me. A part of my life that I feel that I can’t control and WHAM I am down for the count. I felt it creep up today. I am learning to see it coming. That out of control feeling. I have come to realize that I am not causing it, I almost try to forgive myself, thinking that I can’t control it. It comes upon you like a messy closet. But then… even a messy closet is within your control. Ya know?

 I got up early to do the bills. Maybe that is what put me in a slump?

bills

My husband is going on whatever month it is being one of the jobless. (I have stopped counting.)  But so much potential is in the business he is pursuing. I just need to learn how to be patient. And yet sometimes, I wonder is my middle name Job?

job

Okay now, I know… you can all stop searching for that tinest violin. I have heard it all already! And I see that God is a God of answered prayers.  When the other shoe drops… He has always provided another pair! I know… I know…  I’m just tired of the other shoe always dropping. Ten years ago I was dealing with an earthquake, and a few more decades before that, my fiance’s mom killed herself, all in the time frame of this week. It isn’t the happiest of memories. Maybe that is it… I guess around this time of year, somehow even after all these years and all the blessings in-between I have always waited for the other shoe to fall. Always.

shoes in a pile

I know how bad it can get. I know how blessed I am. Even where we are now financially, I see hope and yet I want to be able to just relax, to find that formula that lets me just lean back and trust. And so I went on a little journey inside my own head… wanting to truly dig my way out of the pile that I had found myself under…. and it’s funny when you really do get to a place where you want to hear someone telling you that it really is going to be okay there is always a place that leads us to this place….  a Voice much clearer than the ones in my head telling me to be afraid…

Bible (2)

And as I read… I followed the light and found these…

And looked out my window and saw this…

rainbow

2 Corinthians 3:4-6 “And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”

Psalm 18:2 “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”

Psalm 91:2 “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”

Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. ”

2 Samuel 22:31 “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.”

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.”

Psalm 7:1 “O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me:”

Psalm 25:1, 2 “Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.”

Proverbs 30:5 “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.”

Psalm 9:10 And they that know thy name will put  their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek  thee.”

Psalm 22:4 “Our fathers trusted in thee: they  trusted, and thou didst deliver them.”

Psalm 37:5 “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust  also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”

Psalm 56:3 , 4 “What time I am afraid, I will trust  in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not  fear what flesh can do unto me.”

Psalm 71:5 “For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou  art my trust from my youth.”

Isn’t it funny how I started out? So whiney and clingy and feeling all sorry for myself? Now I am feeling rather foolish. I will leave you with this wonderful quote that  I am reminded of today:

In the darkest of nights cling to the assurance that God loves you, that He always has advice for you, a path that you can tread and a solution to your problem–and you will experience that which you believe. God never disappoints anyone who places his trust in Him.   Basilea Schlink

All I need is someone bigger than me… saying “It’s gonna be okay.”

shoes in a closet

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-trust-20-helpful-scripture-quotes/#ixzz2HJ1aFw1Y

Pedestal Sitters


I am a work in progress. Though, I wish that I could say that I have” arrived” for once and for all! Sometimes I have to admit that I have asked myself, when will it be my turn to be a “pedestal sitter”? How I wish that I could be the mentor rather than always the one being mentored. But I guess we all have our places and someone has to be the  example for the works in progress to give hope to the ones still in progress. At times I have wondered if any of us really ever get there. I mean the ones who are examples, the ones who get to be the pedestal sitters. The ones we think have arrived. What are their struggles? If we really could see them the way their family sees them, would they fall off of the pedestals we put them on? What if we lived with our mentors? Our Pastors and politicians, our bosses and teachers, are they who they really seem to be? Well, the fact is, no one is perfect. Even if they tend to want to keep up appearances, facts are facts and pedestals usually always fall. And in turn the pedestal sitters are just as fragile as Humpty Dumpty.

I remember as a kid, my dad was a high profile businessman. Even when we would go to his company picnics, he seemed to command an unspoken kind of awe, whether professionally or at play, in the office or on the softball field. He was respected in ways I did not understand or appreciate as a child.

 I just saw the dad who would sit in his easy chair and drip something on his tee shirt as he ate and laugh at the “Mr. Murray” that I got to see and realize that even at a young age, I was privy to another side of my dad.

There are ghosts in my life. There I said it. I wrote and rewrote that sentence and there is no other way to say it. Some are more prevalent than others. But they are there. Like an old movie being rewound. Like a character from my past, walking around with me, whispering in my ear. No one else can see him but he is there. Always saying things that I imagine he would say. Is he my voice of reason or judgement? Is she my little child still inside of me clamoring to be set free? Perhaps he is my dad.

How I would love to have my wise old dad show up, when I needed his wisdom the most. And yet sometimes I forget that God IS there, like my dad in a way, always there, always, oh my, that is a thought I love and fear all at the same time. HE knows my every hair. Okay, that’s kind of comforting. But my every thought? That’s downright disturbing! I mean, I stub a toe or pinch a finger and a million words my mother would be horrified to know that I know, pop into my head. Not that I say out loud but they do come to mind more than I would like to admit at times when I am not at my best. And yes, my mother still remarks if she disapproves of me and I still feel a bit like a pre-teen. Do we ever stop being the child when our parents are around? No matter how old I am, I still have the urge to wait for my mom to look the other way before I salt my food.

God never turns His head. He is always there. Though I have treated Him like a vapor and placed Him in an abstract place in my heart and forget He is always watching. No lock will keep Him away and yet He doesn’t force his way in, he waits to be invited. He is the only ONE worthy of a pedestal and yet walks with the servants and finds me worthy at my worst, without a pedestal or a life free from sin. He finds me where I am and gives me a place far better than any pedestal a place of grace to rest and be restored.

For I will be merciful and gracious toward their sins and I will remember their deeds of unrighteousness no more.
Hebrews 8: 12

If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7: 14

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Psalm 51: 10-12