Sunday, February 23, 2014

Never Disconnected

Wednesday night, I got into my car after church and put my phone in the empty cup holder.  Except it was not empty. In the dark, since my cup holder is beside the driver's seat, not closer to dashboard like in my previous car, I hadn't noticed that I had left a cup with the lid off and about two inches of Coke left in it. To add to the horror, I didn't realize it until I was about halfway home.

[insert facepalm here] Epic fail.

My phone did not survive the swim it took. So I got a lesson entitled Where NOT to Stash Your Phone While in the Car, together with its co-requisite, Why You Should Always Have Lids on Your Travel Mugs, and eventually I had to buy a new phone.

I spent approximately 24 hours without a phone.  Fifteen years ago, this would not have been a big deal. We all walked around phone-less all the time, oblivious to the fact that we did not have any way to reach anyone, and no one could reach us.  And we were happy.  We didn't know we were lacking anything.

But you know how it is now.  We are so used to having our technology at our fingertips.  We carry our phones with us everywhere, and some of us even have our tablets and computers with us most of the time. We love being connected. So, I came home and realized the harsh truth:  I am disconnected.  It's an eerie feeling, knowing you couldn't reach anyone if you needed to.

Fortunately, everything was fine; I made it through the night without a phone, and the next day, after learning the awful truth of my phone's demise from a repairman, I bought a phone.  I hadn't planned this purchase until this fall, but it's not the end of the world.

In my prayer time this morning, I reflected on the past week with all its ups and downs. I got a little down thinking about all of it. I wasn't upset at the loss of a material thing so much, but I felt stupid. So I had just spent a couple of days kicking myself for being so careless, and feeling like a total failure. I could have easily let myself be sucked in to the lies that the enemy was starting to whisper in my ear.  Stuff like:

"You're so stupid.  When will you ever learn?"

"Why did you take your phone out of your coat pocket? You should have left it there."

And my favorite:

"First you lost your W2, then the Roku remote, now you destroy an expensive piece of technology?  What's wrong with you?"

Yes, I'm still subject to his lies. Once in a while I find myself entertaining a thought that he put there, and I even fall back into beating myself up over dumb stuff I do. We all do this.  We are human, and vulnerable.

So I ran to my Father this morning, and talked it all out with Him. Then I came across this in my Bible reading:

"My heart has heard you say, 'Come and talk with me.' And my heart responds, 'Lord, I am coming.'" Psalm 27:8 NLT. Then a few verses later, "Teach me how to live, O Lord. Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me.  Do not let me fall into their hands.  For they accuse me of things I've never done; with every breath they threaten me with violence. Yet I am confident I will see the Lord's goodness in the land of the living." Psalm 27:11-13 NLT

My Father in heaven wants to talk to me!  It says so right in His word.  He wants me to pour out my troubles to Him, and He listens with compassion and love. He is a good listener, and He can fix any situation.  I just have to trust Him, and run to Him when I mess up.

I may be disconnected from others sometimes, but I am never disconnected from Him.  Never.

Friday, February 14, 2014

My Valentine Loves Me

"God demonstrates His own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 NIV. 

I wasn't going to post anything today.  In the past, I have posted about this day, and the pain in my heart always managed to show through.  If you've been married but are now single because of death or divorce, you know what I'm saying.  I tried to have a healthy outlook, but I always fell just short of the mark.

Earlier tonight, I was sitting here, watching the Winter Olympics and eating my supper, alone as usual.  And yet...not so alone.  I have the love of Christ in my heart.  I am not alone, because HE is with me always. There's a stirring in my heart, and it's a strange but good feeling.  It's something I haven't felt before, and yet it feels familiar.  Then it dawned on's JOY.  I wasn't expecting to feel happy and joyful today, but I do.

It's unclear to me just when the transition in my heart took place.  I have gone from just enduring this day to actually enjoying it.

I can't take credit for it.  I didn't do it. This is what happened:

"...we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love." Romans 5:5 NLT

It's the love of God in my heart!  He has been at work as I went about the regular business of life. I turned my life over to Him in 1994, and He started to work in me.  He's STILL working in me, and always will be until I'm with Him.

I'm not "there" yet by any means.  None of us have "arrived" until we set foot on the other side and are in His presence. But for the first time in nearly 20 years, I didn't dread Valentines Day.  I have no more bitterness toward happily married couples.  There is no animosity in my heart anymore.  I don't know when it left, or when the bitterness evaporated.  It's just gone.

If you're struggling with being alone, whether it's your first Valentines Day alone, or your 20th, let me encourage you. God loves you with an everlasting love. Give your heart to Him, and He will fix it. He will be at work every minute of every day, putting your heart back together.  It may not happen overnight, in fact, it probably won't.  But one day you will realize your heart doesn't ache anymore.  You will feel joy again, and you will laugh again.  You just have to give it to Him and trust Him.

"I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.  With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself." Jeremiah 31:3 NLT

Happy Valentines Day!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Contentment in Winter

There are things I have discovered about myself as I have grown older. Some I am happy about, some things, not so much.  All in all, though, this eye-opening experience of being in my fifties--late fifties at that--has been good.

I have discovered I love being at home.  I'm quite the homebody actually.  When I'm home, I find myself going through everything from closets to kitchen cabinets, from dresser drawers to the out of season clothing stored under the bed. It has been therapeutic for me.  I am learning the freedom of living with less in a nation obsessed with having it all. Four years ago when God moved me to this small house, with its 900 something square feet total living space, I didn't understand what He was up to. As time goes on, though, I am learning so much.  I have been paring down to having only what I love, use, or need, and it is so freeing. This is one of the reasons I love being home.

I have discovered that I don't mind being alone anymore.  I have embraced my singleness, and I love it.  I am convinced I could live like this from now on and not feel slighted by my friends and family. I love them all; they have a place in my heart and I have a place in theirs. God has taught me that when I do need social interaction, He will provide it. I rest in that now and leave that up to Him, knowing the peace of not clamoring to be included in everything. Not only that, I no longer feel inferior to my married friends.  Some people are supposed to be part of a couple; some are not. Whether or not that was God's first plan for me, since I was married for a long time and have children, is irrelevant.  I know He has forgiven me for my part in the divorce, and I am finally at peace about it. Now, I can only look forward.  He has been at work in my heart, healing my brokenness and allowing me to see that He does have plans for me.  He is using the pain I have been through, turning what the enemy meant for evil into good, for His glorious purpose. I look forward to discovering that purpose with joy and anticipation.

I also have discovered, as most of you know, that I love winter. I love it! I am enjoying this year's winter so much! We have had a lot of snow, and it's so beautiful.  God has something to say about that.  He is stirring something in my heart regarding winter, cold, and being dormant.  Stayed tuned; I'll share when it comes into focus for me, when He allows me to.

Winter brings discontent to some, but not for me.  I have embraced it, and I revel in it.

"I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill His purpose for me." Psalm 57:2 NLT