I usually start my posts with a verse from the Bible, but today I had this song in my head. I can’t remember the whole thing, but somewhere it says, “I’m gonna find you, wherever you are…” I think it’s a Mary Chapin Carpenter song, but I haven’t heard it for a very long time. For some reason, it just found its way into my consciousness and stuck there. Possibly because I’ve been feeling a little lost these days. Ambushed by feelings of inadequacy; confused by possible misreading of purpose; and if I must use the term, stymied by disappointment in others…and the fact that I should know better by now. But I dare say that I’m nothing if not overwrought with introspection. Ask anyone, or just keep reading and you’ll see that I can overanalyze anything.
I resolved this morning that I need to just forget everything that I’ve been thinking about and just step out and see what happens. Really, what if I just do nothing substantial for a few days? How would that feel? What would be the result? Have I ever not been seeking something? Can I even stop? The other day, I started to write a post about where God is on our “list” each day. I was inspired by many things, among them, my need to know that He knows just how grateful I am for his grace and mercy in my life. I go to Him every day and tell Him how I feel. I ask Him to guide me. He gives me some encouragement and I’m sure He’s given me direction, but right now I can’t seem to figure out what His direction means. Either I’m so cluttered with my own interpretations that I can’t really hear Him or He’s really not speaking to me at all. I can’t imagine that this is the case, though; because He clearly wants me to do something. I’m just having trouble figuring out what it is.
Let’s just take a look at what I’ve had on my plate and see if we can pinpoint the problem:
Ministry-Trying to create opportunities in this community to help women overcome struggles. Some of which I’m not even sure they realize they are facing. And we all know that unless we realize there is a problem, we won’t try at all to address it. After several failed attempts just to gather a group of women together to talk about the issues they face, I begin to wonder if I’m the only one who cares. I know that there are many women out there who want to help each other; the ones I can’t seem to reach are the ones who need the help. There is a huge disconnect here and it really does no good to have troops assembled with no battle to fight. It’s not like we can just go out into the community, pick a woman and say, “Hey, didn’t you realize that you were all messed up?” I think she might take offense to that. This really seems like something I’m supposed to do, but when I step out to do it nothing happens. Imagine how Kevin Kostner would have felt if he’d built that ball field and no one had shown up to play. Well, that’s kind of where I’m at on this one.
School-Studying for a Master of Divinity. I’m doing this because I’ve always wanted to learn more about religion and about the God I love and trust. Enjoying the subject matter, but fighting with a rebellious spirit that keeps me from meeting my deadlines and performing at a level that is truly indicative of what I can do. There is absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t be doing better here, but I can’t seem to make myself focus. I’m also struggling with a hint of guilt here as I spend way too much time doing homework and not enjoying the time I have to spend with my daughter.
Writing-I love to write. As evidenced by this blog. Of course I love it or I wouldn’t have three blogs running simultaneously on three very separate topics. I have this blog, which is focused on faith and all its encumbrances; another blog about women’s empowerment; and yet another blog to promote my mystery series, The Rona Shively Stories. Sadly, the mystery series which I used to enjoy writing is now undergoing a serious shift in formula due to my need to repent for my former lifestyle and to show this in every aspect of my life even down to the thought processes of my characters. Not that I don’t really enjoy writing the series now; because I have some great ideas for where I want it to go, but something has definitely changed in the way I approach my writing and sometimes I’m not so sure it’s a good thing. Not the “God” part, but the “change” part. If I’m only writing to appease myself, then why not just keep a journal and forget about sharing it with anyone else? But I want to share what I write…I just think it would be so much better if others want me to share it, too. 🙂
Bible Study-I’ve been engrossed in studying the Bible over this past year. Whether I jumped into it because I was trying to find ways to cope with my divorce and all of the emotions that came over me with that mess or if I just finally got to a point where I really wanted to understand what I’d been hearing all along in church; the Bible has become a very central focus in my life. I am, by no means, a biblical scholar. I can’t recite verses or tell you exactly where you’ll find something in there, but overall, I think I’m developing a pretty good idea of what it means and what is significant in the more well-known stories and passages. I just have to look them up on most occasions. I consider this to be a good thing, though, since I was in church for a while before and never once thought about the stuff I was reading during services. Back then, carrying your Bible to church was nearly equal to carrying one of those little dogs around with you everywhere you go. You just carried it to show that you had it. Sad, but true. Reading the Bible is time-consuming and most people around me don’t really want to talk about it as much as I do, but I figure that it’s worth the effort because every time I read a passage I gain something. Sometimes it’s understanding, sometimes it’s another question to carry around for a while. But it’s something.
All of this in addition to worrying about my daily routine, taking care of my daughter and hoping she feels as important to me as she truly is, keeping my house clean, trying to do the right thing at all times, paying bills, trying to lose weight, get exercise, not become a social recluse, and continue working towards other goals that make sense, not be hateful, not be desperate, not be worldly, and above all, have good hair days…well….let’s just say it’s started to wear on me a little.
I didn’t even mention trying to keep the peace with my ex-husband while trying not to remember what it was like to be part of an intact family (operative word being intact) in the midst of arranging visitation around everyone’s busy schedules. Granted, he’s not too bad as far as the horror stories I’ve heard from other divorced women, but it’s still very hard to see your daughter so upset when she misses her father…and she gets to see him several times each week.
So, there you have it. The mess that is my life. But I want to say one thing about this mess. For as confusing as it is today, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Fifteen years ago, nearly every day I woke up with a hangover of one proportion or another and dragged myself through the day just so I could go out and do it all over again the next evening. I sat in bars waiting to see who would talk to me or worse, about me. I looked for opportunities to get into arguments or debates so that I could make others feel as small as I felt. I felt hopeless and depressed much of the time and drank to make myself more “powerful.” I spent a lot of time looking over my shoulder to make sure that no one was going to jump me as I staggered into my house late at night by myself. Well, some nights it was by myself. When I wasn’t involved with someone who didn’t care enough about me to take me out when I was sober. Or maybe, they just couldn’t figure out when that actually was. As messes go, I was so far beyond what qualifies as a mess that I probably shouldn’t even be here today. But out of the pit, He delivered me. It took many years for me to finally reach out and take His hand, but little by little, glory by glory, He pulled me up and set me on the solid rock!
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
To be sure, God is still testing me on a few things, but overall life is very good. I’ll bet that it will be even better when I really start living in obedience and following what He is trying to show me. It’s amazing how far we think we’ve come simply because we’ve dropped a few bad habits. Changing and living for God is a complete mindset overhaul and it can’t be done in one fell swoop. Imagine my surprise when I realized that I wasn’t yet perfect after all of the time I’d been putting into trying to be. Imagine my even greater surprise when I figured out that I would never be. One thing I never need to be surprised about, however; is that He will always lift me up when I am sinking. No matter how bad I feel or how confused I get or how hard it is to hear Him calling me, He will always keep His hand stretched out to me so that I can take hold when the waters are rising around me.
Wherever you are, love won’t leave you stranded
Wherever you are, love won’t let you hide
Wherever you are, one of these days
We’ll be walking side by side
I’m looking for a love that’s meant for me
I can’t be bothered with some wannabe
Just like the light from heaven’s stars
I’m gonna find you, wherever you are
~Mary Chapin Carpenter~