Tuesday, January 25, 2011


On my way to the blog, I stopped by the kitchen for a treat. I love those little dark chocolates, wrapped in foil, with a message inside. I don't buy them for the thoughts, but sometimes its fun to see what great wisdom can come out of added calories. Tonight's treat read this: 'Discover how much your heart can hold.' I'm not sure what that is supposed to mean, but in my experience you can find that out when your heart gets broken.

As mentioned previously, I've been attending a large group study for women. We're going through the book of Isaiah, finding out what it means to be free. This past week we studied heartbreak. Not my favorite reality to dive into, but one that all of us can relate to at some point in our lives. There were times that I had to stop, because the lesson book was getting wet. I thought to myself, "Really? This is still bothering me?" It seemed like I should be over this, by now. But I wasn't. I had let go; but it still hurts.

It would be more bearable, if it weren't for the fact that I've been experiencing several strained relationships, all at the same time. When I think about it too much, I feel the brokenness settling, right in the pit of my stomach. Not a good feeling. Could I have said this or that differently? What more can I do to reach out--when that person refuses to reach back? I've apologized...now what? I try to get in touch with another friend...and they won't call back. I still don't know what happened or why. These are the scenarios in my life lately.

And then, there is that one person who you are sure will never be replaced by another friend, no matter how great they are. It was a special relationship, a great connection. Life circumstances changed, and now its been several years since you've seen them. They are the kind of friend that you can pick up right where you left off...if only, you had the opportunity to see them again. These are heart-breaking moments. We don't get over them easily. We hold a special place in our hearts for these people who mean so much. Even if it means they will never reciprocate in the way we would like.

I believe that I'm entering into a new season these days. One called silence. It is rather odd to find oneself, sitting in a group, not having anything to say. Yes, I did the homework...all of it. Yes, I am processing the information. But I can't utter the words. They won't come. It's a good thing that I'm not called on, to say something. There are plenty of other people there, eager to share their thoughts...I used to be one of them. Now, I'm slowly becoming one of the quiet ones. How strange that is, for me. I am so much the extrovert, when in good company. I love people. They energize me, for the most part. But here, in this environment...I must be still.

For those who know me well, or maybe didn't want to put forth the effort--a quiet' me' may come as a relief to you. Humor me by laughing out loud *LOL* Yes, I can make fun of myself, too! It is incredibly hard for me sit still...and be quiet. At home, I am mostly quiet, but always moving, doing something. The closest I get to sitting still--while my eyes are opened--is when I'm having my computer time. Otherwise, it's a very hard thing for me to do. Having this study has forced me to carve out time to be still. And for that, I am grateful. I didn't realize how much I missed that until I picked up the habit, again.

Back to the heartbreak. I won't elaborate on the details of my own. It is what it is. I can't fix it, but I know who can. Anytime you've gone through a situation, there is always that person who tries to sympathize with you, make you feel better. But there's one problem: they haven't experienced the same hurt. They try, but the words they utter don't help, and they cannot truly understand what you've been through. How sweet it is when you find a friend who does know what it's like to go through this loss or that. Because they've been there, too.

My consolation in experiencing multiple heartbreaks, in my life, is that it may be used to cultivate a compassion for others like myself. And when I feel that there is no one who understands what I'm going through, I am aware that this is an opportunity to fellowship in the sufferings of the One who has experienced every hurt and rejection known to humanity. It sounds far-fetched, but just maybe--I might get to know God better through these difficult times. He is also the one who binds up the broken-hearted--bandaging the hurt, until it has the time it needs, to heal(Isaiah 61:1-3). How great it is that we can have someone who not only understands our hurts, but heals them, as well.

"Since ancient times, no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no one has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him." (Isaiah 64:4)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

No Expiration Date

Here we are, fresh into a new year! My tree is already taken down, ornaments gently put away for another 11 months. Looking back(over the last 6 weeks),Christmas is a special time of year. Once we get past eating our turkey and giving thanks, then I'm onto the decorating, with holiday CD's, playing in the background. The buzz of the music and glow of the lights, puts me in good spirits.

I enjoy every bit of this time of year. But a few days ago, I decided that I couldn't stand looking at those red stockings another minute: it all had to go. I normally wait until after New Year's Day, but since last Thursday was so rainy, I was home all day and thought, what the heck: might as well get a jump on it. It felt so good to have my living room back...well, almost. What I really did was make more room for all the new toys the kids have been playing with. They like them so much that they never get put away at the days' end.

As I was putting all the stuff away, it occurred to me why tradition is celebrated for a short time: it has limited shelf life. Kind of like that box from the store with a date stamped on the top: best if used by...the end of the year. I love Christmas and every thing it stands for. Yes, even Santa, and stockings hung adds a little sweetness to the mix. But in the aftermath of wrapping paper, and boxes that I can't throw away(because my son thinks they make good sheds for his tractors), I realize--once again--that all of this is temporary.

Maybe I'm one of those people who need the contrast of routine vs. celebration, to fully embrace what it means. How boring would life be if we never took a break from the dailies, and celebrated the reason we have life, in the first place? And yet, if we left our tree up all year long, it would cease to be special, lose its sparkle, and annoy me. Oh, but leaving outdoor lights up, through winter, is ok in Minnesota...if it isn't, then I'm one of those houses that will annoy drivers, passing by.

While we may grow tired of the holiday scene, it serves to remind us of what we have access to, every day of the year. It reminds us of the temporary nature of this earth, and the eternal satisfaction that comes with knowing the One who came to give us life. He is the only presence that has no expiration date. He always has been and always will be. He is the Everlasting One. And He is always more than enough. I cannot comprehend the nature of God, how He can be 3 persons, and yet one. But I've decided to get up, each day, and trust Him. No matter what comes, or how miserably I might fail, He is still God...and He is still here, every single day.

On the lighter side, Happy New Year, 2011! Isn't it great that we get to start a new length of time, putting a calendar in place, for all that will come? We don't know what the days ahead will bring, but I like that we are always changing, and co-authoring new chapters in our stories. Enjoy the year ahead, and make it a good one, one day at a time.