December 29, 2010

Feeling Better, Finally

I must have slept five hours yesterday afternoon.  I think it really helped because I actually do feel better today.  I think I "sweated" this illness out of me.  I was so sleepy yesterday right after lunch so I laid down on the sofa.  I woke up about 2 hours later and thought I was going to burn up.  I moved from the sofa to the bed, and slept another 2-3 hours.  When I got up, I still felt crummy, but was coughing less, and generally didn't feel that malaise from the morning.  I woke up today without a cough, and seem to be more like my old self.  I am praising God for rescuing me from the throes of this sickness (which has been lingering now for about three weeks).  God is so good to me.

I am glad to be better because I have so many things on tap for this week and next.  I want to try and get some projects started around the house before graduate school begins again.  DJ's school starts on the 18th, and I really want to be there for him.  I am so looking forward to celebrating his college start.  I remember the first day I took him to Kindergarten.  I cried and cried as I left him there.  He did fine, but I was a mess.  I knew that he was so ready for school, but the Lord had not agreed to place him at Indian Bend Elementary school.  He was enrolled at a local Christian School, but when it came time to pay tuition, the money wasn't there for us.  My husband's parents had agreed to pay for his education IF we sent him to Christian school, but when the time came, they decided that they couldn't (or had never agreed to such an arrangement).  It left us enrolled in a pricey school with no means of support.  I took him out of that school and enrolled him in our local Kindergarten without my DH's approval.  I knew that it was wrong to do so, but I felt like I was in a corner and just didn't know of another solution.

Of course, the Lord had another solution and that was to home school him.  I had friends at church who would have helped me get started, but I didn't want to do that, and I felt that this was a better choice.  In hindsight, his time at Indian Bend wasn't bad (it wasn't good either), and when we eventually did home school him, I knew the mistake I had made.  Years later, I am glad I did listen to the Lord and home school him part of his education.  He got a fine education with Charlotte Mason, and the Ambleside Online curriculum.  He graduated early, and now is enrolled in the Honors program at Paradise Valley Community College.  He did so well on his entrance exams that he also received a two-year scholarship to attend for free (I pay for books only).  God is Good, and He prepared and planned this for my son.  I am glad I listened to Him, and now can enjoy the blessing of His Hand.

It is funny how things happen the way that they do.  I wanted my son to attend Christian school, yet we didn't have the financial resources to send him there.  My friends who went there either could afford it themselves or their inlaws or parents paid for the school.  Our local school cost $500 per month (back then), and that was almost our mortgage payment.  We have never made a lot of money, and it never has come in consistently (some months more, some less, and some nothing at all).  We never could enter into a payment program because there was no way to be honorable and say "OK, we can guarantee that we will pay on the 1st or 15th each month."  The money was never ever there for us.

I am now at the point in my life where I am considering these types of arrangements.  I have the money, it is there for me now.  I can do it, if the Lord wants me to do so.  I don't have to live in fear or regret that the money will not be there.  I am also frugal (always have been), and very careful about what I spend money on, so if the Lord directs me to a payment plan, I know the money will be there to honor the agreement.

It is a huge relief for me now to know that I can do this.  Whether I actually do is another thing completely, but the very fact that I can is a huge deal for me.  I can enter into arrangements, I can make payments now.  I am blessed, and for someone who never knew if she would have $2 to spend today or tomorrow, it is so comforting to know that there is money in the bank, money in my account, and money to be used for food, gas or a bill.  God is so good to me.

I never recognized how awful it was to live the way we lived.  I had gotten used to it, and I thought it was normal.  It bothered me greatly in the beginning, and for the first 10-15 years.  I hated it, but felt there was nothing I could do to change my circumstance.  After a while, you just give in to it, accept it as your reality, and live under the oppression of being poor.  The worst part is that you are poor through a choice, not due to the events of life.  There are poor people who are poor because they lack education or opportunity.  Then there are poor people who choose poverty because they don't want to work, or they simply think they have the "in" on some new way, some "hot" opportunity.  This was our choice, believing that money and wealth could be earned without doing the hard work.  We believed those hawkers who said "try this system or method because it worked for me."  We bought dozens of systems, and none of them earned one red cent.  We listened to the gurus who said to trust them and that we could be millionaires and retire young.  It never worked.  After years of listening to the wrong people, people who gave bad and ill-gotten advice, we found ourselves in the midst of poverty, and at a point where we couldn't get ourselves out.

The Lord was gracious to us, and made sure we never lost our home.  Our electricity was turned off, the collectors called, and the gas man was at our door -- but we still lived in our home.  We ate minimally, making the most of $20-30 dollars per week (for a family of three), and always had something to eat.  We gave up extras such as medical needs (never going to the dentist or doctor).  We lived hand-to-mouth, wore clothing bought for us by other people, and relied on other people to fix repairs or provide necessities (mostly my parents, but my husband's helped as well).

Then one day, I woke up.  I woke up out of my slumber and saw the mess my life was in, and I saw what was left of my marriage and my family.  I had been lulled into a deep sleep by living a life whereby there was no way out, no hope for a brighter day.  When I woke up, I realized just how far down we had sunk, and just how hard it would be to overcome the poverty.  I knew I couldn't do it myself, and I knew tha I couldn't continue to rely on family and friends.  I trusted the Lord that day, and He rescued me.  He lifted me up, and set my feet on the solid rock of His Salvation.  He saved me from the circumstances of my life, and He set about to right them, to create new ways, new paths for me to follow.  The way was not easy; in fact, the way was crushingly difficult.  I had to accept the fact that my husband was seeking the affection of another woman, and that he was not interested in keeping our marriage and family in tact.  I had to deal with the emotional pain as well as the psychological scarring that results from a betrayal.  I had to walk through the fire of ordeal after ordeal, and I had to come clean.  I had to be honest with myself and others.  I took a lot of criticism about my honesty, concerns about my brutal truth, and had to listen to well-meaning folks tell me to "stop saying" certain things.  The truth was not pleasant, not nice, and it looked ugly.  It was marking my witness and testimony, and they felt it was marring Christ. 

I saw it differently.  I had lived a lie from the time I married.  I knew it, and I buried the truth back then, and every day after that day.  When I accepted the truth of my own life, it meant that I could no longer live in the lie.  I had to come clean, and that meant 26-28 years of hiding the truth.  My family had no knowledge that I had hidden the truth for so long.  I got really good at covering it up, so they assumed things weren't really as bad as they were.  But, I didn't want to live with any lies anymore.  I wanted the truth, the ugly awful and distasteful truth to come out.  In doing so, I felt liberated and I was made free.  I could start over, not hiding anything, but honestly saying "yes, I did this or that."  There is great freedom when you can live and walk in the truth, even when it is ugly.  You don't have to hide in the shadows, and you don't have to make up stories.  You can just live, and that is what I wanted more than anything.

The Lord honored my truthfulness, even though I ruffled a good many feathers, and upset a lot of people.  My healing took place in an unusual way.  My counselors said that they had never had a client who was able to withstand the truth so well, and not be shattered by it.  I stood there, took my lumps, and accepted what was, and God made a way for me to get through it all.  In less than a year, I was well on my way to recovering my lost identity, and was able to build a new life for myself.  It still hurt, and it took alot of self-discovery time for me to understand patterns, emotions, and choices I had made.  I had to change, and change quickly, and that process was hard for me.  In the end, however, it was truly a complete overhaul of the person I once was.  I think of it this way:  I built a house upon the foundation of the Lord.  I did it with good intention, but the house was never built properly, never erected correctly.  When the storms of life came upon it, it began to crash and fall down.  I fixed it up, propped it back up, but it never stood upright.  When I came to the Lord and asked Him to rescue me, He didn't just fix that house.  No, He tore it down all the way to the foundation, and He started over.  He rebuilt my life, again upon His very Foundation, and in doing so, He erected a home that is strong, able to withstand life's storms, and that can weather through the time.  His house is fine.  His house is good.  And, His house will endure.

I am blessed today to have been given such a chance to start over.  God didn't choose to fix one or two things in my life; no, He chose to fix everything.  In doing so, He made me a new creature in Christ Jesus, and the person I am today in no way reflects the person I was previously.  I am new.  I have been reborn, and I am wholly devoted to Him.  No other God.  No other Lord.  Jesus, only and always -- Jesus.

No comments: