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“Warning! It’s Monday. Pity Party Ahead

And then comes the morning, yesterday’s sorrows behind? Maybe, maybe not.
I thought my faith would grow stronger and it would be easier in old age with less needs, children grown, more wisdom. Well, it ain’t necessarily so. Many days it’s a struggle to just stay physically functional. Wisdom seems to have only come about seeing how I screwed up in the past. Too soon old, too late smart sums it up. Grown children have troubles I can’t fix and that I worry that I caused somehow. I have more dead friends than alive ones and the ones I still have are also struggling. I find myself facing the probability of living alone for the first time in my seventy-nine years of life. I love my grandchildren more than life itself, but have no say about what happens to them. And physically can’t do things for and with them like I used to enjoy so much. And people, that I have grown to love, leave and don’t look back. And while I know these are necessary losses and part of my journey with God, on the days when I can’t see His footprints, it’s a struggle to stay emotionally functional. I quit crying some seventeen or eighteen years ago, when dealing with heartbreak over grandchildren born facing incredibly hard problems, because I thought if I ever let myself cry, I’d never stop. I was right. I’ve cried so much lately, I should be dehydrated.
I never was very good at persevering through things. I usually was good at finding a way around or out of them. About thirty years ago, I felt that God was challenging me by giving me a new name, “Perseverance.” I did realize even then, that this wasn’t necessarily good news about my future years. But, I have learned with grace, to persevere. I have even learned to laugh while gritting my teeth. (Not easy on any level 🙂 ) But sometimes, I just don’t want to. Today is one of those times
But, I will. I will grit my teeth, hang on with my fingernails, and be thankful for all the beauty, love, and joy God has given me in my life. And with Her grace, I will dig for that damn pony in all this manure. 🙂

 Addendum added four hours later:

OKay, in an attempt to look on the brighter side of things today: Getting into pain from vacuuming means I can only manage one room’s floor before sitting down a while to get out of pain. This is good not only because a rest does get me out of pain, it also gives me a time out to go on-line.

And in my time spent today preparing for my women’s scripture class tomorrow, I read the funny little story about Jesus needing two tries to heal the blind man, because after Jesus tried once by putting saliva on his eyes, the man still couldn’t see other people as being like himself. It helps to know that people who don’t have natural empathy for others, may eventually be healed and acquire it. But, I haven’t figured out the significance  of using saliva yet!  Unless it means that spitting in someone’s eye doesn’t do much good. 🙂

So, this Monday has had goodies to balance the baddies. Thanks be to God!!!

Joy

The most infallible sign of the presence of God is joy.  Joy is not pleasure or excitement or even happiness. True joy fills us so full that somehow we must let it overflow or we feel that we would burst.

Sorrow stretches our capacity for joy. True sorrow is not sadness or discouragement or even depression. It is heartbreak.

We expend much energy avoiding heart break by choosing sadness or depression and we settle for pleasure or excitement in place of costly joy.

Joy comes from the deepest part of us where God resides. The path there is through fearful darkness, but once you have found it, perfect Love casts out fear and you know it’s safe to return

Never Wanted to Go to Heaven

I never really wanted to go to heaven; just wanted to make sure I avoided going to hell, if there was one.  The problem was that my personality likes diversity and change.  I just couldn’t imagine any kind of heaven I would enjoy for eternity.  (Eternity sounds like a very very long time.)

After a conversion from agnosticism complete with an experience of the unlimited, no conditions love expressed in Jesus, I felt pretty sure there was a heaven that would work for everyone, even me.  But I still couldn’t imagine it.

Some years into my spiritual journey I had an experience of such intense and enormous joy, that from then on I was much more excited about going to heaven and not so concerned with the details.

My brother and I were traveling together and the experience was so overwhelming that we each simultaneously asked God to stop it for fear we would actually explode.  I won’t go into much detail, because I think these experiences come about differently for everyone.  We both experienced a moment of great clarity in which we felt, saw, heard  and were a part of a crowd around Jesus singing praise in the presence of God.  After sharing with one another, we decided that what we had each experienced was very similar, but also realized that there was no way to measure or compare.  We both experienced as much joy as we were each able to bear at that point in our lives. So, whether it was an ocean of joy or a cup of joy simply didn’t matter.

Over the forty plus years since then, I have come to believe that the capacity for experiencing joy and the capacity for accepting suffering are linked. I don’t know if there is a cause and effect relationship or just some sort of spiritual law of balance.  My instinct says that joy is the grace that gives us the freedom to accept heart break without dulling the pain through anger or depression or an addiction (even one to doing good or working constantly.)  But my experience also has been that in accepting the painful darkness of sorrow, I find the peace that passes understanding. And that peace is quiet joy.

As the psalm says, “But then comes the morning, yesterdays sorrows behind.”

He Is Our God and We Are His People: Let Us Come Together in Cyberspace to Give God Thanks and Praise

Wherever we lift our hearts to God together is church. He is our God and we are His people. He has called us to this moment as an oasis of grace. It can be a special time when we come to Him with open hungry hearts.
He calls us in many ways: Through the beauty of His creation, through the laughter of children, the kindness of strangers, the tenderness of those who love us, our memories of many moments of grace.
He even calls us through nature’s terrible destructive power, that reminds us how fragile and helpless we really are, like falling leaves swirling in the wind.
But thanks to Jesus Christ, we know that the smallest one of us has infinite value and is held in the palm of God’s hand.
And thanks to Jesus, we also know that even when we, His people, still sin, there is forgiveness.
And that when we experience suffering and even heartbreak, there is grace.
Thanks to Jesus Christ we know that death is just a doorway to eternal life.
And there is no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.
Let us join together wherever we are to give God thanksgiving and praise.

Suffering and Joy: Two Sides of the Same Coin

If we are open to the grace to embrace our suffering, it stretches our capacity for joy.  Suffering and Joy really are two sides of the same coin.

Whatever we experience contains the potential grace for our transformation.

The spiritual life is a process. We may be chosen, but we are not finished.

If it’s happening in this life, it’s temporary.

If we caused suffering, as soon as we are sorry, we have forgiveness, and grace and good can come from it.

When we suffer, we are not alone. Jesus has been there, suffered that, and now we are his tee shirt. Whatever is done to us is being done to Him.

Passion,death, resurrection should be one word. They are all part of one process. We experience many deaths and resurrections in our lives.

There is good somewhere in each experience, even if we cannot see it until we have eternity’s perspective.

There is no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.