This here is a barbed wire fence. Ever feel barbed wire on yer skin? Ouch!
Open is the watchword. Open to whatever God brings my way this year, because I know it’s going to be a doozy! There are so many changes I have to anticipate this year and at times I feel quite raw with this ‘open’-ness attitude. I’m not all like, “Bring it!”, but more like, “Must I? Really?”
Seeing this open-ness as an opportunity for growth, and opportunity for being grateful makes me think. To think, I have to focus. To focus, I must put down whatever I’m doing and spend time alone, free from distraction. Distraction keeps me from thinking about the changes I have to anticipate this year. Thinking about the changes forces me to feel raw, bare, exposed, and then I have to work harder at seeing what I have to be grateful for. See a pattern?
I’m finding that being open leaves me feeling more than usually vulnerable. I believe this can be a good thing. I hate feeling exposed, though. Especially since I feel rather lacking when I open up. I feel like people will see how much I don’t have it together, how I really don’t have the answers. God knows, though. He sifts through the garbage of our lives and knows just what is worth keeping and what never really mattered to begin with.
I recently had a conversation with a pastor I know and respect. He’s not currently my pastor, he’s in a state far from here now, but I appreciate that he has made himself available to me still. My life is not turning out the way I thought it would years ago, when I was young, and as that can be exciting and good, since our expectations rarely equal the reality, my reality sometimes stinks. To wit, I had anticipated being in one marriage for the rest of my life. That is not my reality. Til death do us part was the goal. As a Christian, I took that as being my only option, even when the marriage wasn’t good.
Now, I know I mentioned the conversation I had with the pastor, yet I haven’t even touched on what was said. I’m not gonna air my dirty laundry here, so don’t get excited (sheesh!)! It is amazing how many pastors don’t want to talk about the big “D” in any capacity. Since I knew this Brother-in-Christ had no problem taking the bull by the horns and sharing his knowledge, and therefore, his biblically-based opinion, I broached the subject with him. I laid it all out and gave him the down-lo to see if, in his opinion, I had been in the wrong with what I had done. I am thankful that he let me know he believed I was blameless up to this point. Whew! I was glad for that confirmation. Nothing like getting an affirmation from someone you trust and respect.
See, most people don’t have a problem with divorce. Since fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce these days, what’s the big deal, right? And Christian marriages have the same (or worse, by some calculations) divorce rate as those who do not claim Christianity, no biggy. Personally, I believe the statistics on Christian vs. non-Christian are probably skewed since more and more people are living together and not getting married, then you don’t have a real picture of the actual “break-up” rate of “commited” partnerships (or un-coupling as it appears the new strange word is becoming, thank you Hollywood), but I digress.
To me, divorce is a GREAT big deal. A big NO-NO for Christians. Except under certain, and by certain, I mean rare circumstances. Therefore, the big deal to me is did my circumstances really qualify? And what now, right?
Ok, but that’s not where I’m going at the moment. After our conversation, pastor told me that he would continue praying for me (ongoing circumstances), and that he wanted me to keep him posted on the situation, he then said something that gave me pause. He said, “Remain blameless.”
Yeah. You read that right. Remain blameless. In his opinion, I had been blameless to date, and then he gives me the warning like Jesus gave the adulterous women, essentially, — although adultery has nothing to do with my situation — when he told her to “Go, and sin no more.” Christ said, to put it in my loosely transliterated terms, “You’re clean now, off you go, and ‘Remain blameless.'”
POW! Right in the kisser. You think I haven’t thought of that since? I had routinely questioned my every move, choice, word, deed, action, etc. during my marriage as a matter of course because of the situation I was in. You’d think that would be a wake up call, don’t ya? Yes, indeed. Then I started in with the ultra-microscope examination, because, there are times when you do become slack (we’re warned against this Proverbs 10:4) and told rather to be diligent. The word translated as diligent in the bible is used in 102 verses. That’s more than twice, and since it bears repeating, it’s important.
And blameless? Well, the word translated as blameless is used in 42 verses. I hate that. That’s still a lot.
I’ve been feeling a bit exposed since then. I have examined myself and found myself lacking at times. I see there’s a bit of work to do (Say it with me, “understatement”). When I was no longer a part of a marital relationship, I took the time to sit back and relax, free from the anxieties that had overtaken me during the last months of an intense situation, and that was something that I needed. I know that the recovery process from divorce and all the implications is sometimes long and slow, and it’s like any grieving process with steps to acceptance and moving on, but there comes a point when you do have to examine yourself and, well, move on.
Hence, the barbed wire.
Are we there yet?
I am a danger to myself if I don’t take the time to reflect. I’ve spent a lot of time on auto-pilot, going through the motions of the day, knowing there’s a new life in store for me, but it hasn’t yet become a reality. The divorce process has been slow, to say the least, and it’s not yet final, so, it’s like a horizon is there, but I keep moving, and it doesn’t get any closer. I don’t expect to fall off the edge of the earth, I’m simply looking forward to what is beyond this day. Beyond this chapter. But I keep turning the pages and there’s no end.
So, it leaves me feeling raw. Now I’m raw and self-conscious.
Yet, I do see God’s hand in each turn of events, because this was necessary for me. I needed to know I’d gotten to the place where I can begin to evaluate myself and take responsibility for where I am, and where I need to be.
It’s time to move forward, to step off the edge and see the book as closed, and just accept.
At the beginning of this new year, I have decided to select a word that will be my heart focus for the year. Many things are happening and many more are to come. Changes that I never planned for are opening up new paths to me. Foreign paths to trod and experience. I will be open to them.
I am open to change, to possibility, to the unknown. I will remain open with expectation, with hope, with anticipation of greatness. My life will be open to what is in store even if it means I need to change mid-stream.
One other thing comes to mind. When God spoke with Moses in the wilderness, He asked him what he had in his hand (Exodus 4). In order for God to change what was ordinary in Moses’ hand, he had to throw it down before the Lord. In order to throw it down, he had to open his hand. Being open, then, also means I will let God use what I have to accomplish what needs to happen.
Welcome 2014. I believe you and I will be just fine.
Life. It’s what we do. I’m no different than anyone else in that. However, today is a day unlike any other. I’m beginning something new. Although I live and breathe and eat and sleep like any ordinary jane, I’m going to do so with you. Not WITH you, literally, but with you in the sense that you can see it all here. And certainly not live. This ain’t no reality tv show. It’s what I do day in, day out. Live. I’m a mom. I have dreams. I like pretty things. I like to cook and keep home. I like to hear the laughter of my children. I like to take pictures. I like the smell of rain in the air before it arrives. I like the cycle of the year and seeing the rebirth of all things living in the spring.
I enjoy life. I see it’s beauty in the ordinary. And it makes me grateful.