Heart of Esther

"And who knows but that you have come to this position for such a time as this?" –Esther 4:14

life all around me November 29, 2011

Another dark day, I think.

Sometimes its hard to hear of all the life going on around us right now. Our lives have stopped. Don’t you know we can’t go on as always, as if nothing every happened??

It’s these days that its hard for the day to start before it has begun.  The tasks of the day ahead seem insurmountable. I feel listless and tired. I’m sad and heavy-hearted. It’s as if my strength is gone.

And, yet, I know that checking out of life and not being thankful for what He has so graciously given me is what the enemy wants. Sometimes its as if He’s asking in His quiet way “will you still serve Me when everything goes wrong?”

And so on I go-sometimes in a numb kind of way, going through the motions or choking back the tears that too easily come.  

“There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.
They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are messengers of overwhelming grief….and unspeakable love.”
Washington Irving

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ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER… November 23, 2011

Today, I am despondent.

Some days I feel almost alright, some days horrible, and everything in between.  Even at night, I often wake in anxiousness and sadness…

There are days like today when I am so heavyhearted its difficult to function in everyday tasks.  But I must.  There are chores to be done and other children to love.

I’m trudging on.  I want to close the blinds crawl in bed and exit from life for a while.  Even from my own family.  Grief is strange.  Some moments I want to smother the children with love and cuddles which I cannot give Andrew.  Other times, I want to be far away from them because their demands are too much for my soul and my body (I am still so incredibly exhausted and weak) right now.  There are moments now when the tears have dried.  At least, for some of the day.  And when the tears dry up, I feel emptied out.  There’s nothing left to feel at all.  

I guess my feelings are so raw and so tumultuous; the wound so fresh, that the only reprieve is silence from them. Just a breath of not feeling anything.  And then I feel checked out.  Most of the time I cannot make sense of my own heart.  There are so many different feelings and sometimes all at once.  I feel that I’ve hit rock bottom but I have yet to reach upward for The Hand that I know is there waiting for me to grasp.  

Is it because I know I need this process?  Have I pushed Him away and built another wall because of the pain He has allowed me to feel?  I am angry at myself because I think of the million ways its MY fault that God allowed this.  The million ways I have failed.  I know in my head the Truth and that all have fallen short and yet my heart does not feel it.

So I know I must go on.  I must keep going.  I must keep pouring out that which I do not have within me to give.

It seems while He is there to comfort me; there is still silence to my questions.  It brings me some reconciliation to think of Andrew’s peaceful face and perfect little form-fingers, toes, mouth and all-with Jesus.  I know He can somehow give him the love from my heart and tell him it’s from his mommy.  Somehow, knowing that Andrew is being taken care of-that Jesus is holding him instead of me-is okay.  Even though I don’t know why and my heart screams to have him here with me, I have no choice but to take peace in that image in my head.  

I realize there is nothing else to do but make myself get up again today and put one foot in front of the other…

 

RID ME OF MYSELF November 2, 2011

My daily journey, my struggle, is to learn not to despise when things do not work out for me-when I am hurt, or when I am in a desert place.  When life is easy, good, or moving at a busy pace; it’s harder for me to see God in the details.  I love how God is in the details. He loves details!  He shows Himself strong in the small. It’s the little things in my life where I want the big changes. I want to respond His way instead of my own.  For me, each time I’m in the process of an even deeper, more intimate relationship with the Lord, He begins to reorder my life. It seems He is shifting and re-adjusting me and replacing even more of me with Him. He is also so clearly laying before me two choices in my response to happenings in my life: respond His way, or my own. I am learning not to despise the awkward or hard things because I am learning to see God in them, allowing Him to grow me.

This week has been a real challenge for me, but He is showing me He is teaching me through hard things. I don’t feel adequate. I feel helpless. I feel I am not good enough for my children, cannot meet my own expectations of myself, I’m not reaching out to others enough, not spending enough time in His Word…

In these moments, I find this is where I often grow the most.  Instead of feeling sorry or bad for myself because I lack so much, I am surrendering to Him who can do immeasurably more than I ask or think. I am totally committed to doing things HIS way. My prayer is that my heart would remain teachable through these struggles. That He would use them to show me how utterly inadequate and hopeless I am without Him!  If His Word says He uses the low things, them make me low.  If he uses the despised things, make me despised.  If he uses foolish things, then I shamelessly humble myself before Him!  I desire to live my life in full surrender of what He wants to do in it and with it.

May Romans 12: 9-21 remain on my heart:  clinging to what is good, honoring others above myself. Never lacking in zeal. Being joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Blessing those who persecute me. As much as it depends on me, living at peace with everyone. Not taking revenge, but leaving judgment and revenge to the Lord who takes care of me. He is my Defender! I will not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good!

I don’t rejoice because of the struggle or because of my failures, but I rejoice that I can grow in the struggle.  That somehow in my failure, He is able to show his strength!  I want the hard things to remind me that I must never lose my zeal, or my dependence on Him. When I am in full surrender, I realize this: if I’m being challenged, it’s because I need to be!!  May my heart and will remain always bendable before Him.  May I allow Him to do His work in me.

LEAD ME TO THE CROSS

 

CHEERIOS MADE ME LOOSE IT November 1, 2011

Do you ever have those days where just ONE more thing will send you over the edge??  Yeah.  That was me the other day.  It was just those little things that added up all day.  It started out by being woken up early (4am early) by a little one that is learning to live (and sleep) without a pacifier.  With a nursing baby, my sleep is interrupted as it is.  Still, I woke up looking forward to a little shopping trip without any children-excited to have some space and thoughts to myself (which is rare) for a couple of hours.  You have to understand, I am NEVER w/o my children.  Honestly, I don’t crave time away or frequent breaks.  When money is tight, we have date night at home after the kiddos are in bed.  My husband works long hours and we don’t have any family nearby.  We are also extremely careful about who we allow our children to be watched by.  SO, I do not get time alone (you know what I mean, Mommy’s-not even in the BATHROOM), mkay?? 

Anyway, myschedule was already too packed this week and I was stressed.  Not to mention not feeling well.  It was little things all day like my toddler unrolling an entire roll of bath tissue and proceeding to tear it up in little shreds and spread it all over the house.  Yes, I was getting more and more anxious for my outing ALONE!   I wish I could say something major happened to make me lose my cool and you could relate, but it was something so small and silly…

Ready to walk out the door, I’m running around like a mad lady sprucing up the house (no easy task after a long home schooling day and sports after) so we don’t scare away the babysitter and I get the call that I would NOT have childcare after all and that if I wanted to get a few things I had planned to get done, I had to bring all the children with me.  Sigh.  To be honest, I usually don’t mind taking all the kiddos with me and really and truly enjoy their company.  But this had been a particularly rough week.  I was tired.  I needed a break.  I had even fallen asleep the night before imagining myself with my coffee in hand, being able to casually rifle through a favorite store before getting my “have to have’s” at my not so favorite store.  I literally at that moment felt as if my day had been ruined.

I wish I could say it was something major that put me over the edge.  It really wasn’t that big of a deal.  My toddler spilled a bowl of Cheerios (dry-thank goodness) on my sofa.  IN my sofa.  And crushed them in between my cushions.  Yeah.   And I lost it. Let me reassure you, ladies, it wasn’t pretty. 

Still cleaning up crushed up Cheerios and beginning to feel ashamed for loosing it, I kept praying, and I realized that my day was probably going so awfully because of my attitude and because, in my head, I had planned for things to go my way that day. 

Then, in His soft and gentle way, I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me and gently ask how often do we this in our spiritual walk?  I began to evaluate my heart.  It’s not that I had a bad day.  It went much deeper than that.  How often do we say a prayer or expect God to do something, or even put limitations on Him as to how we allow him to work in our hearts; and then become frustrated or even bitterly disappointed when things are not as we think they should be?  It’s not just our daily happenings we get easily upset and frustrated over, but major things like money, relationships, even death of a loved one.  Often, we even let a part of our hearts shut down to Him because we cannot understand why things aren’t going our way.

The only way to make it through is to be utterly abandoned to myself and completely open to what His desire is for me…even in the small things.  If I’m not, do I really trust Him?  Do I really believe He is a loving God who wants good things for me?  Do I know who my enemy is? (Hint:  the Word says that satan is the one who comes to kill, steal, and destroy). 

I cannot always control what happens to me, but I can choose my response to them, and ultimately, my response to HIM!  After all, life big or small, is lived daily.  Especially as mothers and wives.  That’s why the Word says in Mathew to not even worry about tomorrow and to “Be careful, then, how you live-not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”  Ephesians 5:15-16. 

“Now listen, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

And, when Paul writes in Philippians 4:12-13 “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength!”

So, if I can learn to lean on the One who gives me strength and respond the way I know He would have me to respond first, if I can somehow squash this ME that gets in the way of what He is doing in my life (even if its responding well to spilled Cheerios!) then I can be refined and somehow reach toward the prize…

 

 
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