I have had this phrase running through my mind for days, "Lord be my heart, that I may be Your hands." I'm not sure if it's a prayer (it should be) or the beginning of a poem (it could be) or even the inspiration for a blog post (but I doubt it.) But whatever it's eventual purpose, it keeps coming to my mind over and over again. I think a great song could be written from it. I wish I was musically inclined. I have a lot of poetry I've written that could be great song lyrics, and even a few lyrics I have written, but I have no melodies.
We signed our loan papers yesterday, finally. And the whole process seems like it must be God. I had a specific amount in mind and I was not willing to try to refi unless we could save a certain amount each month. I tried for months to find a way to refinance and every door was shut. Then one day I was at the bank where our mortgage was to open an account for the kids' school money. The banker brought up refinancing (I had put the whole idea aside) and before I knew it I was talking to a loan specialist and he was talking about saving the amount I was looking for. It was hard because I had to spend money to do it and was nervous, but felt like maybe it was God since it came to me with my exact desires. We entered into the process, locked a great rate, then began the very slow steps toward refinancing. When we had to get our appraisal we had to hit a specific number to qualify and we not only hit the number but were $8,000 over it. I kept thinking about how 8 is the number of grace. When you read the appraisal it makes no sense. We were given "good" and "average" ratings all the way through the itemized portions of the appraisal, and then for the overall assessment we were rated "above average." It said specifically "no visible defects," and I felt it was because I had prayed the assessor would be blinded to our cement issues, and clearly he was. Last week we hit the final stretch in the process, Friday I found out that our new payment was not only going to be what I specifically prayed for in savings, but exactly $50 more in savings every month. The only glitch was our closing costs, they were more than I had hoped for, but also $500 less than the house payment we won't have to make in September. Money what it is I was hoping for no payment, and we don't have it "free" but have it in the kids school account, so that's where we are taking it from.
I have no peace, even though everything seems to be falling in place. Even though it seems like it has come together in a "God" way, I'm still anxious. This morning I was feeling like something was cracking inside. The anxiety attacks keep creeping back up, though thankfully the waking up with a pit in my stomach has passed.
I have suffered with depression in my past, mild but definitive. Interestingly I didn't recognize it at the time until it was pointed out to me. It was a very difficult season, I was removed from ministry and put under a sort of "watch" for a season. It was hard. I had to learn how to just "be" rather than being so focused on "doing." It's something I still struggle with at times. But now when the signs of depression creep in, I have a better sense of them. I am not any better about being able to stop them from coming, but it does help me get focused on fighting them off sooner.
The other day when I was feeling really overwhelmed by challenges and circumstances a good friend told me she thought I needed a good cry. It's hard for me to understand the concept. In my mind crying isn't ever good, and yet part of me thinks she's probably right, but sometimes when I think about it, it makes me afraid. If I started, I might never stop.
I sincerely do hate to cry, I hate the way I look, I hate the way it makes me feel, I hate the sense of the aftermath. And yet tears are precious, the bible says so, God keeps them all in a bottle. I wonder if my friend is right, and I have moments where the sigh comes, and it feels like I could let the dam down and let the tears flow, but I stop myself. I find it easier to cry about things that are not true, like sappy dog movies or romantic TV trysts than to let the emotions of real life overwhelm me.
Sometimes when I think about the things of God, my brain actually starts to hurt. When I ponder things like eternity and God's love, my little mind cannot comprehend it. And if I'm tired, it's even harder. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the questions like, "where did God come from?" It will hit me in a moment and it's like an earthquake in the foundation of my faith, but just like a real California earthquake, usually before I am fully aware it's even happening, it's over. Because just as soon as my brain is overwhelmed by the questions, my experience reminds me of the truth.
I think about the God who promised me 10 years before she came about the daughter I would have. I think about how with each child, I knew who was coming before they arrived. I think about the God who held me when I was fighting through the healing process of my abortion. I think about the God who told Neal and I to fight for our son, and then strengthened us and led us through the battle. I think about the God who's presence was powerful when I feared for the life of my daughter, repeatedly,
I think about God's word, and how he has proved it true in my life over and over again. I think about the frame around my license plate that says, "God always keeps His promises," and remember all the times He's proven that truth in my life.
And yet still, emotions rise, and I struggle. I wonder sometimes if when I suffer anxiety if it comes from within or from outside myself. And I wonder which is harder to battle.
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on You..." (Isaiah 26:3) My mind... not my emotions.
What is the balance? I consider myself more of a thinker than a feeler. Is that why feeling is so overwhelming for me? It's not my gift or inclination. I wonder, do feelers get overwhelmed by their thoughts? Like I wish I had a switch for my emotions, do they wish they had a switch for their minds? Probably, because in honesty, I guess I wish I had a switch for both.
Late night ramblings... would I have been better off to head to bed? Will you all think me ridiculous? Crazy? Self-serving? Or will something in my very real struggle touch a heart? Help someone feel less alone? Testify that even people of faith, even great faith, have real doubts, fears and concerns?
Great faith? Yes, I consider myself to be a woman of great faith. Because no matter how many times my fears and doubts rise, or my emotions threaten to overwhelm, I come back around full circle to that testimony of my life put upon my licence plate frame, "God always keeps His promises." His Word is true, He has proven that and Himself to be trustworthy to me...
...everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world...
(1 John 5:4)
...God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.
...He makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall...
I will give you the treasures of darkness...
For the word of the LORD is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.
My heart and mind may struggle, my words and thoughts may ramble, but my foundation remains secure.