Today is my birthday.
Last night was Prayer Meeting at church. I couldn’t get my mind off family problems.
I sniffled through the prayers and wiped away tears quickly before anyone raised their head from praying to catch me crying. After the service I scurried to the bathroom to fix my make up.
God forbid anyone see me cry in church and think I have spiritual problem. Why do we do this? Or am I the only one? I have a loving church family. Why don’t I reach out when I need them? Sometimes the loving laughter and hugs bring me pain becasue it reminds me my family is no longer whole.
Once I got home from church I was still weepy. I’m doing a ThreeLac Yeast Cleanse so I blamed my mood swings on the “die off” form the candida cleanse.
I got a much need hug, pat, and encouraging words from hubby and went off to bed to pray.
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep or NOT
I brought each of my children to the Lord in prayer, as I do every day and every night. The more I prayed the more I cried. The “If onlys” came in to haunt me.
If only I listened more, if only I worked less, if only I read the Bible to them more, if only I was more demanding, if only I didn’t lose my temper, if only I was more loving, If only I said yes more, if only I said no more, if only I showed more grace…If only…if only…No one else family is this dysfunctional. I’m a failure as a mother.
Then the “whys?” came. Why us? Why my family? Haven’t I been through enough? Isn’t it someone else turn? Why do all other church families seem so intact and happy when mine is so broken?
I finally stopped fighting sleep and switched on the computer. I worked on a lesson on the Twelve Disciples for Children’s Camp this weekend. Studying is the ultimate peaceful place to be for me. It usually knocks out any form of depression. But not this time.
I crawled back into bed after midnight and realized I am now 54 years old. Wow. I knew my birthday was coming but I never thought about the number 54 until yesterday. It is a big number. Still no sleep. Just more silent tears.
To get to my birthday present from God, I have to back up a week. (Nonbelievers will have a hard time with this but I know, that I know, this was divinely orchestrated by God. He does this sort of thing all the time for me.)
Listening to Little Prompts
Last week, I was skimming my bookshelves and the book “A New Kind of Normal“ caught my eye. My book mark was still on the first chapter. I made a mental note to get back to this book.
A few days ago I read the top Christian book best sellers. I even sent out a Tweet on Twitter. “A New Kind of Normal” was on the list, another prompt I wanted to get back to that book.
A few days later the book caught my eye again, this time I placed the book on my nightstand as a reminder to get back to it.
So last night when sleep efforts failed for the third time I grabbed the book “A New Kind of Normal” off my nightstand.
God knew JUST what I needed.
I spent the next two hours getting to know Carol Kent’s story. I needed to get to know another mother going through deep disappointment and grieving. I cried with Carol and other broken families stories and with Mary, the mother of Jesus, empathizing with those emotions she was feeling as she relinquished her son to God.
The book inspired me to examine my pain, disappointment and hurt through the lens of God’s eternal perspective. To view despair, doubt, suffering, disappointment, sorrow, loss and hopelessness as life-derailing roadblocks then replace each with trust, perseverance, gratitude, vulnerability, relinquishment, forgiveness and purposeful action.
I didn’t feel alone anymore. I know God has a plan and will work out things for His good (Romans 8:28). I may not see it now but He is working in Carol’s family and in my family. I can rest in Him because He has a special plan.
Jesus said He would give rest to those who were weary and heavy laden. The Christian life is not a life of working but of dwelling in Him. As we dwell we become transformed into His image, being changed by His glory.
Normal isn’t a word that makes sense to Kent, a bestselling author and speaker whose only son murdered his wife’s ex-husband in 1999 to protect his stepdaughters from suspected abuse.
Kent’s latest writing continues this harrowing story of rebuilding life where no “normal” exists; where holidays and Sundays are spent in prison visitation lines, and where pleas for leniency go unheard. Kent and her spouse employ dynamic journal entries and soulful personal stories to recount the ongoing, sometimes debilitating, journey to hold fast to God’s hope despite dismal circumstances. Kent’s inner ache is transparent and her pain raw, yet she delves into trusting God when despair is overwhelming, relief is beyond reach, privacy is no option, and loss overpowers all other emotions. In the midst of the pain—more in spite of it—the Kents choose hope, every day, every hour. This is their message of triumph to all Christians who suffer yet continue to hold fast to God’s promised provision
A New Kind of Normal: Hope-Filled Choices When Life Turns Upside Down begins with the story of that horrible night when Carol and Gene learned their son had been arrested, but it doesn’t end there. In fact, Carol knows what it means to live with an unthinkable circumstance that will never change — and to still make hope-filled choices.
Through the eight chapters in this book, Carol will use their own story, the story of Mary mother of Jesus, and stories of women who have experienced their own “new normal” to share how God has led them to choose life, gratitude, vulnerability, involvement, forgiveness, trust, and action.
Thank you God. I needed that!
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. (1 Jn 3:21-4:1).