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Priority

August 18, 2018

Priority is a word that a friend brought to my attention recently.

Priority is an important word. It’s a word that we often lump with responsibility. We have to make certain things a priority in order to succeed in life, in our career, in our finances, and more.

But lately I’ve been pondering the meaning of priority in relationship to boundaries with people.

What I have been realizing over the last few years– well decade, let’s be honest– is that there are a lot of people who I have prioritized in my life, but the prioritizing of me has not been reciprocated equally or at all. This could be called a one-sided relationship.

Now, in my experience, it’s easier to discern this with friendship. You invite said person to your house, you text said person, you buy gifts for said person, you email said person. You think you are friends with said person. But then something strange happens. You realize that said person is not doing any of those things for you. Said person is not initiating anything.

At this point, you allow said person to slowly exit your life or you can have a conversation with said person about the friendship and his/her willingness to make you a priority in his/her life as well.

I’ve experienced both: let the relationship fizzle out or work through things. When working through things, it can either work out or it can die a slower death as you try to resuscitate something that was already not really living.

Priority in relationships at work exists as well. And at church. Pretty much anytime you are interacting with people, you have to make decisions about what priority the relationship is to you. This helps you create healthy boundaries with others.

For example, it would be foolish for you to buy a new acquaintance a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses or to spend all of your free time helping him/her with something (of course there are exceptions). However, you might buy your spouse a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses and there would be nothing weird about that.

So, let’s not look at friends anymore. Let’s take a look at family.

A healthy, functioning family will make family members a priority in their life– be it time, finances, energy, etcetera. It’s perfectly normal for a healthy family to text often, call often, visit each other often, exchange gifts, share vulnerable things with each other, and more.

But let’s look at an unhealthy, dysfunctional family. There are so many different types of unhealthy families out there, so for the sake of simplicity, I’m going to refer to a family where most members are self-centered and selfish (that can fit a lot of family examples out there).

It might look like this: parents never call or visit their children, silence in every way imaginable, a sibling never gives the other sibling a gift, there is little to no communication between family members, a family member might do something hurtful to another family member but is not able to recognize that the behavior was hurtful, no one takes true interest in others’ lives, when there is communication or visiting only one family member shares about their life while never asking about the other person, when someone is in the hospital they do not tell the family, family members withhold encouragement and compliments, family members talk about themselves and boast often, family members might make another feel like a burden (ie. parents complaining about having to drive to a child’s graduation), a family member expressing hurt and desire for change but finding unwillingness on the other end, family members do not share their lives openly, family members just talk at you but real connection is not happening, family members are not vulnerable, family relationships are shallow, and so on.

Priority.

How can you say you are making someone a priority if you never: call, visit, listen sincerely to the other person, ask questions, text, email, truly ask how that person is doing, give gifts, acknowledge important events or holidays, consider the other when making decisions, consider how the other person is feeling, show love, give encouragement and compliments, and more.

You can’t. You absolutely are NOT making someone a priority if normal relational interactions are not happening.

That leaves me to ask, should someone who IS doing those things in the dysfunctional family continue doing so? After all, family should be a priority.

And this is what I have been pondering for a few years now.

My conclusion– even though it might hurt– NO.

At some point, healthy boundaries have to be drawn in the relationship. It’s not about unforgiveness. It’s not about wishing ill of the other person(s). And it’s certainly not unloving. It is actually a loving thing to do. Boundaries communicate to others and to yourself. Boundaries might serve as a consequence. Boundaries can be temporary. Boundaries can be strong and soft.

Relationships are two-way. Period.

One-way relationships need to end. Boundaries need to be put in place.

It is no longer a healthy relationship if it is one-sided (one person doing all the heavy-lifting so-to-speak in the relationship).

Sometimes in order to heal or to stay healthy you have to put a strong boundary in place with family members who simply do not know how to love well. It is not easy to do. It is painful at times because you hope and pray that one day the relationship can be restored and healthy.

You cannot fix the relationship. Why? Because relationship is two-way and you cannot control the other person. Both parties must be willing to make each other a priority.

When the level of priority is off balance or is non-existent for one person then the relationship will not be healthy.

You have the option of continuing in these dysfunctional, unhealthy, life-sucking relationships. And often, we do stay in them for a long time. And some times we never put boundaries in place. But in order to stop being hurt over and over and over and over again by selfish actions of certain people, it is healthier to put some boundaries in place.

This could look a variety of ways: limiting how much you give in the relationship; discontinuing all contact altogether; lowering the level of priority that the person is in your life; changing your perspective and mindset of how you think about that person (the weight you give them in your life, emotions…) etc.

When we make healthy boundaries with those who continually hurt us, we allow space for healing to happen. We allow space for other life-giving relationships to come into our lives. We allow ourselves to be loved and we show ourselves the dignity that we deserve.

No one deserves to be treated in an unloving manner over and over and over and over again.

Perhaps one day, the person whom you drew a line with will begin to take steps to make you a priority in his/her life. At that point, you can reconsider the line you drew. But until then, that boundary serves an important purpose to help you stay healthy and protect you from getting hurt over and over and over again when you give and give and give but it is not reciprocated.

Boundaries are like gates. They are not fences. They determine what you allow in and out of your life.

So, priority. It has so much to do with how one can set healthy boundaries. 

Priority and boundaries. They go together more than I knew. 

But now I know. And now I can make necessary changes. 

Let the pruning and healing begin. 

And perhaps one day, the mending of relationships will come. But for now, it is time to make my health a priority. 

Forced Rest

February 6, 2017

This past week I sprained my back. It was stupid. I sat down to conference with a student and stood up when we were finished.

Pain. Yup, definitely pain.

Over the course of two hours my back continued to get more and more stiff and the pain intensified. In fact, I was starting to hunch like an old lady because standing straight was too painful. I could feel a knot on my lower spine where it was hurt.

With permission, I left work early and headed to doctor’s the next day. By day two, I could not walk without assistance. I needed something to lean on or someone to help me along the way. When we arrived at the hospital we most certainly got a wheel chair.

Before the diagnosis, I had a few crying spells in fear that maybe I had a ruptured disc, a herniated disc or God forbid, Spondylolisthesis (a disease that is in my family). Thankfully, I only sprained my back in the same place that I had previously been injured.

By the doctor’s orders I was to have meds and two weeks bed rest. So, here I’ve been for a week and a half.

The responsible side of me has been dying inside. What about work? What about my responsibilities? What about all the meetings I had set up with people? What about…

“Rest.” I heard HIM whisper and interrupt my melancholic rant.

Rest?

“Yes, rest.”

Okay.

So, that is what I have been doing. Resting. Working only when I need to (sub plans, etc.). Otherwise, I’ve been resting. Journaling. Reading. Catching up on politics and social media. Sleeping. Praying. Laying in bed.

And, it’s been surprisingly fulfilling. I can’t remember the last time that I have stopped. I mean truly stopped for an extended period of time. Taken time to do nothing. Not travel. Not visit family. Not do church stuff. Not do work. Not do chores around the house. Just stop. Rest.

Because I was forced to rest, I had no choice. I’ve tried to fight it. I’ve tried to speed up my healing.

I did not choose this. But in some strange way, despite the incredible pain and huge inconvenience, this has been a gift in disguise.

I’ve been able to reflect, dream, remember other passions I have, finish our wedding album (finally!!!), and take time to myself.

“Create. Renew your creativity.”

His whisper is usually faint. One must be listening to hear. But in the silence of my room, it was clear. As I laid there, subject to bed rest, I knew that He was speaking to me. He wants to lead me into a more creative season that will require some steps of faith.

I have been in a season of renewing my love for the arts and now it is more than clear. It’s time to take steps of faith. The Lord is with me in it.

I will be thankful when my back is healed and well. I will enjoy being able to go back to work and move around the house effortlessly. Maybe go into a cleaning frenzy like I do now and then.

But, for right now, I’m savoring this gift. I’m fighting cabin fever and finding the joy in forced rest. 

He is renewing my creativity.

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MY CREATIVE SPACE

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Morning Hugs

January 22, 2017

The busyness of the day stole my attention.

Tasks to do.

Attendance to take.

As I made my way to set out their morning work, I almost missed the quiet question hovering in my midst, waiting for a reply, 

“No morning hugs today?”

 His shoulders shrugged as he looked directly at me, standing with anticipation for my embrace.

In the haste of my rushed and responsible adult morning, I had forgotten a very important routine: our morning hugs.

I quickly set down the papers and wrapped my arms tightly around each precious child as they entered our room– all the while secretly thanking them for reminding me of what is valuable and of high priority.

Love. Relationship. Presence.

Lord, so often I forget that you, too, stand waiting with the quiet question, “No morning hugs today? “

May I not forget to feel your embrace each day. May I leap into your arms without reservation.

shasta_gram

September 15, 2016

For our one year anniversary, Jason and I decided to get a dog. It was not a spur of the moment decision. Don’t be silly…neither of us are spontaneous enough to do that.

I have wanted another dog since forever ago. My first dog was Princess. She was a cocapoo. I loved her so much and was heartbroken when she passed. It took years for me to feel ready enough to love another dog again.

Jason never owned a dog, so he was entering new territory. But very excited.

It all started when we dog-sat for some coworkers last Spring Break. Well, really, it started long ago when we were dating and I wanted to make sure that Jason was open to having pets in the future. Kind of like that movie, “Must Love Dogs.” He seemed open enough, so I just took it as a green light. =) I’m glad I did.

We dog-sat Henley. Henley was the most well-behaved dog, who loves people, and does not bark. Did I mention, does not bark? I was intrigued. I decided to ask our friends about their dog and where they got her.

It turned out that they bought Henley from a breeder in Hong Kong. We decided to research and learn more about this breed. We fell in love with the Cavalier King Charles. Due to the fact that this breed has many health issues, we decided that going through a reputable breeder would be wise. So, we contacted the same breeder our friends had gone through.

One thing led to another and long story short: we now have the cutest little cavalier.

We decided to name her Shasta for a few reasons:

  1. I lived in California for a while and fell in love with Shasta Mountain.
  2. Shasta means “teacher” in a Native American language. (we are teachers overseas^^)
  3. Shasta is one of the character’s names in the Chronicles of Narnia (which we are currently reading).

Shasta has been such a delight to have. She is helping us learn how to work together as a married couple to train, care for, and love. She is our practice child. 😉

Follow us @ shasta_gram

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My Journey: Overcoming C.Diff. & Fear

May 7, 2016

**Please know that I will be very open and vulnerable in this post. If you are not keen to reading about sickness and things that surround it, then please do yourself a favor and don’t read this.

**I am writing this in part to face my fear and let it be completely cut off.

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March 2015

Jason and I got engaged! Woohoo!!!

Due to some states’ law for STD testing as a pre-requisite to getting your marriage license, we decided to get tested (though we were both confident due to our abstinence thanks to the saving grace of God). (and we’re STD free in case you’re wondering now. I say that to avoid judging eyes^^)

Well, my test results came back telling me to come in for medicine for a bladder infection. That’s funny, I didn’t really have symptoms for a bladder infection. So, I went in and trusted the judgment of the doctor and the test results. Who wants a bladder infection? No one.

And that’s when it all started. With a round of antibiotics to clear-up a bladder infection. (An infection I would later realize I never had in the first place… faulty testing by the doctor. Don’t you love it when that happens?)

The “infection” didn’t go away and for some reason I started feeling like I had an infection.

Another round of antibiotics. That’s when the diarrhea started and the symptoms of a bladder infection really set in… burning, urge to pee every five minutes.

April 2015

Another round of antibiotics. Diarrhea continued. I assumed it was just normal from the antibiotics.

I later researched for myself and discovered that the particular antibiotic I was taking had a side effect that results in bladder infection symptoms (burning, urgency to pee). I sigh, knowing things would have been different had I not taken the doctor’s advice.

To be sure, he gave me another round of antibiotics. (Okay, this is getting ridiculous. And why I trusted the doctor? Oh right, because who else am I supposed to go to for professional, medical advice?)

At this point, I was beginning to be very concerned. I had gone to the regular physician at least four times. He referred me to a Urologist. I had to have a urine sample taken by a catheter. If you’ve ever had that done to you, you might know how scary it is!

I was researching and learning about bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics. I tried talking to the doctor about it and he refused to listen. By my fourth visit he agreed to test for antibiotic resistance. Really? It took that long? Results proved it was not resistant. Finally, some good news. But, why was I still having symptoms? (Oh, right, it was from the antibiotics… but I didn’t know that at the time!)

Meanwhile, the diarrhea persisted.

I was reaching out to friends I knew who did natural remedies. I was reading up on all sorts of stuff.

At first subtle and then not so subtle, I had allowed fear to enter.

I have never been the fearful type. Pretty fearless actually. It comes with an adventurous spirit. Maybe I’ve struggled with fear of man. But that is an entirely different kind of fear than what I was dealing with now.

It started out as small, fleeting thoughts. Then it ended up in full blown-out anxiety attacks. Fear of death. (regardless of believing in an afterlife, I did not want to die of a bacterial infection). Fear that I had an antibiotic resistant bacteria causing an infection. Fear that I’d always have pain. Lots of fear. (This is the downward spiral of a melancholy temperament at it’s worst.)

Not only was fear subtly entering my life, but so was something so terrible I could not imagine.

 

May 2015

At this point, I was researching a lot. I did not know what was wrong. By now, I had successfully caused bacterial imbalance in all parts of my body from the antibiotics. I was living in some kind of nightmare.

Close to the end of the month, while preparing for Kindergarten Graduation, in one of my botch jobs to use self-remedies, I took a probiotic. Bad. Idea.

Over the course of a few days my stomach became extremely bloated. I came down with a swollen lymph node on the right side of my neck/ear region. I was not digesting properly and the diarrhea halted. Then I had stool with mucus in it. And strangely, it was sort of green. That had never happened to me before! I knew something was terribly wrong. I became nauseous from eating, and then I was overtaken with a fever and flu-like symptoms.

Tammi (my roommate of six years) pampered me during this time, making me chicken soup and buying me carbonated water. When the fever finally broke, I still had a swollen gut and lymph node.

At this point, I went to Severance Hospital. I had already spent 1,000s of dollars on doctors bills…what’s another visit?

Please do keep this in mind while reading… during this time, I was planning a wedding, across three time zones, teaching full time, and trying to enjoy my engagement.

Fear was stealing my joy. And the worst part: I let it. I fought. Oh I fought. And others fought for me and with me. I wept in Jason’s arms so many nights before we parted ways. I wept in my room. I wept with Tammi and Stephanie. They prayed for me, they counseled me, they hoped with me, they believed for me.

June 2015

I entered Severance Hospital with hesitation to trust doctors, but a desperation for a breakthrough and proper diagnosis.

The doctor was not fully believing me when I told her what was happening. (And previously I had one doctor tell me, “I’ve never heard of this so I cannot help you.”– well, that’s reassuring.) I was desperate so I wouldn’t leave until she took me seriously. I made her feel my swollen lymph node and made her examine my gut a third time.

She responded with hesitation, “I don’t think  you have this, but I’ll run a test just in case.” Well, that’s unsettlingly ambiguous.

Now, I was giving stool samples. Yay.

A few days passed. I received a phone call and email telling me to come to the hospital immediately. My principal graciously let me leave early.

The doctor referred me to a GI specialist. I met with her to discuss my results. Apparently I had Clostridium difficile. Also knows as C. Difficile or C.Diff. Or your worst nightmare.

Remember that “something so terrible I could not imagine” that had subtly begun that I mentioned earlier?

C. Diff. is what I was referring to.

The doctor told me that in order to get rid of this gut infection I had to get on antibiotics again. Hold your horses. What?! Again?! Everything in me wanted to throw the prescription in her face and tell her what her doctors in Korea had done to me already! Fear was rising up in me. Anger even! I was anxious. I was scared. I wanted to be home. I wanted a doctor who spoke English and had critical thinking skills! I wanted to be held. I wanted to know what this C.Diff. was.

My research ensued.

So what is it? 

Clostridium difficile.

Basically it’s a spore-producing, anaerobic bacteria that is found naturally in only 1-5% of people; however, it can be picked up anywhere. The spores lie dormant until they are ingested and then they can take over your gut. When they are active and overpopulated in your gut, they create an infection and release Toxin A and Toxin B (I have no idea what that means– except that it’s really bad for you). Your body responds by creating mucus and you get diarrhea, bloating, green stool, etc.  Many people get infected while in the hospital. It destroys your GI track and each year 15,000 to 30,000 people die from this infection. Yes, you read that correctly. This is not just some simple food poisoning. This is a disease that must be treated correctly and promptly.

Some strains of C. Diff. have become resistant to antibiotics. It’s becoming a much larger problem in hospitals. Because the spores can be anywhere it makes it more concerning.

Some C.Diff. survivors never have normal guts again. Some end up with IBS or Crohn’s or other awful gut issues.

I am thankful that I do not have any of those as a result.

I am hoping that this blog post will help increase awareness as it is still not well known.

For more information click here. 

So how do you get an infection? 

Good question. In my case, too many antibiotics killed off all of my good gut flora that normally keep C.Diff. at bay. When the good gut flora died off from the antibiotics, the C.Diff. took over and caused an infection.

How did I get it? 

No one can know for sure. I might have picked it up somewhere. I might have been a natural carrier of it. Who knows.

 

NY, NY, June 2015

I was in NY for a week training with the Writing Workshop Institute at Teacher’s College. PD that people dream of! And mind you, I had an amazing time and learned so much!

But I cannot cover up the fact that it was very difficult while I was finishing up my antibiotics and dealing with fear.

How did I recover? 

I reluctantly took the round of antibiotics. I took it for 2 weeks and stopped it a few days early because by this point my tongue had changed colors (yes, it really changed colors– apparently a side effect of this particularly strong antibiotic) and my stool was so messed up, I just couldn’t take it anymore.

My stomach was so gurgly and I could hardly eat anything without it going right through me. I reached out to my friends who are doctors and asked about my health. I continued researching.

Being in NY alone, aside from a few people I knew, was very tough. I so badly wanted those closest to me to be with me as I recovered.

At this point I had lost 18 pounds. These were not pre-wedding weight-loss pounds. These were pounds shed by my body simply because it was not absorbing anything. I was shakey. I was scared. I was afraid I was going to be another C.Diff. statistic.

When I was done with the round of antibiotics my digestion did not improve. I went to one of the emergency clinics (which is so convenient, professional, and helpful btw!) in order to have a stool sample to make sure I was C.Diff. free. (and…they don’t make you poo in your hand with a plastic glove like Korea! They provide a special seat to catch it! Just FYI).

I was C.Diff free! However, I was afraid of having a false negative result, as I heard that this happens sometimes. So, when I arrived in Boston and my digestion still was not better I went to another doctor and was tested again.

C.Diff Negative.

July 2015

And if that wasn’t enough, I went to a real GI doctor. But this is worth noting: it’s VERY difficult to get an appointment with specialists last minute. Almost impossible. Dr. Trey was booked all the way until August as well as most of the other GI specialists in the area.

However, Jason found an opening for me! One that worked with my schedule! It really was a miracle! This is when you can see God working behind the scenes.

When I went to see him, it was very cathartic. I literally cried the whole time as I told him everything that had happened in Korea. I told him specific antibiotics I had taken, my symptoms, everything imaginable. I told him my current symptoms. I told him I was getting married in one week. (and I didn’t even have a wedding dress that fit! But I honestly didn’t even care. I knew God would help me find the perfect dress– yet somehow had so much fear that God wouldn’t keep me alive…).

He was so gracious. He was professional. He was an expert.

He took some samples, ran many, many tests. And he even offered to do a colonoscopy before I left for Korea if results indicated that I needed that. Bless him.

Results were negative for everything. Praise. The. Lord.

So what now? 

Dr. Trey told me that it would take 6-8 weeks to gain my water weight back and up to 6 months for my gut to heal.

I am now at 9 months since I was C.Diff. free and I still have soft stool and there are certain things I cannot eat, but overall, I am doing so much better.

I have had two scares. In some cases–a very small percent of people– will have relapses. I have been holding on to fear that I would relapse.

I have especially been scared that I will have to take antibiotics in the future for some kind of infection and relapse. I am learning to trust God.

Since last July I’ve had two bouts of diarrhea and both times I freaked out. This last time, my very good friend, Lisa, told me, “Dyanne, God doesn’t want you to have fear and freak out every time you get diarrhea. It is normal to get it now and then you know. He’s letting you get it, so you can be tested and let go of this fear.”

Boom.

I have slowly been surrendering this fear and trusting God with my life. It is HIS after-all. Never have I ever had to deal with health issues like this before. And never had I ever had gut issues. I’ve always had a stomach of steel.

I have such a deeper sympathy for those who suffer with long-term health issues. I have been learning how susceptible I am to fear and just how desperate I am for God to grow my trust even deeper.

I am still healing and believing for my gut to heal 100%.

I am severing fear in my life.

I am letting God’s love conquer all fear.

If I can offer any advice: 

On the medical side of things:  do not take antibiotics unless you absolutely need them! And certainly don’t over-do it. I wish that I would have understood the danger of antibiotics and that I would have used my own judgement rather than just blindly trusting the doctor.

And regarding your heart:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

“Do not be afraid, only believe.” Mark 5:36

“May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!” Psalm 29:11

Until you are in a situation where you have to trust, you can’t say how you will react. I would have thought that I would have trusted more. But I was so afraid. I am learning how to actively lay down my fears and to trust.

I am thankful that God is gracious. Throughout this journey, He has given me several symbolic dreams to confirm my healing and the severing of fear. He has given me loving support from close friends and family.

For some of you, this is new news. I am sorry if your feelings are hurt that you did not know. Because I was dealing with so much fear, I only wanted those closest to me to know. I did not want the fear of others to be creeping in as I battled with the fear. It was not meant to be selfish by not sharing– had it gotten very bad I would have shared with you.

This journey over the last year has been very hard to say the least. I still ask WHY? I still want to know why it had to happen to me…why it was during my engagement… In the end… I might not ever fully know. But I do know this, on the other side of my whys, I found the sweet presence of God who comforted me in every moment of fear and despair.

My heart goes out to those of you who are battling illness. Take heart in the one who cares for you. Take heart in the one who can heal you. Take heart in the one who can give you peace and cast out all fear. Take heart in the one who will walk through your pain with you.

In the end, our lives are not our own. When there is nothing left to hold on to, we have HIM to hold on to. And when we can’t, He will hold us. 

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This song helped me during this journey (along with many other songs I put on repeat during this season).

 

Gardening; it’s hard.

May 7, 2016

I plant.

I repot.

I water.

I give you sun.

I wait.

I prune.

I trim.

I talk to you.

Repeat.

And you’re still dying.

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(This poor guy… I pruned him too short…I should have read about how to prune properly before butchering the already dying basil tree.)

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Recently I have taken on a plant project. Unlike Texas, where everything seems to grow wildly well, I cannot keep much alive here. I have a few hardy plants holding on, but all of my other plants seem to be wilting and some are flat out dying (I’m telling you this in humility and grief… I used to have a green thumb!).

I researched each plant… I gave some special soil they required, I’ve put reminders in my phone for how often to water different plants, and I’ve moved some more into the sun. Yet, they are still dying. Whether it’s the overcast skies preventing the sun to bathe my plants (personally, that’s what I like to believe…that or the pollution!) or it’s my sudden lack of having a green thumb… I do not know. Aside from being disheartened by the death of some of my plants, I have been thinking more about my heart in this season.

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Gardening is the cliche parallel to tending to your heart. Yet, I cannot help but think about how tending to our hearts is so similar to caring for plants. It’s a cliche comparison for a reason.

Each of us is a unique being that needs special care. Some of us need more pruning, or more water, some of us need more sun. Some of us are ready to be repotted. Some of us need a good trim. Some of us need to be harvested.

As much as we are to care for the state of our own hearts, sometimes we just need to surrender to what the Gardener wants to do. That might mean taking time to read the Word more, that might mean staying in to journal rather than going out, that might mean reflecting first before jumping into the next event. That might be shutting up long enough to hear what HE has to say. Whatever it is… we need to allow God to do His work of tending to our hearts.

Like plants, we can’t always articulate what we need or even know what we need. Sometimes we do. Often we don’t.

I am so thankful that God is my gardener. I am so glad that He knows exactly what I need — unlike me when it comes to my poor plants- God knows exactly when to water, to prune, to harvest, to repot, to put in the sun…

Instead of fighting Him, we need to cooperate and surrender. He knows best. He will keep you alive with a tender, well groomed and well maintained heart. 

What season are you in? Is God pruning you? Is He watering you? Is He repotting you? 

Stop fighting, if you are, and let Him garden and cultivate tenderness, integrity, and the fruit of the spirit in your heart. 

I am so thankful that every season is not pruning. I am so thankful that every season is not harvesting or repotting. And I am so thankful that He knows exactly what season it is for each one of us.

Gardening might be hard for me. But gardening is the natural work of our Father. 

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At least these guys are still doing well along with my ivy, bamboo, and cacti. =)

 

Why?

April 9, 2016

All my life I’ve been the kind of person to always ask, “Why?” Perhaps it’s my melancholy temperament or my INFJ personality type. My dad used to get so annoyed because I would always respond to his answer with, “Why?” (Yes, I was that kid.) I always wanted to know why things happened, why we had certain rules, why we did things a certain way, why something worked the way it did…why?…Why?…Why?…

Over the last year, the Lord has been teaching me a lot about asking, “Why?”

I was talking to a friend last Fall and she pointed out,

“Have you ever noticed that God never answered “Why?” in the Bible? Have you noticed that He never answers that question?”

She reminded me that when God responded to Job He basically said, “And where were you when I created the heavens and the earth?” She proceeded to ask,

“Why are we so quick to accept the good but not the bad?”

I felt very challenged by this.

I thought about it for a while and had to agree with her, that yes, I have never had God answer my “Whys???” (and I have a ton of them!) Usually He answers me with another question. He tells me that He loves me. He tells me that He’s for me. He tells me that He’s with me in the midst of it all.

She continued in the conversation,

“But He never, never, never answers, “Why did ___ have to die?”  “Why are children raped?”  Well, evil.  But why evil in the first place?  “Because I am God.  Period.  Thanks for asking.”In all this, I’d still rather have God on my side than anyone or anything else.  Because a confusing God who says “no” more than I think He should is still the best lover and parent source of good there ever is.

Tonight when I was praying, I started to ask, “Why?” I stopped myself and then I prayed,

“Lord, at the end of all my whys, let me find you and let your presence be enough to satiate my hunger to know why.”

There are many things that happen in our lives…things we may never know the reason for: sickness, death, tragedy, etc. Whether it’s the pure result of our sinful nature and a fallen world or if there is greater purpose (usually there is….sanctification…God’s glory being made known…etc.), we may never know the exact reason why someone had to die or why you had to go through something. That’s the hard part. Not knowing exactly why.

In the end, having the ability to ask God, “Why?” and then be satisfied with only finding Him at the end of my questions is walking by faith. It is the kind of faith that is causing my roots to go deeper to find water. It’s the kind of faith that causes me to trust deeper. To have greater courage. To hold on tighter. And to experience His love with greater measure.

So, whatever your WHY is tied to…I pray that you will find Him on the other side of your WHY and be filled with HIS peace, love, joy, and hope. I pray that you would find complete satisfaction in knowing that He’s always there on the other side. 

“Beautiful truth out of unbeautiful reality. The whys are never ending, but this truth puts them in their place– this is gold. ” – Tammi Wenzig

“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” -C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“The real problem is not why some pious, humble, believing people suffer, but why some do not.”-C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and I accept it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination.” – C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

“God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”
– C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

“You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth of falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?”- C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

“Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask – half our great theological and metaphysical problems – are like that.”- C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

“Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear”- C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed