“The reason one writes isn’t the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald


"But how could you live and have no story to tell?" ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky


"Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph" ~Matt Hardy


“A mother keeps a garden of the heart, planting the seeds of faith and character that give her children hope and purpose for the years ahead.” ~Anonymous


“If your story is never told, it becomes something else...forgotten.” ~Anonymous

Monday, October 17, 2016

By Myself....But Not Alone

Yes, I took a break.  Far too long of a break, but a needed one.  Without a long explanation of so much life lived in the last year, I am returning to blogging.  Expressing my thoughts on paper (or computer as the case may be) is very therapeutic for me, however, I realized I do not want my blog to be a diary of daily happenings, which are really of no interest to anyone but me :)  Nor do I want it to be a medium where I share the deepest innermost thoughts of my heart for all the world to read.  But I do want it to be life - for myself and others who may just need a nugget of encouragement or perhaps a new lens by which to view this complex life and world we live in.  So much noise surrounding us and so many words being thrown in our face.  Sometimes, we need to remove ourselves, just to be quiet.

My husband left recently for an extended ministry trip.  I prayed and chose to stay behind.  We have traveled so much this past year and I needed to stay put for a time, dealing with some health issues and catching up on so many things. As I put him on a plane, my mind is filled with the “to-do” list.  However, whether it was God wanting to slow me down or my body telling me to stop, I ended up having no choice.

In the last 3 years, I have pulled a ligament in my back 3 different times.  Yes, I did it again.  If you’ve never done this, let me tell you it is excruciatingly painful.  I can barely walk and the only position whereby I can relieve the pain is to be lying flat.  So that is where I have spent the last 9 days.  Usually it takes me 5 days of lying down, putting heat or ice on my back and carefully doing the exercises of stretching the doctor prescribed.  However, three days into my recuperation, I aggravated it and the recovery has lasted much longer than anticipated.  I won’t bore you with details, but something happened I do want to share.

I was alone.  Husband thousands of miles away.  Three of my grown children live within an hour, but not close when you need help fairly quickly. A daughter lives in Los Angeles.  We have a family living downstairs.  We don’t have a land-line phone down there.  I didn’t have a cell # for them.  I couldn’t get up to tell them I needed help.  I have a circle of really close girlfriends that would drop everything and come in a second if I needed them.  But I knew they had jobs, commitments and possibly one of them out of town.  To even reach the phone to call was a pain.  I was alone.  I had absolutely no control over my body or the pain. I lay crying and telling God how utterly alone I was.  I was even mad.  Why did this happen when literally everyone that could normally help me was not nearby?  What was I going to do?  I cried.  I felt really sorry for myself.  And I needed to get up and go to the bathroom!  (I knew that could take a fair amount of time just rolling myself off the couch and crawling down the hall).  I was mad.  I cried.  And I felt utterly out of control and alone.  SO OUT OF CONTROL AND ALONE.  

In those difficult and tearful moments and so very clear…..I heard a still small voice in my mind and to my heart, “You are never alone.”  So clear.  So simple. So precise.  And so incredibly calming in that moment.  I knew.  God speaking to me.  God reaching out to me.  Those four words met me in a way that no friend, husband or help could even come close.  A peace came over me and I relaxed.  That was a turning point for me on day four.  I knew before this that He was with me, but a deeper understanding came…..I knew He WAS WITH ME.  Can’t explain it, I just knew.

In the days following, a couple of my close girlfriends came over to visit, my son came by (even with flowers from my husband!) but for the most part, I was housebound and alone.  No, not alone. Just by myself.  Crazily enough, during this time, our weather forecast was we were expecting a storm with so much rain and wind that it was dangerous.  Again, "feeling" alone…..we are surrounded by trees that could very easily come down and have in past storms.  What would I do?  I collected water if the power went out (we have a well that needs electricity to pump).  I had food, firewood and charged my cell phone.  But….what would I do if a tree crashed into our house? I can barely lift a piece of firewood, let alone deal with a fallen tree.   Again…why this storm and why when my husband (who fixes EVERYTHING) is away.  As I prayed for the winds to not come near (praying Psalm 91 over my home and the Pacific Northwest), I was reminded, “I am never alone.”  

Short but wonderful sideline….at one point in the afternoon of the storm I realized everything was calm.  I looked out the window and the neighbor’s trees were swaying heavily in the wind.  I thought “Wow, that wind is wild.”  Then I looked out the other window at our trees.  Not a leaf was moving.  Now, I had prayed for my neighbor’s homes as well, and thankfully, no trees came down.  But in that moment, I knew God was showing me…..He was with me.  Our trees were calm in that moment, while those next door were being tossed with the wind.  

(Photo courtesy of a weather website)

The storm passed.  My storm passed.  And I was not alone.  

I realized this morning that yes, physically I was and still am “by myself”.  But I was not unloved.  I have a family and many who love me - who would come running at the drop of a hat if I needed them.  If they physically could. (I have since been lovingly exhorted by friends and family....I am to pick up that phone and call them....no matter what.) 

But above all, I have a Father in heaven, whose love and faithfulness never leave me (Psalm 117).  

I am never alone.  I am loved.  In the storms.  In the quiet moments.  In life.

You are never alone.  You are loved.  In the storms of life.  In the quiet and in the noisy.  In life.  Do you realize this?  Do you believe this?  If you struggle with this, can I lovingly suggest you take some quiet…..ask God to reveal to you His closeness in a way you will understand.  Ask Him to show you His love and His faithfulness.  Ask Him.