Forever Grace

 

I’m reading a book by Grace Fabian, missionary to Papua New Guinea.  Several things have struck me…a good part of it has brought tears for it is a story of tragedy and forgiveness.  It has struck me that through it all her family and her missionary family has stuck with her and their friendships are both godly and grace filled and forever.

It’s made me look over our life.  I can’t say I have any forever friends.  I hear of others who have 40 and 50 year friendships and wonder what that would be like.  I’ve never had a girlfriend stick with me through thick and thin.  We’ve never had couples who were team workers and mentors.  Allen would have one man come and go in his life over the years. And me too…but never someone who called or wrote and kept up with us.  Many have given up on us rather than keep up relationships.

I am not sure why this is so…my own mom didn’t have a lot of close relationships, but she had ladies she would have in for Bible study and those she would go to tea at their house or sit and knit with.  My life has been void of a lot of that.  Even in our churches where I would lead large groups of ladies…I would notice that they never sought me out and if I wanted anything to do with them…I would be the one who would have to call or make contact.

I think everyone desires for someone who will seek them out.  I am not good at this myself.  I feel like if I am seeking someone out then I am putting them out to tell me no or risking being rejected.  Maybe I’m a coward at heart.

I’m so thankful that in my relationship with God He has sought me out.  He LOVES spending time with me.  He never judges and gives up…even when I don’t make time for Him.  He’s always waiting…and never rejects when I suggest we spend time together.

I heard a speaker years ago talk about the importance of having close relationships in ministry … four or five couples at least…people to share life with, share your story with, share your hurts and joys and disappointments and griefs with.  We have never found those who want that with and for us.  I see others that have that; but it is not our experience or ours to have.  Even the groups we have been in here in NC have dissolved because people were too busy and it wasn’t important enough to keep on meeting.

Our family has always been far away…both sides so there is no real connection there other than blood and for those that are Christians we have that bond…but relationship is really not there much.  I remember my older sisters calling mom every night to touch base and check on her.

One thing I’ve learned in counseling is we are created for relationship.  So what do you do when relationship is not there?  There is loss and grief and when you see it in others…there is sadness and contemplation that maybe there is something wrong with you.  If no one ever seeks you out…if no one wants a relationship…what does that say?  It says you find it in Jesus.  He becomes more.  He becomes enough.  My heart still yearns and wonders if we had had these relationships like Grace did for all these years..where we would be and what things would be different.

Overall, life has been pretty lonely for us.  We used to have long term friends we would spend holidays with…but they gave up on us a long time ago …or me, anyway.  I keep waiting for that abundant life scripture talks about to show up.  Each day I go to work with dread…not the “abundant” I was hoping for.  I can understand older people now who look back to the “olden days” when things were better.  I remember back to when my children were young and at home and those were my abundant years.  I’m so thankful for them.

Just some thoughts…dark thoughts…but they are deep beneath the mask as my blog is titled and need to come out somewhere. So here they are…to float in cyberspace and linger on the wind.

 

 

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The Robot

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I got called a robot yesterday…told I was not humane.  You see, I’m a pretty black and white person…if you give me directions or a guideline I work within that guideline.  I don’t believe you give in to people because they yell loudly…in fact, if they yell loudly then I believe you should never give in to them.  You will get much more from me with a sweet respectful demeanor than you will from pushing yourself around and acting like you are nine.

I don’t know why this guy got me so upset yesterday.  Like everyone, I like to be liked, but really in all actuality I couldn’t care less if this guy liked me.  I did feel like I let my bosses down since they were the ones who overturned my decision and threw me under the bus so to speak…but in all actuality I’m not really working for them either.  I work for Jesus.  He has asked me at this point in my life to serve Him by working at Texwipe and so I do…I don’t like it.  I would much rather be at home, cooking, sewing, crocheting, learning more about God and His Word, volunteering in my church, making my grandkids things…but He’s asked me to be the major breadwinner right now and my husband has worked so hard for so many years doing that…I need to do what I can at this stage in my life to help out.  I find I have to work on my attitude every day…I talk myself through the day…”you can do this”…”one step at a time” …. “it’s only for a season.”  You know the drill.  “You can do anything for a season…as long as you know there will be an end someday.”  My husband has told my kids that for years…while they were in college…complaining…you can do it…it’s not forever.

I think it’s the meanness of humanity that gets me.  I’ve been pretty sheltered over the years.  I’ve seen meanness…all you have to do is read my other blogs and you know that…but I never understand it.  My mom taught me that if I couldn’t say anything nice to not say anything at all. I’m quiet a lot!  As a matter of fact I put up with things for a very long time…others tell me too long…but when I do try to straighten things out…that’s when I get in trouble.  “Hurting people hurt people” only goes so far.  Can I pray for this guy?  Yes…but my first reaction is to just hunker down and work hard and keep my head down.  I keep wondering what I say to him the next time he calls or writes…”Sorry, bud, I’m too much of a robot…guess you’ll have to call someone else who has a brain.”  Maybe I should sing the scarecrow song from the wizard of oz…”If I only had a brain…” lol  I do, though.  I have a brain…and that’s why I didn’t give in to this man.  He pushes and shoves and thinks he deserves special treatment…and I’m too much of a mom to let him get away with that.  I want to slap his hand and say, “Now, sweetie, go to your room and think about how badly you’ve behaved today….and don’t come out until you can play nice.”  Why is it that there are men and women who act like they are nine and never seem to grow up and become adults?  Why are there people who never mature enough to think of someone besides themselves?  I am well aware of the sinful depravity of man…and I shouldn’t be surprised by it in this world….that’s why God had to send Jesus into this world…I guess I just don’t want to be reminded.

I’m tired of the mentality that “You always do this except…”  Why can’t life be more of “You always do this.”  I’m not beyond the exceptions; but when you tell me one thing…don’t go back on it.  When you say we’re a team then act like a team.  When you say we always do things this way then ALWAYS do things that way…don’t make exceptions for the loudest brat out there…don’t make exceptions because someone is pushing their way around…and then not make an exception for the nice guy.  You’ve just created your monster.  So I guess he’s right in a way…I’m a robot.  I’m robotic in my ability or inability to work with difficult people.  He’s the EGR customer…”Extra Grace Required”…you’d think I’d be an expert at dealing with those people after so many years in churches…but I’m not.  I’m the compliant child…the one who does right because she doesn’t want to make waves….  I’ve never understood the rebellious child.  I still don’t understand the rebellious adult…the one who is told something at work and decides not to do it or to do it in spite of what they are told.  I don’t go there…if someone tells me to initial every time I do something, I feel guilt if I forget. lol  If I get in trouble for doing what I was told, it sends me in a tailspin…I’m not one for language…but in this case…if you are “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” then what’s the point?

I’m not sure this “soapbox” episode has really sharpened my point this morning as I get ready for work.  I dread it.  It’s a good part of my life right now…so to dread a good part of your life…is that all there is to look forward to?  Uh oh…we’re getting back to the Ecclesiastes post. lol  I guess this is just a reminder that we are broken people in a broken world.  I don’t like it.  I don’t have to like it.  But I have to live in it….I just wish I could get beyond just “living” and “thrive” in it.

“Great wickedness…only evil…no one who understands…worthless…open graves…deceit…poison…cursing and bitterness…swift to shed blood…ruin and misery….no fear of God…subjected to frustration…bondage to decay…groaning…struggle…this dark world…evil.  Perhaps you are so familiar with these verses that it is difficult to see their unflinching realism.  But each of these passages is honest about what you and I will encounter as we live in a world that is not operating as it was designed to operate.”  Broken Down House – Paul David Tripp