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Just another brick in the wall

Oh, blog! Where did you go? Starting afresh after a far, far too long break. Check me out at http://www.gratefuljane.com

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WHOA!

Yep. It has been a major long time. I am so socially inept. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the blogosphere or in real life. I suffer from a feeling of “do they really like me?” and “Would they just rather avoid me?” Boy. What a feeling. So. . . . where am I going with this? I guess it doesn’t really matter anyway. The real issue is: What is it that God thinks?
Sometimes, I wonder if I’m totally shallow in my faith. Sometimes I think I am lukewarm, and God wants to spew me out. When I think of that, I realize I haven’t been spending the time with him I should, and then I try to get it right again.
This ought to be a daily thing, and yet sometimes my social ineptness extends to God as well. I suppose it really ought to be called what it is: selfishness and self-absorption. All about me. That is something I need desperately to escape from. Me. Get over it. Move on. Be about something else but me. How about being about Christ? That would suit the bill much better.
And then, if I am to be all about Christ, and yet he made me who I am, how do I go about that?
Hmmm. . . need to think about that one, I guess.

Verse of the day:
“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ.” Phillipians 3:12

how shall I grieve?

I would have to say I am grieving right now over the loss of a dear aunt.  Her funeral is tomorrow.  Memories of my childhood and extended family rarely leave her out.  Memories of her are sweet.  She was kind, thoughtful, caring, loving, gentle. . . I could go on and on.

She died slowly by starvation.  She did it to herself.  It was unnecessary.

My aunt always went to church.  She exuded kindness.  She did for others.  When each of my children was born, she came to visit.  She brought food when I was sick, she made everyone’s favorite dishes at family get-togethers, she made my favorite cake for my birthday, she always sent a birthday card–and it always arrived on your birthday no matter where she sent it from.

But, about 10 years ago, she lost some weight.  A little too much, really, because my uncle had open heart surgery, and he needed to loose weight.  She didn’t.  But, being the sweet and loving woman she was, she prepared all of his low-fat dishes, and ate the same thing right along with him.  She was an excellent cook.

Always active, working outside in her yard was a joy.  One day came when she couldn’t mow with a push mower any longer.  In fact, she got pinned to a tree with the weight of it, and couldn’t get herself free.

There was really nothing anyone could do at that point.  She was proud of being thin.  She thought she looked healthy.

We have a dear friend that is a psychologist.  He told my husband recently, he stopped taking cases like my aunt’s because there is truly nothing you can do.  I have wondered, from time to time, if when she said to me, “You’d think that someone who looks as healthy as I do, wouldn’t have a problem with (fill in the blank)”:  what if I had said, “You don’t look healthy, just terribly thin.”

Would it have mattered?  Would she have listened?

It has been a few years since the event I described above, but she has slowly gotten thinner and thinner.  About two months ago, she couldn’t get out of bed.  Her husband took her to the hospital.  She was 5 ft 6 inches tall and weighed 78 lbs.

After about a month in the hospital, they got her up to 98 lbs.  It has been a struggle since then, and she finally gave up the will to live, knowing that she would not ever be able to regain what she had lost.  She went on hospice, and died within 48 hours.

She leaves a gaping hole in our family.  I cannot fathom what goes on in a person’s mind to think like that.  I know it happens, I just don’t get it.

It hurts so bad to say goodbye to someone you love who died so senselessly.  Pride is so ugly.  I loved her.  This is all so surreal.

This is my baby minutes after birth, and shortly before I knew he had Down syndrome.

My husband already had it figured out.

Sanctity

Marriage is difficult, at best.  Being saved has nothing to do with the ease of life.  We are still us, we are still faulted, human, sinful creatures.  So, a saying I have often thought of when I hear of marriages in trouble is “Where ever you go, there you are.”

When we have a problem with another person, spouse, friend, child–it tends to be “OUR” problem.  If we (I do mean ME here) have trouble dealing with someone, it’s because our relationship with God isn’t what it should be.  I don’t mean we’ll never have trouble again, Job proves us wrong there, and Paul let us know if we don’t have a thorn in our side we can be lifted up with pride.  I’m faulted enough–and struggle.  I have to pray, “Don’t let me go there, Lord”  as much or more than the average character.

But, it saddens my heart so much to hear of people who call themselves “Christians” choosing to divorce.

A woman I am acquainted with has been married 20 years.  She and her husband have children together, all still at home.  I don’t honestly know the details of the divorce, only that it’s all so civil.  Their children didn’t ever hear them speak ill of one another, nor did their friends:  they can both manage on their own, and it will be over in about a month–just paperwork.

I’m thinking–if it’s all so civil, why not stay together?  Why not work it out?  For the children, if nothing else.  Can there be anything too great for our God?

It puzzles me.  It saddens me.  I’m praying for this family.  “Life is too short” is a phrase you hear a lot.  Life is too short to spend time doing this. . . life is too short to do that. . . life is too short to stay in a marriage you’re not happy in. . . where ever you go, there you are.

Life is not short.  It is eternal.  Time on earth is short.  I have to remember:

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”  Ephesians 5:14 – 16

I know that I am not immune to this sin.  I know I have to be vigilant, diligent to walk in the Spirit so that I do not fall, when I am tempted, into this same mindset.  I have to trust in God’s grace to get me through each and every day.

These are my observations.  This is my heart right now.  It’s hurting for this family.

Praise Report

I just had to write about my baby.  We got great news just the other day, and I am thrilled.  He was supposed to see a cardiologist at 6 mos for the three VSDs he was born with.  VSDs are small holes in his heart, and it is common for babies with Down Syndrome to have some sort of heart defect.  Some are worse than others.  His holes were quite small, but needed to be checked.

Many people have been praying for him, and I can praise my Lord and Saviour that 2 of the three holes are now gone.  The one that is left is the most common defect in a heart, and is minor, negligible, and most likely will never change, except to get a little smaller.

I know God can do better than that.  We are praying for it to go away entirely!

After the doctor gave me the news, I was elated.  It wasn’t like I had been worried about it, but, it was always hanging over us.  Holes in your baby’s heart.  Not a good thing.

The doctor left the room, I was getting my little sweetie dressed, and I just began to weep.  I know what God can do, but he did it for me.  He did it for my baby.  He did it for His glory.  I was awed.

Thank you, Lord.

Consider the Ant

Where have I been? What have I been doing. Been far. Been doing much.

When I say I’ve been far, I don’t mean physically (we rarely travel). But God has taken me through some things, and is showing me some things. My title for this post is not a direct quote, but from the verses in Proverbs Chapter 6, verses 6-8:

“Go to the ant, thou sluggar; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”

I have been able to observe the ant over the past week. I also managed to observe another (of what I consider to be a) pest last year. These pests are our teachers, if we would consider them.

Diligence is what I speak of. Have I been diligent? Why, yes, quite often I am. But, is it possible to be diligent in areas that have absolutely nothing to do with glorifying God? But, of course (this must be said with a french accent, because I am thinking of Lumiere from “Beauty and the Beast–the Disney version)!

Anyway, I have indeed been diligent at times in all sorts of things that do nothing to benefit my Lord. Why, then, do I bother?  I don’t mean to, really, I don’t.  It seems like the right thing to do at the time.  It goes to show how I need to draw nearer to my Lord daily.  It is such a struggle, sometimes, this walk.

Where am I going with this?  My baby girl just turned 4 today.  It was a glorious, wonderful, fun day to watch her enjoy the gifts she got, the balloons, look forward (patiently) to her cake, see her eyes light up with anticipation at everything.  We don’t do big birthday parties anymore.  A few years back, we had a very rough year, and approaching Christmas, when my second son has his birthday, we were without money to buy anything for him–I mean we could buy nothing at all.  It was very rough on us.  We couldn’t eat out, we couldn’t go out, we couldn’t spend a penny.  I struggled with that more than I realized I would.  We rummaged through the closet and found little McDonald’s toys that had not been opened from Happy Meals, and a few other things that were supposed to be stocking stuffers that we had not given the year before, and wrapped them up.  We had a simple dinner, a little cakes, then he opened the gifts.  When he opened them all, he said, “Is that it?”

Smiling, I said, “yes.”

He started playing with what he got.  What a blessing that was.

We have had one other “big” party for him since, but the rest of our birthdays are simple family affairs.  I guess I’m being a bit nostalgic, with the walk down memory lane, but, I’m thinking of the areas in our lives where we are diligent.

I have diligently planned and prepared for big birthdays (past).  I have diligently and meticulously scrutinized the school books we use (not necessarily a bad thing–just a time issue).  I have diligently pursued time on the computer (now and again).

Have I diligently attended to my husband and children?  Not always.  Has God been gracious in spite of that? Yes, I am human, you know.  Will he always turn a blind eye to this mistake?

Well, since I have been looking at pests who are so diligent, that in response, I must be excessively diligent to overcome their invasion–I am going to have to guess no.

With that said, I cannot say how much I will be blogging in future.  I have enjoyed it, but I need to be diligent in some other things right now.  When I can, I’ll be by to post.  Check in when you can.  My readership is pretty sparse anyhow–so I don’t think that will be an issue.

Good night.  Must get busy (ants, you know!).