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Category Archives: sorrow

Lest you think that all I do is sit around and cry, I would like to reassure you that it is only a small part of my existence. I actually have not cried very much, considering the terrible sadness in my heart. But I do feel the sharp pains of anxiety fairly often.

The best cure for that is to make plans, to force myself to move and get involved in living, when often it’s the last thing I really want to do. I think for the last couple of weeks, I have grieved deeply for the loss of my mom as I once knew her. But I have decided that is a very necessary part of this process. There is no way I could have been so close to her, and not grieved the loss of our relationship, even though it was very painful for me at times.  So I have determined to grieve when I need to, simply because that is inevitable, and I can’t rush the different phases.  I have been almost immobile (physically and mentally) for about a week, but I am working through that, and starting to feel some energy once again. After having been so very sick, as well as so very stressed, perhaps my body is calling the shots, and leaving me with no choice but to be still. I am learning to listen to its wisdom.

But in between the grieving, I will continue to live my life, and try to look to the future with hope and expectation. Making plans is a faith statement that life will go on, and that there is a reason and a purpose to all of it. I read a sign the other day in a shop that said, “Hold Onto Your Dreams–They Are Your True Wealth.”

I am a big believer in dreams, and in turning those dreams into reality, with God’s help. When we lose our dreams, we lose everything. A dream is our assurance that tomorrow can be better than today. So I dream…

I try to keep writing as much as I can, because it brings such a release from sorrow and heartache. If I can get it down on paper, I have processed it enough to feel some relief. And when I am happy, the joy has to spill over through my keyboard or pen. And isn’t that what life is made of anyway…sadness and happiness…sorrow and joy?

Only those who have deeply felt sorrow can truly feel joy. And aren’t love and hate just centimeters apart? There’s not really such a great divide in our emotions–just a block or two. They just feel like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and sometimes I am so weary of it.

I am doing much better with my Collectibles booth at the indoor flea market. I have had more time to devote to it lately, and sales are up. (Of course, prices are down for that to happen. Grin.) Oh well…a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right?

Seriously, I have decided to add some jewelry to my inventory. That means purchasing locked jewelry cases, as theft is a huge risk in a flea market. Don’t you just hate thieves? Grrrrrr….

So, I’ve purchased 2 medium-sized countertop locking jewelry cases, and also some lovely black velvet display pieces, so that the shine of the jewelry will really “pop.” The cases were ordered via the Internet, and are hopefully on their way. I thought that I  might sell Sorrelli jewelry in one, and Vintage and Fine Jewelry in the other. Lord knows if it will sell, but one lady there is having quite a bit of success with Sorrelli. Sorrelli said there are no additional openings for dealers in this area of the country, so my inventory will have to come from auctions, or other sites that sell Sorrelli. Sometimes I win an auction at a very good price on Ebay, so we will see how that goes.  It will fit right in with my Victorian feel–teacups, teapots, beautiful glassware, and lovely small treasures. (Yes, I know…I’m truly trying to get the “flea market mentality” and forcing myself to throw in some “junk” here and there, as long as it doesn’t ruin the ambience I’ve got going. LOL!) I had been in antique malls for so many years, so it’s difficult for me to grasp the trash to treasure concept, but I am making the effort. You sure can’t sell items at antique mall prices in a flea market, but this is the best place to be right now in our small town, as the owner does advertise and has a year round clientele, not just a tourist season one. So that helps. It seems that when he gets the people in there, I am able to make sales. Think there could be some correlation? (Smile.)

I have also been packing (at a snail’s pace) for another getaway to the ocean. We are going back to the area we visited for Christmas. It is only a 2 1/2 hour drive, and we had a house right on the beach. This time we have rented one where the ocean almost comes up under the house.  (I say this bravely, though it is my husband who is thrilled about that part. I just hope I don’t get seasick. Well, there’s always Dramamine I guess.)  I will write and let you know how it goes while I am there. We are planning to go now at the end of March, then again in September, and also at Christmas. (I’ve never gotten Rob to get away this much ever.) I know he really likes the fact that he doesn’t have to drive so far, or that we don’t have to fly.

And somewhere in there, we are also going to Portland, Oregon. He has an adoption seminar he has to attend, and we are hoping to spend some extra days there, as we have heard that the mountains and the coast are very beautiful. However, he is usually exhausted after those meetings, so I don’t know how good we’ll actually feel after that. (But we will hope for the best.)

I almost never got to travel with him before anywhere, as there was first Chelsea to care for, and then my mom. Once in a while a friend kept Chelsea while we went to the mountains, but that was at the most, once a year. So there is something wonderful to be said about the freedom we now have for the first time in our lives. We are so not used to it. And it seems that it is important to separate yourself from home at times. Just a change of scene can be therapeutic.

So that’s all for tonight. I think you could say that I am feeling a little brighter, and a lot more hopeful. I will try desperately to hang onto that feeling for as long as I can.

Yes, it’s a positive thing to be dreaming and making plans…

I realize that by posting this message, I am opening myself up to criticism from people who cannot possibly understand what I’ve been through for the last 3 1/2 years. But the writer in me feels that it is important to continue the story-just the way it played out. To do differently is to deny the pain, the heartache, and the sorrow that I am now experiencing. Not because of the decision that I have made, but because of trying to please my mother for my entire life, and never managing to feel that I truly did. The past few days have been filled with the deepest hurt that I have ever known. I don’t know how I have managed to get through them, other than by the grace of God, and with the help of my husband. For those who have been following this blog, you know the tremendous challenges that I have faced with my mom in the past months and years. I felt overwhelmed every day of my life, since my dad died 3 1/2 years ago. I developed a sleep disorder, because the responsibility of her care made me on edge every moment. I have responded to so many emergencies with her lately, that I have lost count. I felt so pressured to keep her alive (and reasonably happy), that I could not focus on anything else. Therefore, I would often find myself staying up all night, trying to find some time to call my own-writing out my feelings, and praying that perhaps I would connect with someone–anyone–who understood my plight.

I tried in every way possible to please her, but I don’t think that is possible.  I have sacrificed my health, my marriage, and my sanity to be at her beck and call, and I can’t do it anymore. What follows is a letter I wrote to an elder care group about these last few days. For those of you who know the story already, you’ll have to endure some background information that you already know, but read on for the conclusion. (Please forgive the formatting. I couldn’t get it to come out right when I copied and pasted.)

I Have To Save My Life

My dad died 3 1/2 years ago, and I have been the primary caregiver for
my mom for those years. While she still lived independently, she is an
insulin dependent diabetic, prone to going low unexpectedly, and we had
to be in touch with her continually. (I saved her life many times by
giving her OJ or something sweet, to bring her blood sugar back up. Each
time it was frightening.) I kept my phone by my side at all times, and
developed a sleep disorder, because I could not sleep at night,
since her care became my responsibility. It wasn’t really safe for her
to live on her own anymore, but that is what she wanted. I did offer
initially to have her move in with us, when my dad died. (I am so glad
now that she didn’t, as she would have driven us totally crazy.) But we
had a good system. She called when she got up, and when she went to bed.
I called in-between. I did all the errands and doctor appointments-(a
different doctor for every body part.) I took her shopping, to the post
office, hairdresser, and everywhere else she went. My brother has only
taken her somewhere once or twice ( perhaps to the pharmacy) that I remember, and
that was when I was out of town for a couple of days, and he had to.
Because I had a torn rotator cuff (shoulder), he did the heavy grocery
shopping, though I did all the supplemental buying of additional needed groceries. (Still
lugging in cases of diet cokes, and gallons of heavy milk, late into the
evenings.) I did all the prescription and pharmacy runs, etc.

My brother did very little else, but visit for lunch every day. But he is her Golden Boy,
since he came from the man she loved, and I am her slave, since I came
from the man she didn’t (and I look like him.) I took all this for all
my life, and treated her with more kindness and compassion than I am
even capable of. It was like God was loving her through me. I was always
gentle and loving with her. I can only think of possibly 3 times in my
life when I really stood up to her, and one time I ended up checking
myself into the mental health unit, feeling suicidal. (It was because I never felt any
compassion or support from her, concerning anything that was going on in
my life. I desperately needed a mother. But it was always all about her.
I felt like I was the mother from the time I was little. I had no
nurturing, except from my grandmother, and the lack of it has damaged me
terribly.) Well, about 4 1/2 months ago, she fell (while I was holding
her hand coming out of a Waffle House) and broke her right foot, and her
left leg. She was in a nursing home for that, and completed her rehab,
and was about to be released. Then she fell while trying to get to the
bathroom, and broke her right hip. This time surgery was required, and
the anesthesia really took a toll on her mind. She can’t remember
things, has hallucinations (seeing and hearing things), and seems to be
paranoid to some degree. At any rate, she was always outspoken, but now
all her inhibitions (if she ever had any) are gone, and she is very
belligerent and angry. One nurse’s aid would come out of her room almost
crying, from her bad temper. (She looked like she had been in The Lion’s
Den.)

After my mother’s hip surgery, she was no longer capable of living
on her own, and was told she would either have to have someone watch her
24 hours a day, or go into assisted living. She didn’t want to do either
of those, but finally agreed to assisted living, after making everyone
crazy in the mean time. She hated the nursing home (even though the
staff, for the most part, was wonderful.) I visited her faithfully every
other day, sometimes every day. (My brother visited her sporadically-on his way fishing.)

But he’s her hero, and I’m Cinderella (before the party and the prince.) She
babies him all the time, and shows a big difference in the way she
treats us. She comes to his defense always, even when he treats me
badly, and doesn’t pay back money he’s borrowed. (In spite of all this,
I also treat him very kindly, with the exception of one time recently, when I’d had enough.)

He can basically do no wrong. If I disagree with him about anything (which I almost never do), she jumps all over me.

I took her on elegant picnics to the Atrium, complete with battery
operated candles and white tablecloths. I made food to bring in, since
she hated the nursing home food. (It was bad.) I listened to her
complain continually about everything. I comforted her, encouraged her,
and was a good, attentive advocate for her with the doctors and nurses,
etc. I did all that I knew to do. Then I went home and cried.

She was moved into a temporary room at the assisted living, until her
permanent room became available. I was going to decorate it for her, and
surprise her with everything wonderful. This had to all be purchased very 
quickly. I told her that I would decorate with the basics, and then we
would go to her house, and get her pictures, and all the things that she
wanted around her. She criticized the color of the furniture I got, the
fact that we painted the room white, (I was trying to recreate the feel
of a room she had (that she loved) when she was younger.) The room she had then, was
painted red with white trim. I knew a one room apartment would be too
dark with red walls, so I had them paint the room white, and I am going
to do red (almost crimson) accents-bedspread,  red recliner, beautiful
artwork, white lamps, white furniture, and touches of gold here and
there. Believe me when I tell you that it is going to be gorgeous. The
ALF Director already stopped by and loved it, and we hadn’t even gotten
started good. My mother and I fought yesterday because she got someone
to let her in the room, and I had asked her to please wait until we got
it decorated, and then we could be with her, when she saw it completed.
I didn’t really mind that she went in that time, and a previous time,
when I showed her the room. I just asked if she would wait one day until
we finished it, so we could surprise her. I have shopped and worked
myself to death, getting all the things for  a couple of weeks. She was
angry that I wanted her to give me a day to finish it. She snapped at me.

She won’t cooperate with anything. She fights me on everything! We had words,
because I was in tears. Then we really had words. All of her
mistreatment of me came to the surface, and I told her what I thought
finally. (I had to, or die.)

She refuses to use her walker. She fell the
day we went to check her out of the nursing home, because she wouldn’t
use her walker. She fell her second day in the assisted living, because
she went to the door without her walker. She will not listen to anyone!
She acts like a Prima Donna. (This is her basic nature.) She says she is
not going to be attached to that thing every minute. If she falls 2 more
times (and is fortunate enough not to break anything) her care level
will go up tremendously at the ALF. (And of course, so will the money we
have to pay. We are already paying almost $4,000 a month.) But if she
falls, and has to go back to the nursing home, she will have to remain
there for the rest of her life, as there will be no more money, and she
does qualify for a nursing home right now. She will have to go on
Medicaid, if she becomes a permanent resident. (We owe the nursing home
a lot of money now, because her Medicare and supplemental insurance ran
out before her 4 1/2 month stay there did.) We can only afford to keep
her in assisted living for about 2 years, if she doesn’t fall again, and
break something. But if she does, and requires rehab, her somewhat
independent living will be over, because she won’t have the finances,
and Medicaid will take all her income, including any from the sale of
her house.

I am at my wits end. She is rebellious and defiant. She needs to realize
that this has not just taken a toll on her, but me also. I am
exhausted beyond description!!!  I spent 6 hours with her in the ER, while she screamed in
agonizing pain (after breaking her hip), and even morphine could not
control it. (I don’t want to go through that again.)

But even after all that, she still refuses to comply with using her walker.

I told her she was acting like an unruly child by refusing to use her walker, and that she was going to fall, and have to spend the rest of her life in a nursing home, because of her rebellion.

Everyone (doctors, nurses, aids) have repeatedly told her to use her
walker, and she will not, most of the time. She resents being reminded
by anyone. We frequently find it way across the room from where she is.

We have continually tried to tell her the consequences of
another fall, but she is stubborn. She will not listen to anyone! She
understands what she is doing.

In our heated discussion, I told her that no one could have taken better
care of her than I did (since Sam died.) No one.
She said, “Not always. Not always.” (That really hurt.) Before God, I can
tell you, that I have NO REGRETS.

The call ended with her telling me that I was mean, bitchy, and jealous.
I replied, “I’m so glad that you said that, because now I am gone from
your life.”
She then taunted me with, “Oh yeah? Yeah..yeah..yeah…”
My final words were, “You just watch me. You just watch me.”

So Saturday and Sunday night, I spent two surreal evenings, decorating her assisted living
apartment. Can you imagine how difficult that was for me? I had ordered
special hanging hearts (hand painted) that said, Betty’s Place and Sweet
Dreams-by her dresser. (I hope she feels bad when she sees them, but she
won’t.) I was numb to a degree, as I put things in place for her, and
weepy and distraught earlier in the day, last night, and on the way home. (I wasn’t
sure I was strong enough to finish the decorating, but thank God, I somehow was.)

She has hurt me for the last time. I will not be there to hear her
reactions or complaints. I am done! I can’t do anything right, and I
think the reason that I have perfectionist tendencies, is because nothing
is ever good enough for her. Nothing.

She made me feel guilty for trying to surprise her. I was thinking of
her–picking out the color she loved, and fixing everything so
beautiful. But what do I get in return? Cruelty!!! I cannot do this
anymore…

I simply cannot take anymore. It is time for my brother to step in and
take over. She is ruining my health (mental and physical), my marriage,
and my life. All he has to do now is get her to her doctors, and buy her
personal items-the least he can do. If I am going to survive, I must get
away from her. I do not intend to go to her funeral. The hurt is too
deep. I have had it.   (End)

So there you have it. I finished decorating Sunday night. It took us till 11 p.m. We were working as fast, and as hard as we could. I received a couple of irate messages from her on my cell, during that time, asking when I was going to show her the room (If Ever.) Once again, I felt the incredible pressure that she has put on me all my life. (I had decided to let my husband show her the room, after I left.) The last thing I did was unpack her clothes, and place them in her closet. As I realized the time to leave was nearing, I kissed her blouse, and blew a kiss into the room as I left, thinking, “I’ll always love you.” (But wondering why I was not worthy of her unconditional love and kindness.) I closed the door behind me, and it was over. But the pain was only beginning…

Please see other articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html

I wanted to clarify that we have never said one unkind word about Chelsea’s birth mom. We always presented her in the best light possible (probably too good at times.) We were happy for Chelsea to find her, if she wanted to. We are the ones who located her. It’s just the way that Chelsea has handled it, that is so disappointing. Then today, I go to her MySpace page to write her a note, and am greeted with a banner saying, “One Life One Chance (her online nickname) is spending the holidays in England!” What a great way to find out that information. Very inconsiderate on her part, and it hurt. I guess the two things that have hurt most, were that she invited her mom to move in with her, and now she plans to spend the holidays with her in England, without ever saying a word to us about it. I don’t think anyone reading this would deny that Christmas is a family time, and we are her family. We are the ones who raised her, loved her, and took care of her when she was sick. We were there when her mother walked away. She shouldn’t act like we don’t exist, just because she’s found her birth mom. I am very hurt by her lack of sensitivity, and she could have easily handled the whole situation better, but chose to think only of herself (as always.) If she had even been thoughtful enough to talk it over with us, I would have said that Christmas in England was fine, but she didn’t. She just plastered it all over her MySpace page, so she could be the envy of her friends, and possibly to hurt us. (She seems to be playing games lately.)

I have had it. This child has brought me so much heartache and sorrow, that I am weary. Just weary with all her drama, narcissism, and self-centeredness. She is almost 20, and old enough to know how to be somewhat sensitive to the feelings of others. (You would have to know the whole story, to ever understand what life with her has been like.)

My blog is a place where I let it all hang out, and that is what I’ve done.  I make no apology for it. I’m only trying to find a way to get through this very difficult time in my life, when everything is falling apart. Chelsea knows how I feel, as I wrote her an email. For now, I have had all of this rollercoaster I can take. I’m getting off this ride. One day the Lord will wipe away every tear. Sure hope He has lots of tissues…

Please see other articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” Ernest Hemingway

A broken heart-an interesting phrase. It means “devastating sorrow and despair.” I don’t know about you, but when I am hurting, I feel it most in my heart. Huge stabs of pain that are relentless. My heart cracked long ago, but now it is broken in two. We think with our heads, but we feel with our hearts. I believe that a heart is so much more than a beating machine that sustains life. It is the very center of our emotions.

A broken heart is painful beyond words. It defies description, but if you have ever experienced it-no words are needed. You understand. When we are wounded, we go over and over the tragic events, the hurtful words spoken, and the misunderstandings. Each time we think perhaps this time we will make sense of it all. But it is a fruitless endeavor. Each time we replay the pain, the knife cuts deeper, and peace eludes us. We feel betrayed by our own mind, because it will not stop torturing us. If only it had an “off” button.

The only “off” button, that I have found for my mind lately, is sleep. Sleep is ever evasive for those with broken hearts, but if we are able to chase it down, it is a momentary healer. I only sleep for a few hours at a time, and then I open my eyes, and reality hits me with a sickening thud. For a moment, I thought that my life was a bad dream, but the sunlight seeping under my curtain, reminds me that I have to face another day of physical and emotional pain, for the things I can no longer do for my mom.

I had a prophecy once that said, “Weakness is not wicked.” I didn’t understand it then, but I do now. When my body and mind can no longer function at the present pace, it is not wicked. I am simply weak and exhausted, like poor Elijah, the powerful prophet, who had achieved amazing miracles, but ran from the ever threatening Jezebel. He was weary and frightened for his life. (I can surely relate.)

After running away, he sat down under a juniper tree and prayed to die. (I haven’t reached that point yet, though at times I feel like I’m dying.) And he said, “It is enough.” (I’m there.) What revived him? The kindness and gentle care of the Lord, who sent helpers to make angel food cake (my version). The angels ministered to him, and gave him food and drink. (Last night was the first time in ages, that I sat down, and had a sandwich with my husband, but immediately afterward received a call that pulled me right back into the fray.) I have decided to turn off my cell for now, as I cannot face one more crisis.

So first Elijah prayed to die. Then he fell asleep. Then he ate and drank something, and went back to sleep. It is the only prescription for my sorrow at this point. (Except that sleep eludes me because of anxiety.) Where is that Lunesta butterfly when you need him? (If only life were that easy.)

And then again, the angel of the Lord came and touched Elijah, and told him to eat and drink because the journey was too great. That is right where I find myself. The journey is too great for me-too overwhelming-too heartbreaking-too emotional-too physical-too impossible.

But Elijah went in the strength of that meal for forty days and nights. As I feed on the Word of God, I trust Him to strengthen me for the journey ahead-the one that is too great for me.

And then he found a cave-a place of refuge-a place where he felt safe and secure. I must find such a place, for it was there that God spoke to him in a still, small voice. It is impossible to hear that still, small voice in the midst of the chaos that I have been living in, for I have surely gone through the wind, the earthquake, and the fire, but He was not speaking there. He speaks in the still, small voice, and I must be still, and know that He is God, and that He will never forsake me or my family.

God asked a question of Elijah,”What are you doing here?” Of course, God knew the answer, but I believe that he was allowing Elijah to tell his story (to get it off his chest). It is so wonderful to know that the Lord listens to us, when others ignore our cries for help. He knows we need to pour out our hearts to Him. (David did this often.)

But after Elijah told God all that he had been through, and how alone he felt, God reassured him that he was not the only one left-there were many believers still. How vital it is to know that we are not alone. God reassured him, and gave him a new mission. And it was to mentor a successor-to throw his mantle on someone else, who would be able to take over where Elijah left off.

And he journeyed on, and found Elisha, and Elijah cast his mantle on him. I believe that it is time for me to cast this mantle (of the care of my mom) on someone who can help me carry on. I have felt that no one could care for her like I have, and I have put untold pressure on myself to be everything she needs. But I have learned that I can’t be Sam, and I can’t be God. I can only be me, and do the very best that I am capable of, while still remembering to take care of myself and my family. (The last part has been completely impossible.) And that is why I feel like Elijah-frightened, exhausted, and alone. I must delegate my care of her, because I will surely die, if I keep on as I have in the past.

Perhaps all of this is a necessary crossroads, for I would never have admitted that I am about to collapse, (other than to Rob), who hears it continually. For 3 years, I have laid down my life for my mother, and like Elijah, I am now weak and weary, and in need of ministry myself.

Lord, send your angels to minister to me. Help me find rest, and food and drink to sustain me. Meet me in a place of refuge and security, where I can hear Your voice, so that I can be strengthened for the journey ahead, wherever it leads.

Heal my broken heart, Lord…

I have often wondered about sorrow and joy. Why does there seem to be so little joy, and so much sorrow? But then I remember one of my favorite poems by Kahlil Gibran, and I would like to share it with you:

Then a woman said, “Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.”

And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

When I was younger I was so enamored with Kahlil Gibran, and I think it was because of his great sensitivity. I identified with many of his thoughts, and I knew that he must have suffered a great deal to be able to understand life so well, and write the things that he did. He was well acquainted with death, as his sister, Sultana, died of tuberculosis at 14, and the next year his brother, Bhutros, also died of tuberculosis, and his mother died of cancer.

Though many of his writings deal with Christianity, and condemn the corrupt practices of the Eastern churches and clergy of that day, he uses many spiritual terms in his writing and poetry, and his maternal grandfather was a Maronite Catholic priest. I commend him for exposing corruptness, for it is not a church or a minister that I serve, but only God. I have been hurt, and helped in church. Church is really not a building, it is a body of believers of Jesus. We are the church.

Somewhere along the way, as a Christian, I thought I had to give up his writings. And where I got that idea I don’t know. Perhaps because New Agers and other cult groups quote him also. But I have found peace with any misgivings I may have had about that, as the older I get, I find myself returning to his words that always speak peace and truth into my soul.

In the end, it is the human experience that unites us and draws us together. I can have my beliefs, and you can have yours, and still I can learn from you, and you, hopefully, from me as well. I believe our lives are a living testimony of the God we serve. I don’t need to preach to you–I need to live the Word. (But how often I fall short of that goal and desire. Still, I don’t stop trying.)

Since we sold our Christian coffeehouse, Crossroads, I have been at a loss as far as church goes. We had a Bible study there on Sunday evenings. A small group of people gathered, and I cooked and my husband and I led worship, and we taught. It was a wonderful group that loved each other dearly, prayed for each other, and actually saw quite a few healings. But the coffeehouse did not make enough money to even pay the expenses, and the rent was so high that we could not continue after 4 years. Our minister from a church we attended for many years–a Charismatic church (Spirit-filled) called Abundant Life, came to the coffeehouse and ordained Rob and I as ministers. It was so special, but shortly afterward we had to sell Crossroads. I have never yet found a church home that I thought “fit”, and my husband and daughter have attended another church, which was especially good for my daughter. Now she attends services in a movie theater, and my husband visited last Sunday, and likes it a lot. So at any rate, I’m not against church at all, but I have been hurt there, and I don’t like to “play” church. I want to see the Gifts of the Spirit in power, and I think the church should do what Jesus said we would do-free the captives, heal the sick, raise the dead. The power is there, but the church seems to fall into established procedures, and always regulates everything so tightly, that it is difficult for the Holy Spirit to move in power. I am looking for a church where He does have freedom. I live very close to the Brownsville Revival in Pensacola, and it was anointed (though even that ended in strife that was finally settled), and I LOVE to watch the Toronto Airport Revival from Canada.

I would love for us to have our own (unconventional) church or a Bible study again someday. It was so much fun to meet in a coffeehouse atmosphere, and be casual and comfortable. It is in my heart to teach, and I especially love to minister to women. Women can sometimes be so cruel to each other, and we need to be there for each other instead of hurting each other, as life is very difficult, and we really need each other.

I will not allow the things that hurt me in this life to make me bitter, because I can be of no use to anyone if I am bitter. I will always look for the good in people, and thank God for the ones who are faithful friends. We all let each other down at times–not one of us is perfect. It is love that makes the difference. Can we still walk in love? Even when we hurt so much we can hardly function? ( Okay, I’m trying.)

As the poem said the very things that have brought us sorrow, have also been our greatest joy. No one can really hurt us unless we care about them. If we didn’t care, it wouldn’t hurt. The people we love the most, often bring the greatest sorrow. But would we ever say that we are sorry that we have loved? I would not. There is nothing in my life (even the things that have brought me the greatest pain) that I would change. Because it is in those things that we grow, and we are changed into His likeness. And those are things that will make us more like Jesus, (or as hateful as the devil.) We have a choice to turn bitter, or as I said in my post yesterday, to release a sweeter fragrance when we are crushed.

No matter what the outcome of your honest efforts, don’t give up. When they say you’re finished, you’re just getting started. When they say you can’t, say, “Yes, I can.” When you want to fall into depression, put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. God still has a plan for you, and He will bring it to pass. When others say it can’t be done, do it anyway… 

Please view other articles that I have written here:

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Today was my counseling session. I have finally narrowed it down to once a month. I started when my dad was dying in the hospital, and kept on through the adjustment of caring for my widowed mom, and some continuing problems with my daughter. My counselor is a Christian, and I know God brought us together. Sometimes I think all we really need is for someone to listen. Luckily for me, my insurance pays some of the cost.

It’s funny, now that I am just going once a month, I have already weathered and worked through so many things, by the time I see her. But isn’t that true for all of us? Whose life is not a roller coaster of emotions and situations? The ebb and flow of life can be counted on.

One of my favorite authors is Kahlil Gibran, and in his book The Prophet, he writes:

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

I really relate to that. Who can make us weep, but the one we care so deeply about? We are suspended always between sorrow and joy. They are definitely inseparable.

He also writes about pain:

And a woman spoke, saying, “Tell us of Pain.”

And he said:

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,

And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.

That’s incredibly beautiful to me, though I don’t claim to understand it in its entirety. But somewhere deep within, I get it. Pain and trials form character in us, like nothing else can. We learn to be steadfast and to overcome. And we learn to be weak, and fall on our knees before the One who is so much stronger. He said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (We are weak, but He is strong. A truth we sang as children, but have yet to learn.) The Word also says, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Now that’s a thought, isn’t it? In the upside down world of the Kingdom, it’s another paradox.

God empties out everything that is “us” before He fills us with Himself and all His attributes. As long as we think we can do anything on our own, His grace and strength will not appear. But when we realize that we are nothing without Him, we can achieve the impossible.

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “God will have no strength used in His battles, but the strength He imparts.”

I like what Kahlil Gibran wrote about accepting the “seasons of our heart”, just as we accept the seasons that nature goes through. The good thing about that is we learn that no one emotion will overtake us-good or bad, because like the seasons, we are changing, and going through a divinely inspired transformation. And sometimes it takes joy to transform us, but a good deal of the time, it requires sorrow. Why? I think because we are vulnerable in the place of sorrow. We give no place to self-reliance when we are hurting, and we are more apt to hear the voice of God, and to willingly receive His correction, guidance, and love.

What season of the heart are you in today?

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