Thursday, February 28, 2013

IYR Overview

I'm sitting down to write at this moment not because I have something I've been dying to write about, but rather, because I've made a commitment to myself (and to you!) to write more!  I'm working on become more faithful to the things I've committed myself to.
One of the other things that I've committed myself to is a new program at Mercy House in Meadville, Pa called "Imagine You Renewed."  I mentioned a few posts back about being challenged to feel things and just sit with pain for a while.  That challenge stemmed from our weekly podcast last week.
I have a lot of goals I hope to accomplish with "Imagine You Renewed."  Some of them are practical and simple, like taking some time to focus on me and my health again.  Using this period of time where I do not have a job, and I only have one child in the house most days to really care for myself.  Some of them are more spiritual.  I have come a long way in my regular spiritual disciplines, but, I LONG for more.  I desire to feel God directing me more often.  I want to feel more confident about what the Bible says.  I want to not worry about life as much as I do, and I really want to feel more comfortable about what happens after death. And, I really, REALLY want to grow my prayer life more.  I'm struggling in this area.  And I know prayer is an area I'm gifted in naturally, which means that this ends up being one of the areas I struggle with consistency the most!  And, of course, another main goal is physical.  I want to be more in shape and lose more weight.
The program include a group therapy-like session and 2 exercise classes a week.  
I'm part of a team of four other ladies.  I do not know any of them outside of IYR, so it's challenging.  However, I'm committed to helping them be accountable. I want to find ways to connect with them outside of group, which makes me a little uncomfortable, but I'm willing to do it!  I actually want to be a really good example for them, because I've got tons of experience with true accountability and encouragement!
I'm sure I'll be referencing Imagine You Renewed off and on over the next couple of months, so I thought I would just share a little bit about it with you.

I really like interactive blogs, and as I mentioned before, I really want to practice my spiritual discipline of prayer, so I would like to know from my readers if there is anything I can pray for you about.  You can share it on my comments section, or you can email me at  I like that you take the time to read what's going on with me, and I would like to do the same for you. :O)

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Day After...

Last night, I bravely, and very uncomfortably felt things I didn't want to.  It was awful.  The pain was suffocating.
BUT---Today, I truly feel renewed.  
The hurt is still there, but I saw that the pain didn't kill me.
I woke up.
I exercised, showered, ate a healthy breakfast, studied God's Word with friends, ate a healthy lunch, walked 1/2 mile (a good start for me) and I feel incredibly accomplished and hopeful.  
That challenge was just what I needed.  I'm glad I did what I was supposed to and that I chose to be obedient to God's call on my life last night.  
It's a small success...but it is success. :)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Feeling what I need to

I keep promising myself I'll write more. 
But, life has been so tough lately, that I really haven't even wanted to write.
However, one of the challenges that I've been given is to really let myself feel pain instead of hiding from it.  (I'll talk more about this challenge and where it stems later on.)
The premise of the challenge was to get quiet and alone and then just feel how your body reacts to thinking about a situation that has caused you pain.  Do you feel tightness in your chest?  Do you feel your heart rate quicken?  Do you feel sick to your stomach?
I do.
But, I feel something that's harder to describe than those things.  It's a thick, swirling, almost suffocating canopy of grief.  Sometimes it seems to cover just my heart.  Other times, it seems to veil every part of me.  Almost like it's swallowing me up.
My only two escapes from this feeling have been food and sleep, neither which are effective for the long term.  Praying about it seems to sap every ounce of living energy I have left in me.  I feel so tired of talking about it, even to the Lord.  I feel like I've failed Him, along with so many other people.  
I have had countless people tell me I shouldn't feel like I've failed.  We tried something very hard.  It didn't work out.  I know it's not for everyone.  I know all those things to be intellectually true.  
But, I think some of that thick veil of grief is because I thought I was led to this.  I thought I was strong enough.  There's a command right in God's word to care for orphans.  I wanted to live in a beautiful, sacrificial way.  I wanted to bring glory to God in a way that I knew I could do only by living through Him. I knew I would need His power and His grace to get my through.  
Except, when push came to shove, even with relying on God, even when giving my life to him literally every second of the day, I still couldn't cut it.  
I think of the women I've met who have been called according to this life that I was seeking that CAN cut it.  My friend Ann, who has been so courageous, giving up so much, and beautifully adopting 5 kids from the foster system.  I think of my friend Brandy who adopted her 4th child through foster care.  I think of several of the beautiful faces I've seen at our foster care trainings, all who have what it takes.
And then there's me.  I didn't make the cut.
I know everyone says I shouldn't feel like a failure, but I do.
And the pain of that failure is raw.  
And I'm letting myself feel it.
I hate that I'm not strong enough.
I hate that I will never be able to adopt children out of a system that tries to be hopeful, but ends up being destructive.
My arms ache for the baby I held just last week.  My soul is ashamed that I couldn't help a two year old move forward from a broken past.
I feel broken.  Weak.  Powerless.  
I even feel "un-Christian."
I do not even feel like myself.
I know I can't hide in slumber or try to protect myself from people's questions or concern.
I know I have to face this fear and hurt.  Now.  I can't let it ruin who I am and what God may have next for me.
I know I have to find solace in the fact that Psalm 51 says that a broken spirit is just what God needs to use us.
I need to move to a place of gratitude for my little family of four, that may never be any bigger.  I need to move past the hurt of what Lydia endured over the last few weeks, at the hands of a child smaller than her.  I need to move past the words that are meant to help, but feel like a chiding instead.
As I glance at my husband, sitting in the other room, I can't help but wonder if he feels disappointed in me.  He promises he doesn't, but it took him SEVEN years to feel okay with this step in our life.  Seven years.  And, now, it's over.  In just a matter of days.  
I just feel defeat everywhere I turn.  To everyone I turn to.  I'm not even sure if the Lord wants to hear from me...I mean, I know He does, but in my heart, it just doesn't feel like it.
So, there.  I'm writing about my pain.  I'm feeling it.  I'm not hiding anymore.  
No one needs to understand it.  No one needs to try to make me feel better. I just needed to feel it.  And this is the one place I knew I could accept the challenge to feel what I needed to.