Sunday, September 5, 2010


The intention when I started this blog was that I would have something to share each day about my walk with God. It would be a new start of sorts, hopefully showing progress rom start to finish. It seems I have failed that initial attempt. Ironic, considering I just purchased the movie Julie & Julia. Julie struggled everyday to try something new, apply some skill, and blog about it to whomever was reading. I have not gotten all the way to the end, but it looks like that drive for success, the desire to actually accomplish a goal, killed her realationship with her husband. I haven't watched it to the end, so please, no spoilers!

Discipline is something I lack in my life. I used to possess it to a certain degree. Life was manageable then. Sometimes now it feels like my life is spinning out of control. Not sure when or why or how I came to the point of...apathy. Some things would surprise you. I am not confessing them here. In a brief conversation with a friend from church, we discussed married life vs single life, the pros and cons of both. I've very well come to the conclusion that while there is more work in a marital relationship, in setting up and keeping house together, at least there is another to help carry that burden. In the chaos that has ensued in my life in recent weeks, I have not touched laundry except for what can get me through work for the next few days. I just moved into this small bedroom, and nothing is unpacked yet, nothing is sorted and organized. It's almost like living out of a suitcase. I have not carried my share of housework in weeks, have not sat down and gone over my budget in a month. Between work and hospital visits, there has been no time for anything. Perhaps it would be "easier" to have a helpmate at this point. But suddenly am overwhelmed with the thought of sharing certain burdens with another, and hardly think it is fair or right to do so.

I know I am rambling. All these things tie together in my mind, though I fail to make the connections here.

Do I dare pray for more discipline in my life? Ugh. I know much of what I lack in discipline, and do NOT look forward to facing those consequences. So I guess for now I will bury my head in the sand, at least in some regard. In others I will try to press on. For now, it's bedtime.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


This week has been a whirlwind of working and trying to sleep. Wednesday evening I learned my Dad was having a heart cath on Friday. On Friday we learned that Dad would need a quadruple bypass. They originally thought he had 3 blockages, and were going to try to put stents in. The blockages were too big for stents. And there were 4. I have never known a heart to spontaneously and suddenly grow another vessel, essentially developing it's own bypass. But then again, this is my Dad I am talking about. He is the one who had a grenade blow up in front of him, and all he had was a small shrapnel wound because he tripped on his shoelaces. He is the one who has escaped death a million times because of some small thing, some simple thing, or some divine thing. In a part of a city where he did not realize he was unwelcome, he parted a sea of thugs to get to the parking lot to discover it had closed an hour before, but if he had the parking stub he could get into the garage and get his car out. He has never left his parking stubs anywhere else but the visor of the car. He reached into his pocket for his phone to discover his parking stub there. He was shocked.

I know that my heavenly Father has a hedge of protection around my earthly father. My earthly father is entirely too self-sufficient and prideful to accept that, or to even think of it with any gravity.

I am confident that my Dad will survive his quadruple bypass next week. There is just enough doubt, just enough fear, however, to raise panic and anxiety. In the meantime the waiting is torture for us all. My Mom is a wreck, remembering outcomes of bypass surgeries when she was a nurse 30 years ago. She fears losing the only man she has ever loved. It will be 42 years of marriage in 2 months. Can you imagine staring down the barrel of the gun that could kill your spouse? Your Dad?

I went to see Dad after work yesterday. I got to the hospital just after he had been transfered from the 7th floor to the 5th. No one knew where he was, because it apparently takes at least 30 minutes to click in the computer that a patient has been moved. And did you know there are 3 of Room 523? North, East, and West. I had JUST talked to Dad on the phone, he told me he was in 523. I was told he was on 7th floor. After searching and searching and finding the unit clerk that was around the corner from my Dad's room (I did not know this til later) less than helpful, I walked out, back toward the main entrance, found the hallway empty, and collapsed in a corner and cried for 10 minutes straight. The hospital had lost my Dad. Eventually I pulled myself together enough to go searching again, ignoring any other staff member who offered their assistance (the previous 4 people were useless). I stormed by the unit clerk who had blithely told me that if Dad wasn't on 7th floor and he wasn't in 523, he could not help me. I kept going past the signs that said "Restricted" and walked down hallways where the room numbers made no sense. Finally I heard my Dad's voice. "Shannon" he called out. I have never been so glad to hear him call my name.

My distress at this point is that there is not enough time to do everything that has to be done. I have to find a place for my parents to live for 3-4 months while Dad recovers. I have to find people to help pack up the house, load everything into a UHaul and unload it all into storage. Which means I also need to find a storage facility for the stuff to be in for the next 3-4 months. I am at a point where I NEED to be working 55-60 hours a week to be able to pay for car repairs and other bills that have snuck up on me. Somewhere in the midst of this my laundry needs to be done, and I will be staying with Mom for the forseeable future while I pay rent in Ann Arbor.

Please do not get me wrong, I do not feel any resentment for any of these things. But I am overwhelmed. And am no sure where to turn. I have already turned to my church, and the answer was silence but for a couple people who are particularly invested in me, and in whom I am also particularly invested.

I am disappointed in this body of Christ. Saddened. And perhaps a bit angry. I am uncertain of so many things right now, and my faith has been faltering. And this is when the body choses to show it's backside. Awesome.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


"(The adulteress) will pursue her lovers but not catch them; she will seek them but not find them. Then she will think: I will go back to my former husband, for then it was better for me than now. She does not recognize that it is I who gave her grain, the new wine, and the oil. I lavished silver and gold on her, which they used for Baal. Therefore, I will take back My grain in its time and My new win in its season; I will take away My wool and linen, which were to cover her nakedness. Now I will expose her shame in the sight of her lovers, and no one will rescue her from My hands. I will put an end to all her celebrations: her feasts, New Moons, and Sabbaths -- all her festivals. I will devastate her vines and fig trees. She thinks that these are her wages that her lovers have given her. I will turn them into a thicket, and the wild animals will eat them. And I will punish her for the days of the Baals when she burned incense to them, put on her rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but forgot Me." This is the LORD's declaration.
~Hosea 2:7-13

A beloved friend LOVES the book of Hosea. The book of a minor prophet? Really? I asked myself. I started reading it last week, and found it interesting. And put it away for another day. This weekend, I began reading a book which, in it's first chapter, compares the Gospel of John to Hosea. Hmm. So I went back to Hosea.

This passage struck me. I thought about my country, and the condition of it's government, culture, and economy. Though I am no expert in any of these things, I participate in all of them to varying degrees.

Our government is riddled with greedy socialites. There are no more statesmen, no more men (or women) of good repute, working hard to make the country better. Everyone has an agenda, a personal goal to achieve in "service" to the US of A. Majorities are purchased by lobbyists and their agendas, trading one favor for another, to gain hold of a vote to pass their bill in order for them to make more money, to take control of something away from the someones most affected by their decisions, by the votes of those who have already sold their dignity, pride, and character.

Our culture has changed drastically over recent years. I heard something on the radio yesterday, a program that aired on TV just 50 years ago, when my parents were teenagers. A brief comment struck me - people purchased TVs JUST to be able to watch this ONE show. Most Americans didn't own TVs then. So people had parties or just a get-together to watch a TV show. Those who had, shared with those who had not. But somehow over time everyone HAD to own their own TV. Homes now have TVs with cable or satellite in more rooms than there are people to watch them. The graduating class of 2014 will never have lived in a time when a home had a phone where you had to stand in one place to talk on it. Even I remember the phone that hung on the wall where the earpiece was shaped like a bell and you spoke into a box. Odd that my 14-year-old neice (who is the oldest) would have no idea what that contraption is. As technology has progressed, and speed of everything has increased, the quality of relationships has decreased. More is always better, and better is always more. More toys, more stuff, more cars, more entertainment, more people, more money, more food. Supersize it. The more even has to be bigger. Not just an SUV, but a Hummer. A couple must purchase a mini-van as soon as the first ultrasound confirms a pregnancy of one baby. A vehicle that seats 7, for 3 people. It's all convenience, status, stuff.

Obama is raising taxes as of Jan 1. The treasury is printing too much money. Entertainers make a bizillion dollars for 6 months of work. Athletes make millions of dollars a year to lose every game. Executives caught in scandals of every kind are given multi-million dollar severance packages. They have just been paid 3 years' salary as a REWARD for an inappropriate sexual relationship or comment, or even for extortion! ENRON anyone? Come on! What the heck is going on??????????????

Greed. It's all greed. It's all stuff, status, and ignorance of how it will all unfold. Read that passage from Hosea again. Think God is telling us something? Think God has something to say? This nation, once built on principle, human conviction, honor, and justice, has been an adulteress for many years. She is getting worse every day, as I read the headlines. As this nation seeks it's usual gods of wealth, fame, and power, God is placing this nation in the midst of a thicket. We can't turn to what we have come to rely upon. The government cannot help us. Not now. Not in this place. The poverty that is striking our nation is our responsibility, and is our problem. We MUST turn back to our God, and recognize that it is HE who has been our Provider. HE who has given us our abundance, our wealth, our ability to choose a vehicle that is much too big for our needs and much too expensive for our budgets. God will put an end to this. But HOW? How will He end our feasting? Our festivals? And when He ends all that, will He restore? He can. But WILL He? Will He do this when we have our backs to Him? Will He restore us when we still seek our way?

The answer God gave through Hosea is beautiful. And encouraging. And best of all, TRUE!
"Therefore, I am going to persuade her, lead her to the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her vineyards back to her and make the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. There she will respond as she did in the days of her youth, as in the day she came out of the land of Egypt.... For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, they will no longer be remembered by their names." ~ Hosea 2:14-17

The conversion here of the adulteress is complete. She doesn't even remember the names of her gods, the things that once tempted her and she willingly chased after. She doesn't need to. Her focus is total upon the Lord God. She need not rely on anyone or anything else for her fulfillment. Not stuff. Not choice meats. Not offerings to false gods. But the love of the One True God who does love her, even though she chased after other things, used the blessings He gave her to attract the attention of the false gods, the men, the attention and affection....

In one moment God is casting judgment on her, because He is holy and just. In the next he is wooing her, drawing her to Him because He loves her and wants her as his love. And He restores her.

When this nation casts down her idols, and turns her heart back to the Lord, He will restore us. He will provide for the poor and the destitute when their hearts belong to Him. He will comfort the widow and the orphan and the lonely among us. He will lay claim to hearts that once did not belong to Him.

All I can say is, aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh............................

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Let the healing begin....

For the past few weeks, I have been treading water. At least, I thought I was. I thought I was doing okay. Hurting, but making it. But on Sunday, I was proven wrong.

Sunday I was angry. REALLY ANGRY. Anger and I don't do well together, at least when that energy is unfocussed. And on Sunday, it was unfocussed. I said things I had no right to say. To people who had no right to hear it. May God bless my beloved friends for the patience to deal with me that day....

All day, though, something wasn't sitting right with me. God was trying to knock ever so gently on my heart to let me know that I was wrong. I opened the door just a crack, and said, "Yes, God, I am wrong. But for now I want to continue being wrong." So I closed the door. Ugh!

In the evening I went out to an amazingly wonderful dinner with my family to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday. I was quiet. Brooding over an exchange that had just taken place, anticipating the final word. There I sat, too pissed off to acknowledge the special occassion with the regard it deserved. I was there. But not.

I got home, full from a large and delicious meal that I could not taste because of the bitterness in my own mouth. I knew the poison had to leave. So I wrote a letter, letting the Holy Spirit guide me. I knew the Scriptures that came to mind to write the letter. I know them. And I did not obey them. I believe them, though did not believe their fullness. Until I wrote this:
My heart is black. This is my confession to you. I stand accused, tried, and convicted of your murder in the eyes of God.
I sat staring at those words, taking them in in a way I had not before. I can look myself in the eye and call myself a murderer. Not with any kind of weapon but the tongue. The same tongue that I enjoy food with. The same tongue I praise my God with. No wonder the dinner I knew was delicious had no flavor. No wonder God allowed me - though just or a minute - to shut the door....

So I confessed it all, wrote it out, and pondered the mode of delivery. Then I went to bed.

The meal sat in my stomach like a rock. I did not feel good. I woke in the middle of the night, unwell. I woke in the morning for work, and was nauseated. I took the day off work, knowing I would not feel better until I did what God called me to do. I hand delivered the letter.

We discussed it for a while. It changes nothing. Nothing about our relationship. Nothing about what we have done, where we were heading. But perhaps it opened a door for healing between us. Not restoration. But healing. That healed the anger in me. There is still a journey of learning ahead. And plenty more healing where this came from. But it started the forward progression.

It can be so difficult to listen to the heart of God telling where you are wrong. That conviction can cut like a knife. But oh, how sweet to know that the pain is at the hand of my God who loves me.... And that He will also heal that pain. I have prayed to never forget what happened - to remember the fire of anger blackening my heart, the way it felt to plunge a knife into another person with my words, the physical sickness that was a result of a spiritual darkness, the pain of the Lord's conviction, and experiencing the first threaded needle puncture into my heart to stitch it back together....

Lord, I am yours.....

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Silence is rare. It is the absence of sound. One small, tiny thing breaks it. I can't tell you the last time I sat in silence. There is always the whirring of the fan, the chirping of birds, the hum of traffic, the din of a radio or TV. I have a hard time getting to sleep in silence. I have wondered why....

It is because in that void, I am alone. Totally, completely, utterly alone. Left with my thoughts, my fears, and more recently, my anger. I do pretty well if I don't have to think about it. If I am not reminded of it. The load at work has certainly been helpful. I can ignore the anger, and the pain that triggered the anger. There is entirely too much to do! And I am grateful for the distraction.

Over the coming week and next weekend, I am moving into the small bedroom across the hall. Today I will finish painting, hopefully with a couple friends. At some point I will start moving the furniture in there, and try to minimize my posessions to fit in the small, cramped space. Somehow, all the stuff that barely fits in the 14x12 room I am in now will have to fit in a very awkwardly proportioned room that is also perhaps 1/3 smaller.... I do not know how that will happen, as I have also re-accumulated items once conveniently stored elsewhere, and will continue to accumulate things from my parents as they prepare to move.

So the minimizing, sorting, selling, donating, discarding, and moving all needs to happen amidst a 60-hour work week. Not to mention there are friends I have not seen in months that I want - and need - to catch up with. And small group. And a roommate meeting. And getting supplies for a weekend at the beach with long-abandoned friends. In the midst of all this planning and doing and scheduling and visiting and working, there is no time to "deal" with things. No time to breathe a breath just for me. I know parents out there can relate. But we single folks are busy people too. Minus the support of a husband and perhaps sometimes-helpful children.

So there will be no silence this week, where I am left alone to struggle with my thoughts and hurt and anger. No time to invest in the healing process which might redeem a friendship that has been at the receiving end of a hand grenade. But I guess I can keep my sanity. For now. Until some small thing goes wrong, and all the lava just below the surface bursts through the top of the volcano because there is just too much force, too much energy, behind that lava.

Oh Lord, grant me grace this week. You know all my needs. ALL my needs. You know my heart, and the blackness in it right now. Father God I pray that You would help me this week.... Above all other earthly needs, Lord, I pray that You would help me keep my eyes fixed on You. You are my Source. My breath is because of You. I thank You in Jesus name.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Just a few words....

I am simply feeling empty tonight - spent, ehausted, worn out. It's amazing to me how just a few simple words can either give you the energy you need to get to the next step, or suck the life from you.... For me this weekend, these words have had some surprising sources.

As I deal with the aftermath of decisions made, I am grateful for my friends, for their listening ears and compassionate hearts. I am grateful for the friend that called me out on some things today. However, we did not have the opportunity to go into any further discussion of her wisdom, so I am left to ponder this without further insight. I am hoping that we will have time to discuss this over the course of the week.

In unrelated news, I spoke with my former boss this afternoon via chat. She initiated the contact, which meant alot. We chatted about the recent changes in the office - a flood and subsequent remodel, changes in staffing - and some personal stuff. She and I used to be friends, and when she became my boss, it was a rough transition for both of us, especially when I fell short in performing my increased job duties. A month or so ago, I emailed her, asking her if we could get together for lunch or coffee or something. I didn't hear from her, til today. She explained some things from her side, understood mine, and as I prayed about this more than a month ago, I think we may be able to bridge the gap and become friends again. Perhaps not as close as we once were, but I am glad that some steps have been made, on both parts, to reconcile our relationship.

I am looking forward to seeing where God takes this. Maybe no further then here. But it's nice to know, in times like this, that healing can happen. It gives me hope.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fairy Tales

Since my youth, I always wanted one of those fairy tale lives.... You know, the life that was fun even before meeting the prince, but had even more meaning after.... The life that, though perhaps there was heartache and struggle, would prove itself to be abundant and hopeful. I wonder now where that hope went....

Do fairy tales really set us up for heartache? As little girls (especially) we hear the stories and start building our expectations for the future. There is so much expectation, so much anticipation, and the characters in the stories seem perfect, that the epic failure of two people to meet that expectation can be utterly devastating.

One person stops trying, another gives up hope. They are left then in a darkness that overwhelms them both. Their dreams shatter like glass in their hands.

Please don't understand my rant here to say that I have given up, that in my experiences of brokenness I don't even want to try anymore.... I do. But I was told today that this has been easy for me. But it has not been. Work has been a reprieve. 26 hours of overtime in 1 week has helped me stay sane, helped me to keep my head above water. But on a Saturday night when perhaps we would have otherwise been watching a movie on the couch, or sharing a pizza and some hopeful conversation, I am alone with my thoughts, and with some messages I am not sure what to do with....

Life is easy for me, eh? No, it is not. For all my happiness that I share, there is sadness and worry that I do not. There are thoughts and worries and fears that plague me that I cannot put to words. Since I cannot express them I cannot move past them. I live behind a fence. Hedged in, unable or unwilling (sometimes I am unsure which) to break out, to push through. Not knowing how. Or even where to start. In some everyday tasks I have to try harder than others. Sure, some things come easy, but by the grace of God, not by my own abilities, not by my own design. And if ease comes from the grace of God, am I to blame for another's difficulty?

Perhaps it seems I am not struggling as much as another. Frankly, I could have worked another 8 hours tonight without a break just to keep this off my mind. There are thoughts I don't care to think, that I don't want to be left alone with. On the other side of the spectrum is the one whose struggles are always at the forefront of his mind, and his station in life at the moment gives his thoughts plenty of time to haunt him, as well....

I am sorry that he hurts so much when it appears I do not.... His anger and frustration bring me to tears, because a part of me feels responsible for his pain.... I cannot carry the burden of two, and I am not all to blame. Nor is he.

I wish I knew what could ease his pain, and what I could do. But I don't, so I can't.

Father God, You are merciful and you bring hope to the hurting.... Won't You do that this night? Won't You bring comfort to Your children who call out to You? Help us to find forgiveness and mercy for each other as we struggle separately and differently. Help us to lean on You and trust You in these hard times. I thank You in advance for Your faithfulness to do so. In Jesus' name.