Though He Slay Me…

Yet will I trust Him.

Do you ever wonder “If God is so good, why does he let bad things happen to ‘good’ people?”

There’s a fundamental problem with that question.

We are using the same adjective to describe God as we are using to describe people.

Let’s just get one thing straight. Don’t you think that if God is good, then people cannot be described the same way?

 

I’ll let that sink in a minute.

 

God is God. He is infinite. All powerful. All knowing. Always present. Never sleeps. Resides outside of time and space. And He is Good.

 

We are not.

 

Yes, when God made us, and everything around us, he declared it good. But then, we chose ourselves over Him. And everything went to Hell. Figuratively and literally.

 

So, no, we are not good. And so God does not ‘let’ bad things happen to ‘good’ people. We chose evil over Him. and He let us.

 

When Job says in his book, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him..” That just floors me. Because yes, it is God who is doing the slaying. He is the One in Supreme control of the Earth and the Heavens and all therein. He is the Master of the Universe. So yes, everything that happens, happens because God sets it in motion.

 

Now let’s look at what or rather Who caused Job’s suffering….

Job 1:6 “One day the angels[a] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan[b] also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.”

Who’s the One who brought Job’s name up? God.

It wasn’t Satan. God asked Satan to consider Job. It was His idea to smite Job. It’s almost like He gave the Devil the idea.

I’m not saying that God is evil. I am saying, this was all His doing. Not Satan’s, as we like to believe and lay blame on him for every little thing that goes ‘wrong’ in our lives.

 

Why do I bring this up? Because I don’t believe that God is shocked or astounded by our trails or tribulations or suffering… I believe He causes it. And that He is good. And I thank Him for it.

He is God and He knows all. He knows all and He does what is best, always. No question. No doubt.

And this brings me comfort. Because if God has orchestrated my suffering, surely He has a good reason for it and will bring me through it and will bring about good from it, and will use it for His glory. And that is an exciting and wonderful and awesome thing to be a part of.

I know it sounds a little odd… but think about it. God knows ALL. He is never caught off guard. He is never unsure. He is never intimidated. He is ALL powerful and ALMIGHTY.

“In the eye of the storm, you remain in control.

In the middle of the war, you guard my soul.

You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn

Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm”

Heard that song on the radio this morning (KLOVE) and it reminded me how God is always in control of everything that happens to me and around me… and because of that I have nothing to fear. Nothing happens outside his will. I am safe and secure there.

And though He slays me, yet will I trust in Him.

God give me grace to do just that. Forever.

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Beauty for Ashes

A few months ago, I went through some shit. That’s the best way I can describe it, concisely. Sorry to those who have sensitive sensibilities, but this is my blog, and I can use profanity when and where I see fit. And this is such a time.

I don’t say this lightly. I honestly thought and felt for awhile that I might die. I have struggled with anxiety and depression probably my whole life, as far back as I can remember but was never diagnosed with any problem until I finally broke my silence about it back in December 2014. I told my doctor, my primary care physician, that I had just gone through a break up and I felt like it was my fault because of my anxiety issues. She gave me an assessment and then suggested I go to counseling and go on a low dose of Prozac, to see if that might help. I did go on the Prozac but told her I could not afford the counseling and did not look into it further. I honestly wish I  had tried harder back then to get more help, but I did not know how deep the rabbit hole went, until things started to get progressively worse.

I started experiencing panic attacks in February 2016. I went off the Prozac six months later because I was convinced these attacks had been brought on by the drug. To this day,  I don’t know if that is true, because even after I went off of it, I continued to experience attacks and they grew more and more frequent and intense, until May 2017 I was in an almost constant state of anxiety over one thing or another. By this time, my doctor had practically begged me to try another anti-anxiety med – this time she was pushing Zoloft, but I was afraid to try anything else, fearing my problems would only get worse, not better. Well, they did get worse – without the drugs.

I stopped being able to sleep. For four days straight, I could not sleep, at all. I’m not even joking, not even slightly. It was terrifying. I could not function. I could not even make a meal for my daughter. I began crying and could not stop. I called my mom. She came to get Emma and myself and that night at my parents house, I took some Nyquil and finally slept for the first time in four days. But the next night, nope. No sleep again. And the next night, and then I could not go back to work. I did not feel safe to drive. I did not feel like I could handle my classroom. I called out, then again, and again. Finally, they told me I would need a doctor’s note to return. And I did end up seeing my doctor, that Tuesday I went and she prescribed – you guessed it – the Zoloft.

This med instantly calmed me, and I did fall asleep that first night I used it – for a couple hours. Then I woke up, calm, but still could not sleep. And to boot, I had a burning sensation all over my body. My skin felt like it was burning from the worst sunburn you could imagine, only it looked fine. There was no rash or redness, just the sensation. It got worse the next day. I vowed I would not take the pill again. And I didn’t. But by now it was the weekend (because for the first two days after I was prescribed the Zoloft I did not want to take it, but finally succumbed on Thursday night out of desperation) and I could not see my doctor. I had a panic attack, after not sleeping Friday night at all, and ended up calling 911. The paramedics came and took my vitals, they said I was fine. I explained my situation and they had me call my mom. She took me to the ER so I would not incur an 800$ ambulance bill. I got some ambien from the ER doctor. I slept some, but not all that great.

When I went back to my doctor’s that next week, she gave me Lexapro and Trazodone. The Lexapro was for anxiety, and the trazodone was for sleep. That combo helped almost immediately but then my body had to go through some adjustments. The meds made me dizzy and out of it for the first several weeks I was on them. I also started therapy with a Christian counselor. That has honestly made all the difference in the world. Meds can help to a certain extent, but they cannot do the whole job.

Now, it is August, and I have started my new job at a new school. I am much happier than I was before, but the road has been a long one. When I would lie awake at night, trembling all over uncontrollably and not able to relax, I would beg God to let me sleep and help me, but I could not. Knowing that God can answer prayer (hello, Emma) but knowing that answers aren’t always in the timing that we would like (also, Emma) I knew that there was a lesson to be learned through this, and that God wanted to do something, I just did not know what it was at the time. Now, I feel like I am finally beginning to understand.

People who do not struggle with an anxiety disorder really have no idea how bad it is or what it is like. They can’t. It’s something you have to experience yourself to know how truly horrible it is. There really are no words to adequately describe it. You must go through it. So after I began to feel a little better, I began to see how I could potentially help other people who struggle with this, because I have been through it and understand what it is like. Being able to understand something and empathize with another human being on the level of their pain is a gift, and that is what I regard this experience as now. A gift. I know  that sounds a bit odd – but God can turn awful situations into beautiful ones. I have only to look at my daughter to be reminded of that. Isaiah 61:3 says “To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.”

The scripture I have personally been led to, time and time again throughout this mess, has been Isaiah 26:3 which says “You will keep him in perfect peace who’s mind is fixed on you, because he trusts in you.” Trusting God and keeping my mind fixed on Him have been my goals for the past couple months now, and it is not an easy task. I have to continually surrender my desire for control and even my desire to live. I have to continually ask God to help me to trust him, to teach me to trust him. Because my spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. In other words, it does not come naturally for us to to do this. We want to be in control of everything, and that is just not possible.

One thing I realized early on was that I have a fear of dying, not just because everyone does, but because I am afraid of what will happen to Emma once I am gone. I had to give that to God and trust that He will take care of her and provide for her. She is in His hands now, but I have to continually choose to place her there.

While Emma spent the first three months of her life in the NICU, I had to trust God that He would sustain her life and allow her to live and let her come home with me. That was tough, but because it involved her, and not so much myself, I was better able to cope and give it to God. When I started to fear for myself is when it got tougher, but the same principles I learned almost ten years ago still apply today. Take each day as it comes and give it to God, minute by minute if you have to. And the same God who never left my side during that crisis has never left me through this one either.

“Through the valley of the shadow…I will not fear.

I am not alone, I am not alone, You will go before me, You will never leave me.”

(Kari Jobe sings that song. Music has been a great comfort to me during this time, as it always is, and has been a way for God to communicate to me when I did not feel Him as near to me as I would like. KLove is always on in my car, and has been for awhile now. It’s my lifeline.)

 

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Gilmore Girls: Another Year in the Life, PLEASE?!?

 

Just watched the ending of the Gilmore Girls Revival, A Year in the Life. Gotta say, I loved it!!

I’m not sure why all these fans are bemoaning the ending. What’s wrong with Rory being pregnant? She’s 32. Not 16. She’s double her mother’s age when she got pregnant with her. She’s a very capable woman. And her career isn’t exactly panning out like she had hoped. This is life. Things don’t always work out the way we picture them. But then, what does happen is what you make of it. It’s not what happens to you, or what hand you’re dealt. It’s what you do with it. And I think this is a chance for Rory to do something that she probably never saw herself doing, but now maybe she is ready for that chance. Motherhood. New life. A new beginning, or at least a new chapter.

I am a firm believer in this. Because this show has always reflected my life. Well, not always. But I was always drawn to the show, and more specifically Lorelei. I really empathized with her. I admired her fire and tenacity and stubbornness. Because in her, I saw a lot of myself.

And then I got pregnant. Not at 16, but I was still pretty young. Twenty-three, almost 24. So I have always felt a kinship to Lorelei. My family isn’t exactly the same as the Gilmores, but there are similarities. I have never felt like I belonged in my family. Always felt like somewhat of an outsider. So I definitely identify with her there.

And now things have come full circle. I am nothing if not a realist and this is REAL. Which is why I honestly just LOVE the way the writer decided to end this. There are lingering things as well, like with Jess seeming like he still has feelings for Rory… And the question of who the father of Rory’s baby is. What if it was the Wookie’s? I’d honestly love for that to be the case. Because then she wouldn’t have any attachment to the father and it could just be her and her baby.

Anyway, we may never find out. Amy Sherman-Palladino hasn’t said for sure, but there isn’t a definitive answer either way. Which means it’s a definite possibility. Another Year in the Life, please? I love having things to look forward to. And I will always love the Gilmore Girls.

Oh, and I forgot to mention…Rory’s book. OMG! I LOVE that she’s writing a book about her and Lorelei’s life. BEST ending to a show EVER! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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ISIS and Orlando

Is this new to people? Did this just happen for the first time, ever? Because I feel a little bewildered by everyone’s shock and outrage over the Orlando shootings. Did you not see this coming? Because I sure did.
When did life become sacred again? Because last I checked, no one in this country, or even this world really, holds it as sacred anymore. I’m talking collectively, by the way, not individually. As a society, we do not hold life as sacred. And this is why you see people taking it so lightly, and so violently.
You can’t pick and choose which life is sacred any more than you can pick and choose which parts of the Bible you believe in or decide to follow. This is what is happening to our country, our world, and even the church. We are our own gods. We make the rules, and decide which ones we ought to follow and which ones to ignore. And then we get upset when chaos rains down on our heads?
We care more about 50 gay people being shot to death in a crowded nightclub in Orlando on a Sunday morning than we do about 300,000+ innocent children being ripped out of their mother’s womb over the course of an entire year, being ripped apart limb from limb and dumped into a trash can. We care more about criminals being shot to death by police than we do about a police officer being shot to death by a criminal. We care more about those same gay people being murdered in the club that night, by an ISIS sympathizer, than we do about Christians being beheaded by ISIS itself in other countries. Why do we care now? Because it’s in our face. It’s on our doorstep. It’s in our backyard. And now, I’m afraid it may be too late to care.
When our society only cares about lives that matter to them being taken, and lives that are incovenient or far away don’t matter, like the unborn, and the elderly, and the disabled, etc… Welcome to the holocaust. Welcome to Nazi Germany. Welcome to Hitler’s reign. Welcome to history repeating itself. Because we never learn. If some life is not sacred, then no life is sacred. If the unborn and elderly and disabled don’t matter, then no one matters. Got that? Please just do yourselves a favor and shut the hell up. Because a public outcry at this point is just stupid and worthless and will accomplish absolutely nothing at all.
A thought occurred to me today. If it is true that babies are born with a sexual preference (which I don’t believe that is true, but for the sake of argument, I’ll go along with it), what if a gay gene was found, and unborn children could be acknowledged as being gay even before birth? Now, what if those same children were being aborted simply because they were gay? Wouldn’t there be a public outcry against abortion by the gay community? I would definitely think so! So why is there not such value placed on ALL life? Gay or not? This is my problem with the current episode of “Who’s gonna die next, America?” Seriously, wake up and smell the EVIL people! We live in a culture and a society saturated by it. And then we have the nerve to be outraged when a particular evil takes place that we don’t like? Well, I’m so sorry, but… you can’t pick and choose. This ain’t an all you can eat buffet. This is life, and like it or not, there are rules. And when those rules get bent, or broken, or trampled all over, there are going to be consequences. And here they are.
Now, the question is, what are we going to do about it?
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My dream job

You know. . I never actually thought I’d find myself back in the classroom of a school. . But I honestly didn’t even look for this new job I have now!  God dropped it in my lap. . And I actually found it a little hard to believe it when I got it!  The offer letter was sitting in my email inbox and I just read it and read it again, thinking, “there’s got to be a catch.  This can’t be real.  Things like this don’t just happen.” Especially not to me. But it was real and I’ve been teaching Kindergarten now for almost three weeks!  🙂 my favorite grade. . At a charter school in the downtown area.. which I also love.  🙂 the building is awesome! It’s an old fbi building they renovated and made into the school. . And the people there are amazing!  All of them are so nice and helpful!  🙂 and the kids are pretty great too 🙂 I already have my favorites ..

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m not dreaming. .its really real.  The pay and benefits are great!  🙂 and the days off are plentiful! Today is the first already. We have veteran’s day off and so does Emma’s school so. . We are at McDonald’s. . Her favorite place in the whole world (despite it not really being the greatest food. . She is obsessed with hamburgers).. I only take her here rarely. . And we’ve found a new one today so the novelty is helping 🙂 I tried a bacon ranch salad here today..it was pretty good. . For McDonald’s.  Lol gotta love it.  I’m gonna go visit my babies later on today at Kindercare cuz I do miss those little monsters 😦 they were my world for so long.. but things change. That’s the one constant in life you can always depend on: things change. People move. Or move on.  Jobs come and go.  Old people pass on.  New life is born. There’s change all around us. And even with how much I’ve always hated it, I have to admit,  Sometimes change is for the better. And even with the bad there’s always some good to be found.

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What if?

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything. I feel like I’ve been needing to write …for quite some time now, but my life is pretty much a whirlwind…and I don’t seem to find much downtime. Except when I come home, completely depleted of life and energy and otherwise just a big old waste of space… most nights I pick up Emma after work, we come home and plop our butts down on our futon and watch Gilmore Girls… then she goes to bed. I then either get on facebook and scroll through my newsfeed and read article after article and/or look at my friend’s posts and pictures… and then go to bed.. or I watch a show on Netflix and go to bed. I have no life. LOL No really, I don’t. But I do a lot of things.

For one, I work. Monday through Friday, 9am-6pm.. I take care of other people’s children for them. So they can have a rewarding career. I do feel like I have one of the best jobs on earth honestly, because I am taking care of those babies as though they were my own children, and I love them with all my heart… but some times I wonder. I start to think    about…

What if?…

What if I hadn’t dated Nick in high school?

What if I hadn’t transferred to Pinnacle after my sophomore year?

What if I hadn’t left NAU? What if I had majored in Journalism instead of Education?

What if I hadn’t cheated on Harry? What if we had gotten married?

What if I hadn’t gotten pregnant with Emma at 23, almost 24 years old?

And that’s where my what ifs dissolve… Every time.

Because when I try to imagine my life without my daughter… I can’t. She is my life. I would be lost without her, I love her so much, and I hear God’s whisper in my heart… “I make no mistakes.”

God takes our brokenness and make us beautiful.. and that’s how I know. He’s in control of it all. I need not worry, or fear, and wonder “what if’s” any longer. He’s got a plan. And I’m in the palm of his hand.

We all make mistakes, but God works through our mistakes, and sorts through our mess, and makes something beautiful. I believe He actually delights in making beauty out of ashes, because His word tells us that God has taken the foolish things of this world and confounded those who were wise in their own eyes with what He can do through the weak and the helpless and the broken. I think it’s because then we can’t question or doubt that it was really Him, not us, or anyone else, who works things out for good. He took my mistakes, and brought about something beautiful in my life. and even after all that, I continued to go my own way in certain areas of my life, for a couple different reasons, but he has brought me to this place now where all I want is Him. And I can say with complete and total honesty that all I need is Him. I don’t know why it took me so long, especially  since it caused me so much heartache, but it was my stubborn pride that kept me from laying it all down at his feet…

Until now.

No more what ifs.. God will write the rest of my story. And I know it will have a beautiful ending. Because He is the Author and Perfecter of my Faith. He is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. And He will have the last word in my life. I am His workmanship and He makes no mistakes. I am the Prodigal daughter, and I have returned to my Father.

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No. Regrets.

I saw a movie tonight. The Fault in Our Stars. Tore me to shreds. I ended up in the bathroom stall sobbing into toilet paper, thinking of my Opa and me speaking at his memorial service three days after he passed on.

I read from a piece of paper what I felt I needed to say about him. About how he loved me, tangibly, more than I had felt loved by any other person I knew. What I wouldn’t give to have been able to tell him that…

Regret is the worst feeling in this world to me. I used to think disappointment was. It is a close second, but regret tops the charts. You see, before my Opa passed, he was in the hospital recovering from a surgery to remove his bladder (he had bladder cancer) that was supposed to give him more time with us. And I couldn’t bring myself to go see him in the hospital. I had my reasons. Basically, I was a coward. I will regret that to my dying day. Because the last time I saw him, he was already unconscious, and I can’t remember the last conversation we had face to face or what I last said to him or he to me.

I know that when he was laying in his bed, a day before he passed, I lay down next to him and held his hand and he squeezed my fingers, ever so lightly. I told him I loved him and that I was going to miss him. But I wish I would have said more. I can only hope that he knew how I felt. How his love for me and the way he expressed it and how he told me I was beautiful every time he saw me…. Those things still stick with me. I can’t help feel this heavy weight of regret though. I wish, I wish, I wish… And I can never get those moments back.

The other thing that this movie made me think of was my Emma. How I so nearly lost her, after just losing my Opa. But I feel like I somewhat redeemed myself in that no matter how hard it was for me, I went to that hospital every day to see her… Even knowing she might die. I remember one night being called by her nurse at my apartment, and how she told me that they had had to “bag” her which means they’d basically had to do CPR on her, and I could sense the fear and panic in her voice and it scared me to death. I kept asking if I needed to come down and she said no, she was fine now and there was such relief in her voice… it was palpable. She assured me she would call again if I was needed. And I trusted that she would. But there was still that constant fear and worry that they would call me again. And that it would be the end. I don’t know how I made it through those days… those nights. But I like to think that my Opa was watching from above and that he knew the impact he has had on me. That I strive to love her like he loved me.. and I always will. Til my dying day.

Another thing that struck me in the movie was that she was worried about her parents and what they would do once she was gone. She was afraid they’d just cease living or “off themselves” as she put it, and she remembered her mom saying something when she was first diagnosed with the cancer and was in the ICU, her mom said something about she wouldn’t be a mother anymore…after she was gone. And she told her, no, I was wrong. Even after your gone, I will always be your mother. When she said that, I almost couldn’t hold back the tears… I felt that exact way. Even if Emma had died, I would always have considered myself her mother. And I honestly don’t know how I would have gone on, but I know I would have. Somehow, someway. I would never have been the same, that’s for sure. But there is life after death. Life goes on, but death changes you. It changes everything.. as it should. It gives you a new perspective on life. How short it really is. And how you only have one. So you should live it well. And to the full. While you still can..

This movie was powerful and it made me think.. which is something I do a lot of anyway. But this made me think a little deeper than I really wanted to… and for that I’m actually grateful. I needed it. I need to reflect on things that I shove down deep inside more often. Open myself up and get some fresh air… a fresh perspective. It’s good for me. I bottle up too much of what I really feel. Instead, I tend to put on a front, more often than not of anger or I brush things off too easily, act like they don’t matter or don’t affect me. I try to pretend I’m strong. But I’m really not. None of us is. We’re human. And we need each other. And that’s all there is to it.Image

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