Confession…the holidays are a mixed bag of emotions for me.
I have been on a break from blogging. Honestly, since my last post, I’ve decided to continue my education and pursue my Bachelor’s degree and I’ve been applying laser focus to this pursuit (that was a run on sentence…sorry). It’s good and I’m learning lots.
The holidays are upon us and typically this season brings with it mixed emotions. I’ve gone through a lot of loss in my life and this season seems to highlight the losses. I work hard to focus on the abundant blessings that surround me, but there’s still that little shadow. That brings us to the point of this post.
This month, the Pastorman, my affectionate term for my pastor, has been taking us through a series and it’s messing up my life…in a good way. The Ghosts of Christmas Past has been unearthing some…junk in my life. There’s really no other word for it, well there is, but I don’t want to distract with foul language. My point it, Christmas is hard. If you come from a broken, dysfunctional, abusive, or mean-spirited family, this is not a great time. Everyone around you is celebrating family traditions and remembering Christmases from the past. However, if you meet any of the above family descriptions, remembering past Christmases isn’t a source of joy. It typically triggers too many things that would overwhelm you. I get it. So, here’s the deal. Whether you get brave and choose to listen to the talks he has been giving during this series, or you wait until the holidays are over, listen to the series (here is the link again). I know life has sucked up to now, but there could be a purpose for the suckiness. It won’t make it go away, but it might explain it. It won’t fix everything, but it might make it bearable. It might not remove scars, but it might bring deep healing and….HOPE. I dare you.
until another confession…
Confession…I almost quit so many times.
This week is my last official week at community college. This Thursday, I will sit with a group of peers and be recognized for completing the required courses necessary to obtain an Associates degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration on Psychology. I will walk across a stage and shake strangers hands who represent the institution of education. I will accept a rolled up piece of paper that represents the diploma that will come in the mail at a later date. I know it sounds like I’m minimizing the event, but I’m really not. I’m detailing the events that await me realizing that I almost quit. I almost cheated myself out of this experience.
You see, every semester, I wanted to quit. Every semester I told my husband that this was the last one. Yet, by the grace of God and the encouragement of my family I didn’t. Every semester, I signed up for another class and the cycle would being again. However, the last two semester have been different. What changed? Why did I stop trying to quit? Do you really want to know? Here it is. Last spring I realized that I was almost done with the required work. I realized that if I got through just a few more classes, I would be recognized for completing the required work. I didn’t even realize how close I was. Isn’t that silly? The realization gave me the focus I needed to do finish strong.
I suppose you might be thinking, “So why is she bothering us with this post?” I’m so glad you asked. It’s been my dream, since completing high school, to earn my degree. Many of life’s complications got in the way of that dream. Many of my own fears and excuses got in the way of that dream. When I finally enrolled in classes and went through the process of earning a degree, I complained and whined and wore myself out with anxiety. It wasn’t a pretty process. Sometimes, it was downright ugly! Yet, here I am…standing in this place….looking back to that place. I’m on the other side of the work…done. Degree has been earned.
Here’s the point, there are dreams you have that you are afraid to release into the light of day. There are fears and excuses that keep you from even imaging how it would feel to achieve those dreams. Don’t wait for those fears and excuses to go away. They probably won’t. Start moving forward. Kick those fears and excuses aside, and navigate your way through the rubble of life.
You guys!!!!! I’m graduating! I did it! It feels good to look back at the work and feel a sense of confidence and accomplishment. I want that feeling for you too. Go get it!
Until another confession…
Confession…I’ve been reading this passage my whole life and I missed two important details in this passage.
2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.
1. This part of the story is about a man who neither feared God nor cared about what people thought.
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:
2. This part of the story is about people who saw no need for God and looked down on everyone else.
When I’ve read this passage I’ve focused on the widow who bravely pesters the first man for justice. I’ve also focused on the second portion and felt compassion for the man who is being judged by the righteous man with fancy prayers. But today, as I read through this passage, I realized I’ve been the woman who neither fears God nor cares what people thought. I’ve been the woman who sees no need for God to bring righteousness to my life and in the process cast a judgmental look on those who did not met my level of righteousness. Yes, this story is about the widow and the tax collector, but it’s also about us hard-hearted folks, who do not value God’s authority in our lives and find little value in people.
Lately, I’m learning that it’s about the people. God loves people. If I call myself His kid, I’ve got to love them too. If it wasn’t for someone showing me love, how would I have experienced it? It’s food for thought.
Until another confession…
Last semester, during my Intro to Poetry class, we were asked to write a sonnet. I wanted to write about marriage in honor of my anniversary. This is the product of that assignment.
Love Between Whitbys
Untried pledges made by the innocent
To stay through illnesses and poverty
To love, cherish, and protect from neglect
I will cling to you as you cling to me
Life’s pains and joys challenged loves naïve vows
Time brought awareness of love’s true contour
Love doesn’t give answers to why’s or how’s
Love pleads your word of honor to endure
When fleeing in dark times seems appealing
And silence feels safer than speaking words
When pain we encounter leaves us reeling
And there is nowhere to hide from the hurt
Push in into the pain push in to the joy
Push into the love of this girl and boy