Walking by Light and Truth

Psalm 43 has meant a lot to me lately, and I want to take a few moments to tell you why.

Everyone goes through tough patches in life. It’s how God grows us. Mine is now, and I’m often confused and lacking hope. Verse 3 says, “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me.” And that’s what I’ve been praying.

When God sends me His light, then I can see more clearly what is happening. I will be more understanding of myself and others, and I will be less likely to react in ungodly ways. How does He send me His light? I think it’s through lots of little and big ways. Through sermons (we just, conveniently, had one on marriages, which is applicable to my problems). Through counselors. Through devotionals and Bible readings. Through books, like the Boundaries book I’m studying. Also through friends who pray for me. Natural light actually produces Vitamin D in our bodies which nourishes us and fights depression symptoms. Spiritual light fights hopelessness in much the same way.

When God sends me His truth, then I know that if I follow His truth, I won’t be wrong. It is reassuring to understand that God’s opinion of me and His understanding of my motives matters more than anyone else’s opinion. If my vertical relationship with God is right, then my horizontal relationships can be out of whack and it doesn’t matter that much because God will either pull them back into position or… I don’t know… leave them the way they are. Because God cares about me. God sends His truth and light to me. And He doesn’t do that to every single person out there.

I still feel in the dark sometimes. But I know God will answer “Yes” when I ask Him to send me His light and truth. And I know He will also answer “Yes” when I ask Him to lead me. It’s a matter of faith. I don’t see all the results yet, but I know God is working on His Yes answer.

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My Beautiful Children

It’s Mother’s Day, but that didn’t mean much to me this year. It does mean something to my girls, so I accept their little gifts. And I notice how sweet my children are. This post is to honor them, and I’ll break my unwritten rule of not using their names on this blog.

Eddie, age 10. He’s in that inbetween age of playing with toys and not playing with toys. He works hard in most school subjects, and has really excelled in math this year. Eddie surprises me with his diplomacy skills, working between his sisters and I to get something accomplished. Yesterday, he convinced us all to go to a park. He wanted to play basketball with the ball he received for Christmas (and which his mother so unfairly forbid him to play with in the house). It was his first time playing basketball, and he’s not that great, but hey… neither am I! I have despised the sport since a young age, but yesterday Eddie and I played PIG and HORSE and it was fun! We both had fun together. I won, surprisingly, but I did get letters. It wasn’t like I skunked him completely. And he was a good sport about it. Afterward, we sat on the big swing together and watched the girls play with their new park friend on the playground.

Lucy, age 9. My gymnast. My mama’s girl. She is so especially nice to me, and I like that. It’s nice to be the favored one, the one Lucy will talk to and share secrets with. Lately, when we play a game, she’ll try to fix it so I win. It doesn’t always work, but then she’ll cheat at the very end so that I end up winning. I don’t advocate this, but it’s sweet of her:) She writes me little love notes and makes lovely homemade cards with pictures of me and her (and of course, a cake, because cakes are fun to draw). At random moments she’ll see me and say, “Moooommmm!” and run up and give me a big hug and kiss. And she loves stuffed animals and cats, just like I did.

Heather, age 7. I don’t think Heather has a selfish bone in her body. She is so generous and thoughtful. She does little secret things to show her kindness to me. For instance, her toothbrush came with a cover, and most nights I’ll find her cover on my brush because she wants me to have the special cover. I always return it to her brush, and I don’t explain about germs because it’s too sweet:) When Heather gets candy, she shares it. When I was sick with the flu awhile back, she took especial care of me and brought me my favorite cat to lie on my bed with me. She loves art, and I love her effort. Heather is so creative. She also makes beautiful homemade cards and writes I Love Mom on just about everything.

Well, I love my children, too. They truly are God’s gift to me.

Spoken To Tenderly in the Wilderness

A kind friend lent me the book Cheer Up! Motivating Messages for Each Day of the Year by Nancy Campbell and Michelle Kauenhofen (2012). Quite honestly, I was so uncheerful that I stuck it away for a few weeks. But today I needed some reading material to take with me to my daughter’s gymnastics practice, and so I grabbed the cheery purple book with a pretty tea cup on every page. I read about a month’s worth of cheer and motivation.

I can’t say that a month’s worth of cheer and motivation has cured my depression or fixed my marital problems. It kind of made me roll my eyes because it was so obvious these ladies had husbands who probably taught them most of this stuff to begin with. Well, that’s my gripe, but I did pull out something that spoke to me…

From the April 10 entry, “Are you going through a wilderness? Take heart. God has promised that in the wilderness experience, He will speak tenderly to you. Hosea 2:14 MLB says, ‘I will take her to the wilderness, and I will speak tenderly to her heart.’ The word is emotive and means ‘from the very heart.’

That’s nice to hear. I have heard some things lately that I believe is God speaking tenderly to me. I belong to a church that loves me. And God put me in my marriage for a reason. So often I believe I’ve messed up. And it’s not that at all, because if it happened, then it’s a part of God’s plan for the good of those who love Him. So this way I am right now, this tension in my house, this miserableness, and the shift of responsibility from myself to my husband, this waiting for him to either forget or react… it’s all controlled by God. He’s speaking tenderly to me as I live each day, and He’s trying to get through to me that He is all I really need.

Reading Jane Kenyon

Every adult novel I pick up these days gets put down again. Too dark. Too much tragedy. I already know this story. Too much drinking. I don’t care.

But I can pick up my volume of Jane Kenyon’s Collected Poems (2005), and I am instantly in a world I understand and want to be in. I’ve liked Jane Kenyon since I first learned about her, but right now I feel like she is a true kindred spirit.

Here’s a poem by her to make us think about summer again.

Peonies at Dusk

White peonies blooming along the porch
send out light
while the rest of the yard grows dim.

Outrageous flowers as big as human
heads! They’re staggered
by their own luxuriance: I had
to prop them up with stakes and twine.

The moist air intensifies their scent,
and the moon moves around the barn
to find out what it’s coming from.

In the darkening June evening
I draw a blossom near, and bending close
search it as a woman searches
a loved one’s face.

— pg. 254

Oriental Poppies

Oriental Poppies by Georgia O’Keefe, 1927

I’m making an effort to think clearly tonight, being honest with myself. Certain things that bother me are bothering me again, and normally this causes a type of confused panic to begin. Lots of points and counterpoints going on in my thought processes, and I get lost and start wondering which point is “the most true.”

Well, here’s my attempt at removing myself emotionally from my own situation.

God loves His children. God can be trusted. God is in control. God’s plan is beautiful.

What do I like about this poppy painting? The heart of small things are monumentally important. Something traditionally beautiful (like flowers, or say, a marriage) can show unusual beauty and interest when examined closely. But see, I can’t even talk about a painting without trying to talk about my own problems. How about this: the painting is startlingly beautiful, kind of like seeing a flower in real truth after only seeing fake flowers.

I just realized how great school was for getting your mind off your own problems. You can bury yourself in the world of academia. Homeschooling doesn’t work so well because it’s studying in the environment of home. Home is vital and must not be buried.

And God’s plan is always the best plan, no matter what I think.

[Afterthought: I suppose choosing a Georgia O’Keefe painting to help me remove myself emotionally from something wasn’t very smart. I probably should’ve gone with something still clinging to the Middle Ages, like Giotto.]

Crazy Things in Our Brains

I just wrote an article about postpartum psychosis, which is thankfully rare among new mothers. It’s a crazy thing when you feel like you are being controlled by something else, you’re hearing voices that aren’t there, you are paranoid of people you used to trust, and you can’t tell anyone about it because no one is going to understand. And that’s just some of the nasty tricks our brains are capable of.

I remember the mood swings and the mama-bear mentality. I remember hating people who said things that I didn’t want my baby to ever hear. I remember really wanting to do things correctly and biblically; I wanted to sing my babies the right songs, teach them the right values… all these major issues that I was squaring away right there and then. I wasn’t psychotic (thank goodness), but I was different after giving birth. It’s a changing time, for certain. I think there should be more awareness about this, especially for the husbands, because the moms just believe in what they believe. The moms are super aware.