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Sunday, November 6, 2011

This is Lemons

This is Lemons.

She is a cockatiel.  She is a crabby little bird, who we purchased to have as a buddy and "class pet" (since we homeschool) for the kids.

She turned out to be a bird who snubs kids, prefers adults, and ultimately would rather be left alone.

I will admit that I've been feeling a lot like her the last few months. I have wanted to fluff out my feathers, hide my face, and sleep undisturbed for a really long time.

This summer was very emotional for me. I was forced to re-think and accept some things that I hadn't expected to encounter.  I was led through disappointment, confusion, anger, sorrow...

I went through a grieving process, and my poor sweet husband had to endure each stage that I went through. I must admit the worst was the anger stage, when I just couldn't force myself to be happy and could barely be anything but civil to the world around me.

I finally came to an emotional stop, where I teetered on the edge of feeling like a prisoner in my own life.... exhausted, empty, robotic, and sad. My soul resembled a flat tire. I felt as though I had lost myself. Who was I?  Where was my trust in the Lord? He is where I seek my identity, and it all had seemed to vanish.

One Friday evening I finally fell apart. It had been a long day, nothing had seemed to go right. The evening had only amplified my exhaustion, added to my frustration.

I will simply say it was a Friday night which ended with me pouring my heart out, sobbing, to my confused and concerned husband.

The next day started early for me.  I was sent out the door with a good breakfast made with love, hot coffee in my travel mug, and instructions to go do something fun after my responsibilities for the day had concluded.

That day and the next were vital in refreshing my soul and filling me up just enough to set me back on my feet. My husband took the kids on adventures, allowing me to go looking for ME in the mix of this busy life I lead.

During that time I went to the gym, found myself antique shopping, and ended with a leisurely trip to the health food store. I had time to reflect, pray, and think quietly without interruption.

I returned home feeling refreshed, with a few treasures to show for it as well. I was so glad to see the sweet faces of my family, which in itself was a breath of the 'old me' reviving as well.

I have realized that to avoid this type of exhaustion I need to get out alone more often and spend time with the One who fills me. Without my Shepard, I am truly lost.

I had grown weary and flat during my intensely exhausting emotional roller-coaster, but my pulse was returning.

One of the treasures I brought home from those hours alone is a hand made necklace, crafted from new and old.

The necklace is created from salvaged beads, and closes with an antique button. The flower in front is new, and is perfectly woven in with the old, creating beauty.

This necklace has taken on meaning to me as I have mentally sorted through the past few months and tried to properly place the events, the emotions, and the weekend that began to revive me.

It reminds me of how God daily weaves my life into beauty, one day at a time, after he has salvaged my soul, like the crafter salvaged the beads,  from sin and death.

He has taken the old me: the me that messes up all the time, has a bad attitude too often, finds selfishness taking the drivers seat of my life..... the me that can't keep a neat house, hates to put the laundry away, and doesn't delight in cooking meals, who forgets to thank Him for every good thing in my life, and forgets to look at how He is working in my life through the hard times.... the me that forgets that the universe wasn't created and centered around my own little life.... the me that puts too much trust in my own abilities and forgets that He is the vine and I am but a branch- without Him I can do nothing.

The necklace symbolizes a fresh start. The flower looks to me as if it has freshly bloomed. It appears as if the time ahead of it will lead to deeper and greater beauty, pulling beauty from the salvaged past into it, creating depth and richness that wouldn't have existed without the events that caused the need for rescue and re-use.

With God there is always new hope, the promise of eternal life once I surrender this life that is riddled with sin, misery, emptiness...  He creates so much beauty from the old, the sorrow, the events that lead me to seek Him when I have strayed away or lost sight of His plan for my life. He reminds me that He has put that beauty into each day and He will never abandon me.

Even when I can not see beauty in my day, He has it right before me through His grace, forgiveness, and endless love for me. In my emptiness, sadness, frustration, feelings of sorrow, He is even more glorified when he wraps my soul with His love and reminds me of how richly He has blessed me.

He can take a crabby hurting soul that wants to hide away, and revive it with His love, step by step.

I am so thankful to be done with this summer. I look at a verse that has hung on my kitchen cabinet all summer:

"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths will I guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them."
Isaiah 42:16

It stands out to me so clearly that He guided me through the darkness of my emotions. Through His love, guidance, and the loving gentleness of my husband, my rough places are becoming smooth, and I am steady on my feet again. Tired, but steady.

I have renewed hope, and have been reminded that God is unchanging.  He knows the desires of my heart, and He loves my heart deeply. My sorrow and the loss I grieved have not gone unnoticed by Him. He heard my cries, saw every tear, and was the One that bound my heart together during the times of deepest pain.

I will go forward with renewed strength and reassurance that He has heard me.

I will wait for His perfect timing, relying on Him to fill any emptiness in my heart until the unfulfilled desires I longed for are finally fulfilled, or changed into a different direction which He intends for me.

I will rest in the Lord, and wait patiently on Him.