Restoration or Resolution? (Final Chapter)

Restoration or ResolutionBeing “all right” is not the same as being of sound mind and good mental health.  It’s sometimes just an answer for people, but it’s sometimes true.  Compared to the “normal” of a sick person, being “all right” is a good day.  And sometimes the things sick people do to make themselves feel “all right” are not the things God would have them do.  This is what the Spirit had been leading me to find out as I stayed at the Eagle’s Nest; this is what He wanted me to know when He sent me to Thessalonica.  “I know you are in pain and confusion.  Here is your cure.”  Stand resolute.  Stay in the Word.  Lean not on my own understanding but on God.  I just needed to follow these guidelines in order to keep from falling into other difficulty, other sorrow, other illness.

After studying those books over and over again, sitting and contemplating what they mean, I have decided they mean a little of both.  First of all, they are a call to be resolute in following Christ, to follow the teachings in those two books.  For if one follows that teaching, although the path to restoration is still difficult, the chance of further problems from bad choices, those things one does to “feel better,” are eliminated.

In those dark moments of time at the Eagle’s Nest all my mind could fathom was restoration, the promise Christ gave me.  But in reality, He was telling me to stand firm in the truths I knew, for those truths would lead to the restoration I was needing.  That resolution to follow Him, even when I didn’t understand how He could “let” all these events happen, was the message.  The resolution would ultimately lead to a restoration.

I encourage you.  Stay resolute in talking with God (I’m not sure yelling and saying all sorts of horrible things to Him counts, but…).  Stay resolute in attending church; even when we aren’t feeling very “Christian,” go anyway; it eventually draws our hearts into peace.  Stay resolute in following Biblical guidelines; they’re for our health, not God’s.

“And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage one another with these words.”  1 Thessalonians 4:17b-18

Our Sunday School lesson this past week was about Joseph, the son of Jacob, the favorite son out of the 12, the son who got the beautifully ornamented robe.  The son hated by his brothers.  How could one ever imagine being sold to the Egyptians as a young man, just a boy, would work for the glory of God and the betterment of men?  But it did just that.

Over the years I have seen people dealt such harsh blows that I didn’t know how they could stand.  But they did and do.  Not only stand but firmly still trust that God is in control.  A young man who lost his wife and girls in a car accident.  A mother and father who forgives the drunken driver who caused the death of their daughter.  The list goes on and on.

I will never understand the “whys” of this life nor am I strong in my faith as these other people.  There are truths I know for a certainty because God in his wisdom and loving kindness has shown them to me.  Why He would do such a wondrous thing is beyond me.  I cannot imagine, as in the case of Joseph, how any good comes from tragedy, but, again, I know it does.  Who would ever have thought the accident that Joni had as a young woman would bring her fame, enabling her to help so many, as well as glorify God?  How does the young Nick come to terms with a life void of arms and legs?

It is through the movement of a Spirit; a Spirit that is God.  The Spirit that moves those who love God, that sustains them through life, that even creates something majestic out of nothing, from what seems dead and useless.

Our Father God, our Savior God, our Spirit God:  the Trinity.

My favorite quote of all time.

My favorite quote of all time!

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Restoration or Resolution (Part 4)

When I asked her, “Is it Nate?” through her sobs she choked out, “No, it’s Joe.”  My sweet, sweet grandfather-in-law who had taken a bad fall down his basement stairs not more than two weeks before I had taken my own fall into a mental and physical breakdown.  We had shared our sorrow over the deaths of his sister, his daughter, and then his grandson.  We had had plans that winter to go through pictures of family, writing on them who everyone was.  We ate meals together.  Together we had buried Kody, the dog he loved and took with him every day.

I was the one who came to his aid first, opening his door with the key he had given me, to find him lying on the cold basement floor, his head covered in blood.  The emergency number was called, the EMTs arrived, and my little grandfather-in-law was packed off to the hospital as I followed.  Memories bombarded me; the “whys” rolled off my tongue.  “Where were you, God, when I was pleading with you?”  It was soon after that that I, too, fell down the steps of despair.

Joe was dead.  I was devastated.  I had to go home.

When I told my sis that I had to come home, she cried even harder and said, “No, his funeral was two weeks ago.”  “WHAT?”  My mind wasn’t able to wrap around the idea that I had missed it.  Even though he was not recovering from the head injury he had received in the fall, his death from that injury came as a great surprise.  I hadn’t had a chance to say goodbye.  Dar could hear the shock in my voice and feel my confusion.  She cried and explained how they had prayed about whether or not to call the Haglins to come tell me, as they anguished over their decision with other believers, other friends who had walked my journey of despair by my side.  She told me of the difficult, heart-wrenching phone call to the Haglins to get their opinion.  And in the end, as they were led by the Spirit to do, the decision was made to let me heal, to spare me another death, another loss, until I was strong enough to embrace it.

The Lord’s presence was with the two of us that day even though we were miles and miles apart.  His presence enfolded me as I grasped the whole picture, for surely He had orchestrated my stay at the Eagle’s Nest before He called Joe home.  His love for me in the midst of my anger toward Him was a balm on my aching heart, a soothing touch.  Something I didn’t deserve after all the things I had yelled and said to the Ruler and Creator of the universe.  My sister was a puddle of tears and pain as I reached out to her over the phone, telling her I understood and it was the right thing to have done, no matter how difficult it had been.  I explained that I was all right, and I was also ready to come home.  It was time.

(continued)

Restoration or Resolution (Part 3)

Restoration or Resolution (Part 3)

Restoration or Resolution (Part 3)

It’s been awhile, once again, since I’ve been here, back to my little blog, my baby that I have let fly solo after monitoring it daily since it’s birth.  Sometimes multiple times in a day.  Loving the feedback; loving that you guys loved some of my stuff.  And now, here we are, after those long months of getting established, pouring my heart and soul and silliness into it, we go our separate ways most days, turning into weeks.  It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way.  We were supposed to be acknowledged by WordPress as blog of the month or week; Freshly Pressed it’s called.

But, really, our little venture has served its purpose: as a fulfillment for my desire to write (whether that’s good or bad writing) and as a catharsis for my troubled soul, helping me to overcome catastrophic events.  Those events that change a person: our thoughts, actions, feelings, personalities, ability to relate to other people, affecting how we relate to other occurrences in our lives.  It has helped shed some light, hopefully, on the anguish and devastation of mental illness as well as given honor to a good man who died way too young.

reading apronsandappetites

reading apronsandappetites

So to catch you up, all who have just today wondered by or to you good people who follow along in my meager efforts to express myself, you can go back here and here to read the previous blogs on this subject or continue reading.

a beautiful day

a beautiful day

The morning dawned with the beauty and the warmth of springtime.  It was 60 degrees!  What a surprise.  A spring day right smack dab in the middle of January winter, melting the snow and creating a day for the outdoors.  A beautiful day that did not lift the heavy foreboding I had that something was wrong; someone had died.  My fear took hold, choking common sense.  If someone had died, then I would have gotten a call.  Of course, that call would have gone through Paul and Gretel for there were no phones capable of incoming calls nor televisions for aired programs in the housing where guests stayed.  Just peace and quiet.  I could call out on the phone that was there, and I could watch the movies they had for guests’ enjoyment, all G-rated, but there was no intrusion from the outside world to disturb those that stayed in this Eagle’s Nest.

That was also the day after my “send her to Thessalonica” dream.  The day I rebelled against the Lord, telling Him there was no way I was reading the Thessalonians.  He had not helped after all those prayers.  Why should I do what I knew He was asking me to do?  So instead I went for the walk that brought me to His feet, to sit and listen and envision His own pain and sorrow.  The walk that brought comfort and encouragement and strength.  The walk that said, “you can do this; go on back and make that phone call.”  The walk that validated my foreboding that someone had died.  And that someone, I just knew, was my son; the son who had struggled with drug addiction for years.

All day I had walked that 200-acre farm.  There were trails to follow and benches to sit on, ponds to meditate beside, gullies to explore, embankments to climb.  I had taken the map provided and thought I fairly well knew where I was, so when I noticed the storm clouds gathering that afternoon, I wasn’t too worried.  At that point in my exploration I had been walking down an almost dry creek bed with woods on the left and a steep embankment on the right.  I decided if I climbed the embankment, the farm should be right there to my right.  When I finally got to the top, pulling myself up with tree limbs, and looked out over the field, there were no houses in sight.  Just field and woods.

The thunder rumbled and the panic set in.  I scurried back down to the creek bed, thinking that the only thing to do would be to backtrack  my path, those hours worth of walking,  and that I surely would not beat the storm brewing.  My first encounter when I reached the creek bed was a big deer that ran out in front of me followed by a ‘possum.  Where had all those animals been all day?  They hadn’t been around earlier.  Were they as frightened of the storm coming as I was?  Would that cause them to fear me, thus causing them to attack me?  I had heard of how vicious an opossum could be when threatened.  As I stood and looked around, there was wildlife rushing around all over that piece of wooded area.  How would they feel about me barging into their sanctuary as I raced the storm?  And I was filled with dread and fright and uncertainty, knowing I would never beat the storm back to where I was staying.

How far back did the creek go?  Now I couldn’t remember how long I had walked it.  Would it fill quickly if the rain poured?

The storm within me was roiling and brewing more than the storm in the sky until I heard in the small rush of wind the voice speaking within my spirit, “Don’t go the familiar way.  Step out and trust and go forward.”

As I looked up at the embankment and around at the wildlife and creek, I decided that’s what I would do.  I wouldn’t follow the familiar, but I would go forward.  I scrambled back up to the field, and as I stepped out of the woods and into that field, I could see that, yes, there was the farmhouse.  I was right where I thought I had been according to the map.

And I pondered on the walk back to my “home” the lesson God was teaching me.  I thought of all the people I see coming through the court system who fall right back into the familiar path of drugs or alcohol or bad relationships or circle of friends.  I thought of all the children that didn’t want to leave abusive parents because that was “the familiar path,” all they knew.  I thought of the way Christians don’t want to change church services or opinions or routines, staying in the rut that leads down the familiar path.  The scripture in Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; and He will direct your path” came to mind.

In my walk with God that day, I knew that my foreboding had been for a real reason, one I dreaded hearing, one subconsciously I had been waiting to happen for a long time.  When I finally called my sister and told her I knew that someone had died, she instantly began crying, sobbing.

(continued)