3.24.2008

Today really was resurrection Sunday

My home is still in limbo and I’ve still had many other surprises and worries lately that I’ll get into another time. But even with all of that on my plate...today was such a good day.

First of all, let me give a quick shout-out to one of my new favorite shows. Oprah’s Big Give is so awesome! I haven’t felt this blessed and inspired by watching a reality show like this since Extreme Makeover: Home Edition first came on the air! Sitting down to watch this was the perfect ending to the day that I’ve had, as I’m always a blubbering/cheering fool by the end of episode. If you haven’t seen it, you really should check it out. If watching it doesn’t effect you, then you should do some serious soul searching!

Ok, so yesterday I blogged about how God was working a mini revival in me. Well, it continued today. :) I woke up to Scott saying he had the flu and couldn’t go to church. Usually this means and easy "out" for me too. :) "Sorry guys, can’t get up early...Dad’s sick and I have to take care of him." lol But being Easter Sunday, the thought quickly got kicked out of my head by obligation and the thoughts of my kids’ disappointed faces in my mind. Church is always somewhere that I’m so glad I went to after I’m already there, but God knows that Satan fights me tooth and nail until my butt is firmly planted in that pew! It is HAAAAARRRRDDDDD for me to get up in the mornings! H-A-R-D. I have been an insomniac most of my life and it’s only worse as I get older. In high school I had to play sick and go to the nurses office every morning first period because I was falling asleep in class. I almost got kicked out of nursing school every single semester because I had trouble making it to early clinicals in the mornings. And I’ve worked evenings or night-shift my entire career because of this. Needless to say, I got up and took my kids to church. I even put on PANTY HOSE! Of course I put a runner in them as soon as I put them on, but I still put them on...and I literally can’t remember the last time I wore some of those!

Let me back-track a little. Last night a girl that grew up next door to my kids contacted me, Courtney & Darren on myspace. I met her when she was probably 4 years old maybe and she used to be at my house every day. I used to feed her lunch when she’d look so sad and admit that she was starving and I’d try to help take care of her the best I could...I even started taking her to church with us. Eventually we moved away and she started riding the church bus every week, and I remember her running up to me shouting that she got saved with a big smile on her face. She got baptized at the same time Madelaine did and I remember tears streaming down my face as I watched her come up out of that water. As I helped her change out of her wet gown I remembered her excitedly saying, "I got saved! I’m going to Heaven now right?" Needless to say, I was so excited to hear from her last night. I was sad when I looked at her pictures though. She looks like a little girl lost. She looks like she has fallen in with the wrong crowd and has a very dark/depressed aura around her. She said she didn’t really go to church anymore (she’s 16 now), but said she might check it out sometime since we were coming back to Tower.

Courtney was amazed that just a few hours earlier, Maddie had brought this girl up saying "I wonder whatever happened to___", and then she had actually contacted her. I gave Courtney her first official lesson on something being "a God thing" by reminding her that there is no such thing as coincidence. I said, what did you feel in your heart when you looked at her pictures? "Sad", she replied. I told her that any time someone crosses your mind out of the blue, there’s a reason for that. Then when just a short time later they cross your path...you can be even more sure of it--God has a mission for you. The fact that both of these things happened and then you felt sad looking at her pictures, that’s an almost guaranteed God-thing, and it’s our responsibility to love this girl back to life. "Last year when you were having so much trouble, I admit that I kicked your butt, but did I leave you in a ditch to die?"

"No."

"No. Everyone that loves you circled around you and fought tooth-and-nail for you to love you back to life. We are the ones who started taking her to church in the first place. We knew her before she became this way. If we as her Christian family won’t love her back to life, then who will?" My daughter went to her room with a tear in her eye, shaking her head in agreement.

Fast-forward to this morning. We did the church thing. I took pictures and wondered when I had gained SO MUCH weight! *rolling eyes* Darren had gone to church with us, so we all headed home. My boy has always liked to cook (I always called him "My Chef Boy D"), and if you give him something to help with that holds his interest then he is not only pleasant and helpful, but it keeps him out of trouble. So he and I set about making Easter dinner. It was a real joy to have him there--I really miss him sometimes and this was yet another shining example to me of the way God makes all things new. He resurrects old relationships in every sense of the word and he heals scars if you let him. A few years ago Darren & I could never have stood there and worked happily together, but now we can. He even wants to come to church with us every week! :)

This evening as we were all laying around being fat and lazy from stuffing ourselves today, the phone rang--it was J. For those of you that aren’t familiar with her, she is one of my oldest and best friends (since 1994). She is also my only friend that likes to go seriously missing on the relationship front for MONTHS at a time. I know by this far into the game not to take it personally, but it can be really difficult as you go from talking every few hours, to every day, to once a week, to not at all for 6 months. I know that it’s not about me, but I always eventually start to get resentful and angry. Then I start wondering if this time it really is about me. Does she really not want to be my friend anymore? I’ve lovingly (kind-of) dubbed this "pulling a J____."

I’m trying to think of how long she’s gone this time, and I want to say it was sometime in September or October because she didn’t respond to my Halloween party invitation. The past month or so I’ve began obsessing a little bit about it and wondered if I would ever hear from her again. I went from praying that God would let me see her at a store somewhere so that I could grab her and hug her. I just wanted to be able to say, "I love you! I don’t know what you’re going through right now, but I know it’s something...because I can feel your heart. You’re my friend and I miss you so much!" That never happened and slowly that concern started turning into bitterness. I wondered how I would react now if I saw her. I had visions of telling her off and storming away and of telling her that I wasn’t up for this one-sided friendship anymore. Then she called.

I instantly felt led by the Holy Spirit to chill out and go easy on her because I could tell by the tone of her voice that she was not herself and if I reacted to strongly I would scare her away again. She had an edge to her voice that she typically never has with me. I immediately felt sad for her because I had KNOWN something was wrong and I did nothing to check on her. I know from experience that there really is NO checking on J because when she is in that "place" she won’t answer her doors or phones. She totally withdraws.

Instead of lighting into her, I called her a bad name and cracked a joke. :) Always good for a laugh, I know. You have to know what tool to use with what people, and in MY opinion prim-and-proper doesn’t work with everyone. So after hearing, "Hey girl...", I responded with a dramatic, "OH MY GOSH! YOU’RE NOT DEAD! I was thinking to myself the other day ’I sure hope that bitch didn’t die because I’m too broke to buy flower right now!" It worked--she laughed. The ice was broken and we ended up talking for FOUR hours on the phone.

We both took our turns crying on & off throughout and covered so many areas. I finally admitted that I had started to take this personally again and she responded with, "Don’t. You know better than that by now. You’re my best friend whether I’m emotionally unavailable for a while or not. I love you and we have covered too much road together for me to say goodbye to you. There’s nothing you could do to chase me away...I just had some major life issues to deal with and you know how well I handle those."

Let me tell you, if ever there were two more opposite friends put together, I have never seen it! lol We are opposites in almost everything--especially in the way we handle emotional "stuff." She finally told me all about the crisis that ended up chasing her back to her cave and I sobbed like a baby through it. My heart was so devastatingly broken for my friend. Suffice it to say that all the years of trouble I face--and the issue at work I faced recently--I had to sit back and hear about my dear, dear friend facing. She’d kill me if she read this, but I do it to convey how utterly and desperately my heart ached for her. I listened quietly to her tell me about the horrible thing she had to go through and not react so strongly that I scared her back into her hole.

I finally couldn’t take it anymore and the sobs burst forth through the dam and I started choking out the words, "I’m so sorry this happened to you." The pain was as if I were going through it myself and I don’t know if at that moment I felt more pain or anger. I wanted to spring to the defense of my beloved friend and help her, save her, comfort her--protect her. She could sense all of this and started telling me that everything was ok now and she was doing ok....only lying to herself. I’ve been there. I know better. And I can hear it in her voice. She is NOT all better yet.

As she continued trying to comfort ME (go figure right?), she burst forth with the good news about one of her youngest kids getting saved recently. I felt God tap on my heart to remind me that his hand is in all of it. I said to her, "After all the years that you and I have seen together. Late nights on the phone reading our Bibles together because niether one of us could get to church with the nine kids between us, praying together, husband problems and divorces. Days of talking for hours and then a few periods of not talking for months--it all comes back to two women that God connected at the heart that are STILL sitting here talking on the phone and crying together. God is still in control--and we must be doing SOMETHING right in these messes we call lives, because we now have EIGHT out of NINE kids saved."

She responded by reminding me how much she loves me, etc. etc. And I DO love her. So, so, so much. I understand why she went M.I.A. for a while. She explained again that she still has so much anger inside from different things that have happened in her life that God is trying to heal, and she sees herself as needing to be the "tough as nails" person at all times. She explained that if she sticks around during those tough times then she has to talk about what is going on---which in turn ends up making her angry and resentful towards me for a while because I’m the one she’s being vulnerable to. Therefore, she feels the need to withdraw during heavy stuff so that she doesn’t hurt me. Then when she’s better able to handle it, she comes back. I see patients get mad at their nurses all the time because we are the ones that have to see them in pain and help change the bandages. They take it out on us and can even become bitter towards us. I get it. I’m just different.

I’m glad she’s back, and I hope she stays back. Please pray for her as well as me..........

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