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Archive for October, 2010

I was so anxious about my follow-up appointments! I haven’t been that nervous about anything in years. But what it did was to throw me onto my knees and into the scriptures for comfort. I was so fearful of bad news I couldn’t be still to listen quietly for God’s good news; the best I could do was read scripture and lean on the prayers of my friends. I focused hard on Romans 8: because we do not know how to pray as we ought, the Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.

Before my MRI I asked my sister-friend to pray for me, right there in the doorway from the first waiting room to the 2nd waiting room; I’d already changed into my scrubs.

The next morning, another sister-friend accompanied me on my 3 doctor appointments. Again, amazing gifts from those who were praying for me to get through the day. And the news was good. I am where the doctors expect me to be at this point. It’s hard being the patient when you are waiting and praying for miracles, but you don’t really know what to expect from the test results.

What I do know is this, I’m much calmer now that I know more of what the doctors know and expect. And because I am calmer, I can listen better both to the doctors, my body and God. My dizziness seems to have stopped and a few days ago I got the peaceful easy feeling that I’m going to be fine. And I have tears of joy.

I’m coming back into the space where I feel that I have something to offer others; it’s a place of strength and assurance that can only come from God. And the forgiveness piece is coming along.

Lewis Smedes said something to the effect of most of us forgive in pieces over time. I think he’s right. It’s like chipping away an ice block. If we are very bitterly cold, it remains intact. But if we are beginning to warm up to the future, it begins to melt and we can chip off a piece at a time.

I think of it as Peace By Piece. I knew I was beginning to turn the corner of forgiveness when I realized that the people who hurt me also have hurts in their lives; some of which I have been privvy to information about. Could I begin to pray for their brokenness, their pieces, to be healed? I didn’t wish them harm, but I also hadn’t been wishing them blessings either. I didn’t want them to have success. If I couldn’t wish for them to have healing in their lives, then who was I to ask God for healing in my own?

Smedes writes in his book “Forgiving and Forgetting: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve” that it’s up to us to do the forgiving when we’ve been hurt; God will take care of any punishment that is due. Whenever possible, it is true grace to have reconciliation with those who have hurt us; but even if it isn’t possible, we should still forgive. Indeed our own healing is dependent on our ability to forgive.

A recent interchange with a fellow minister reminded me of the story of Job. Job lost everything; nearly more than he had to lose. But he stayed faithful to God and because he was faithful, he did not seek retribution but allowed God to handle the situation. While God couldn’t bring back Job’s family and his wealth as it existed before Job’s trials (God couldn’t turn back the clock), Job was blessed anew. His blessings amounted to more than he had had before the trials. It didn’t bring back the children he had lost, it didn’t replace them, but God renewed Job.

God, I pray that I could have the kind of faith that Job had; I’ll let you decide on the blessings!

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Tomorrow I head down to see my lovely sister-friends and see my doctors. I’m excited to see the friends, nervous to see the docs. The past week has left me so exhausted. For the first time in months I’ve had to keep a work-like schedule with a committee meeting that last from Sunday evening to Wednesday mid-afternoon; then a luncheon on Thursday and a meeting with a student on Friday. It might have helped if I got more sleep, but it was evidence to me that I can’t handle full time yet. At least not the full-time kind of schedule ministers keep. It was all good work, but I know I couldn’t do this again next week without sleeping a full 10 hours every night and finding a way to fit in exercise. The days I did get to exercise were a major push, and I did feel better after I got going, but coming back home I could have gone to bed.  Who knew?

Also, there were lots of messages just for me in the past week. From the movie “You Again” to the sermon today, everything says leave the past in the past! Live in the present! Forgive and move on.

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At long last I can say I’ve had a productive week! I’ve made phone calls, done paperwork and written notes that I had been putting off. Maybe that’s why I’m having dizziness spells!? The dizziness is the one thing that is causing me deep concern because it appeared as if out of no where when I was starting out my daily walk on Wednesday. I glanced to the left with my left eye closed (so I could see straight) and when I started to look back forward, I got really spinny in the head and vision. I went right back home while I did a body check and realized I was hungry and a little thirsty. That symptom seems to be consistent with the other times it’s happened; except for leaving a restaurant yesterday right after eating. So I made a list of what’s different: I ran out of my heavy-duty probiotic, I ran out of protein drinks and likely am not getting enough protein, my appetite has returned and I am hungry deeper and more often than I’ve been the last few months. There could be a dozen reasons for all this, but until I know, it’s disconcerting.

I was hoping to take a short cut in my job search by giving the local denominational partner judicatory a copy of my old profile, but I can’t download an official copy, nor can I have one sent without going through the complete update with all new references and a costly background check. I know better than this, really I do. And it’s probably good for me to have to do the full monty, but I didn’t want to.

Anyway, what this all brought up was brutal conversations with my husband about why I want to serve outside of my home denomination again and a list of other things, including the lack of trust in my local judicatory. Well, being “forced” to completely update my profile put me in a position to contact 3 people whose support I feel confident in and a new judicatory executive I haven’t yet met.

The surprise, and quite a pleasant one, was the contact with the new judicatory executive. My experience has now affirmed the hiring decision. I found a pastor, a spiritual guide, a teacher, an accountability partner, a reasoned leader, and a compassionate/non-judgmental ear. And I have an assignment to ritualize the letting go of “that church” experience by a physical representative of release and by re-reading and (I’ll add) giving thanks for the dozens of letters of appreciation I received from members of “that church”. I have to complete the ritual before I can get the judicatory reference. I have 2-3 weeks, the time it will take for my background check to be processed.

A simple phone conversation of 90 minutes and I have regained much respect and appreciation for the office. And, now I don’t feel completely advocateless. Sometimes God’s people actually do what (I think) God intends to bring us into better relationship with each other and God.

I saw my very conservative neighbor this week. She is kind and generous, but I am beginning to see she really does have ulterior motives in inviting me to visit her church. She made it clear that she believes her church has the true way to salvation. I nicely told her that my understanding of salvation is wider than hers, but that was OK and I would be interested in visiting her church, simply to learn more about it. (Now my wild and vivid imagination runs off with an image of me visiting and being surrounded by church members condemning and trying to convince me to convert, all the while the exit doors are blocked and locked! Ridiculous, I know. Or do I just hope?)

Anyway, I know this kind of judgmental view of others is alive and well in this country and around the world; and I can’t say that I haven’t been guilty of condemnation or even worthy of it in my past. But it kind of creeps me out and fascinates me at the same time. And it really is a challenge to me to defend the right of others to hold beliefs that differ from mine. There has been a lot of that this week, what with the arguments of friends on facebook over what is just for our government and its economy. I’ll not get into that one here.

So I have some hope I didn’t have at the beginning of the week. And I have a sense of community and support that I wasn’t feeling so much two weeks ago. I also started a spiritual workbook this week that is designed to help one find clarity in one’s vision; a kind of month of discernment and discipline. It’s getting my mind more focused on scripture and the resulting comfort, encouragement and calling.

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