Musings on Personally Perceived Strangeness of this Christmas Season

Many things are on my heart and mind and it is all in general very connected. We are at the time designated to celebrate God’s birth, His incarnation. The focus is on family and sharing love through gifts and fellowship. For me this time, this season is strange. Currently am moving in and out of feeling my own pain and connecting with the pain of those around me. Currently my brother and his family is in town. It is uplifting to spend time with them, knowing that they have come through a tough time with the death of my sister-in-laws mother from breast cancer and their issues with dealing with her father. They also are caring for their son, Anant, who embodies a joyful creativity even at four going on five years old. All this is rather normal. Here are the things that have gone to make this season strange.

If you are a follower of this blog you know that the central portion of the strangeness is the health of Janie Blake. When Cancer returned a few years ago, she reported having a word from God, “you shall live and not die.” Then she went on to engage the battle and appeared clear of cancer cells, only to have them reform to the point where her very life is in jeopardy. It was a shock hearing the news back in mid-October and even more shocking the rapid degradation of her health. Today is first I have seen her since stopping by to help the clean in preparation for her brother’s visit. The sight was heart breaking. For I really appreciate how God has used Janie in my life and the life of those I love. Yet, what God’s sees is even beyond what I see. He knows His will and His plan. He is always faithful to what He promises our job is to surrender no matter how things look. It means letting go of our will for His. He can heal. He can restore. He is the one that makes all things new. We submit to Him alone. I really want Janie around, but that is up to God alone. There is life here and greater life in His presence.

Janie’s health is not the only aspect of the strangeness of this year. There is my mother’s ongoing vision loss and going through a process of learning. She deals each day with great pain and loss while focusing on learning how to function without depending on vision. My mother has endured and survived through a lot of suffering in her lifetime. Now she faces this challenge. Yet, I know God is using this to strengthen her and use her in the lives of others. He has given her special moments one of which will eventually share on this blog, as it likely connects to all that has been going on. Now, my mom’s vision loss is nothing new. It has been ongoing. But it is one more dynamic to the strangeness of this year.

Now not all that is going on is dealing with health and illness. For my wife has been going through and interview process for a potential promotion to service manager. My wife really does posses natural talents that would make her a great manager. Her prayer has been for those interviewing her to see what God wants them to see in her. Her heart she simply wants whomever they promote to be someone that will build and strengthen the team. We know it is in God’s hands and the promotion would be a great blessing to us. As I am writing this, in my mind the elevation of Daniel standing out over all others in Babylon would fit, if that is God’s will for Liz. We simply await the answer, hoping one thing but surrendering to whatever the outcome.

In my own life, still am working through matters of reluctance and holding self back. Yet, my workload is increasing and there are things on the horizon, yet many obstacles still stand with my-self being one of the obstacles. There is the ongoing question as get busier whether I can take on more or how can I find ways to improve all together. There are lessons learned as always in this process. The key principle to all here is coming back to surrender. There is much we cannot see in terms of what is ahead. Some like my mother have to learn to operate without sight. My stepmother appears quickly headed to death. My brother and his family already faced loss, may face more, are loving and building up their adopted child who is God has made as one who is joyfully creative in the midst.

So it is a strange season, this year. There is hope of seeing God give blessings and doing amazing things. There is the need to move beyond the visible. Ultimately, it is surrender to God regardless of the outcomes, walking not by our sight, but depending on Him alone. For He alone is the Rock. He alone is our safety. By Him alone to we stay or go. By Him alone do we rise or fall. He is the one who gives life or takes it. Yes, our choices and actions play a role we can walk His path and walk his way or go our own. One leads to life, one to death. God allows us our choices and then simply calls for surrender and walk the way He leads even if it seems impossible. There will be barriers from inside and outside. We want to make everything about us, but it is always about God and His glory and purpose which ultimately is to show and reflect His love in pain, in sorrow, in struggle, in fear, in reluctance, in anger, in pain, in joy, in blessing, in hope and so on which is all in His life in us.

Personal reflections: My responses when difficulties build- giving voice to burdens

This past week have been way to silent on the blog and falter in intentionality.  It seems likely to stem from the pattern that exists of pulling back when things get too tough emotionally. There are a number of things going on and certainly could use prayer for.

1. The ongoing difficulties of wife. The issues with her having wifes that really do not let up continue, then to top it off she picks up some bug.  It pains me to see her suffering. It pains me to see  her suffering reach the point of bringing into question God’s love for her and His willingness to listen.  She is reaching a breaking point and it bothers me to see it and there is nothing I can say or do that can help. 

2.  The week resulted in exposing how to assured of things that I should not be assured.  This involves having important documents stored on a flash drive with already prior experience of the fragility of a flash drive. I had ignored the wisdom of needing to back up and have paid for it. This in spite of already knowing difficulties others have had. So this put me into a real personal funk  with anxiety, uncertainty, and other things.  Now I have found a place that looks like they are capable of restoring data but the anxiety builds none-the-less.

3. Personally have growing frustration over the communication difficulties and hard feelings when theologically disagree with brother and sisters over issues that have no bearing on matters of faith.  Personally have been hurt about things others have said and likely responded in ways that reflect that without really intending to do so. My intent is always to communicate in love, but sometimes things happen or are said that brings out ways of communicating that are hurtful, even to the point of possible severing of relationship, all related to theological perspectives. 

4. Also am aware of lack of steps taken further to move into private practice.  Are there fears or other elements of self getting in the way?  Am I holding back out of lack of faith, protection of self, and fears?  Is it the same dynamics that resulted in my putting off starting the blog for over a year? Fears of putting myself out there as needed in order to network?  Am I waiting, or simply failing to engage?  If holding back from failing to engage why do I do that?

So these difficulties mount and the frustration grows, and so in turn my human natural response is a bit of withdrawal.  It is not looking to God for defense or strength, it is engaging in the human natural.  Personally have a long way to go in my own life in regards to the principles for transcending suffering.  For me resting in God and letting Him work things out in his time is tough. It takes a lot of faith and can see how limited my faith is in all these circumstances.  Now I know in my head that all this leads to greater faith and leads to growing and maturing at a greater level. All I know is right now personally, am tired, hurt, and know the extent of my own limitations and weaknesses.  All I can say and ask here is to pray.  This blog post in away is sharing some burdens that I personally feel and am going through.