Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
As 2017 comes to an end in just a little over two hours, the last year of “My Own Little World” is running through my mind. First and foremost who do I show this kind of love? Who, other than Taylor, shows this kind of love to me?
Heavenly Dad has been been pulling the blinders off of my daughter, Taylor’s eyes. It’s either that or she is on the other side of grief enough that she has a burr under her saddle about what she is seeing now that her focus is off of her own pain.
Everywhere she looks she sees people she attends church with in painful situations, the vehicles they drive, in lines not being able to afford gas or groceries, the adopted child crying out in pain over bullying or the couple who both have cancer, who have their sidewalk and driveway full of snow. She did a post about it on fb, because she says that is the only place anyone pays attention, and received private messages from two other widows, and another sister in Christ who has lost a parent, thanking her for putting into words what they could not or for seeing the needs.
Unfortunately, the response she received from whom she wanted to care the most was not satisfying to her soul.
What do you do when you don’t feel heard or understood? How many teenagers actually vocalize that but then as adults we just stuff it into our identities as “foolish thoughts,” “crazy ideas,” or “idealistic?” Most of the time, these ideas get excused away and nothing becomes of them.
Archie and I had those ideas. We attended a class with the workbook, “Knowing God,” then really got fired up. We put our house on the market and became teaching parents for Bryer Manor, a home for boys placed there by the court system (as in “kid jail”). Taylor was four, turning five, when we moved into the two bedroom apartment attached to the home. Within the year Arch was diagnosed, for the first time, with cancer and the strict order to,”Reduce your stress!!!!” We gave notice, went home to our house that had not sold, and felt defeated, questioning heavenly Dad about His allowed will. We sacrificed everything and we felt like our “reward” was a cancer diagnoses. That was a very painful time of questions, most without answers, but also lots of anger, then trust and faith in heavenly Dad. I’ll admit it, for a bit I even refused to speak with Him because I felt like He had let me down. I was angry that I could become a single parent of a 5 year old who hadn’t even started kindergarten. I was angry that my best friend was in pain and scared. I was just plain angry.
At the time I didn’t understand why he opened the doors only to shut them so quickly. In hindsight, I am grateful beyond words for the parental training we received (not that we got it right all the time) and that helped us immensely when we served heavenly Dad in a different way, through foster parenting.
Back to Taylor: So she was not settled. We discussed options: 1st. She could do as the “Knowing God” book suggested and look for where God is working in the areas that she feels like He is calling and join in. 2nd she could maybe think that heavenly Dad is speaking this way to her but not in the same way to others. This conviction maybe for her alone.
She recognized the need to respect heavenly Dad’s calling/interpretation on/for others–that is the hardest thing to do when you feel as though an “injustice” is being done and others are turning a blind eye. Again, that is one person’s conviction/interpretation, but her feelings are valid. Heavenly Dad created her and allowed her to see all of those situations and put the burning desire to help within her. Now we are going to pray that he opens the next door for her so she feels as though the needy will not be forsaken.
Tonight my sweet daughter is a guest at a church party for an old friend who has recently come back into her life. I was excited she received the invitation, though she looked pained that I would be alone when she spoke of the invitation. She knows better than to think I would say anything other than,”What time are you leaving?” (with a smile). Quietly the pups and I sat listening to music and then a friend from the UK popped me a message via fb to wish me a “Happy New Year” five hours early! Then an hour later one of our Heartfelt family from CA emailed, telling me she had to make contact and wish me a Happy New Year, so we emailed a bit back and forth.
Now as the time ticks by, I think of the amazing student I taught in IL that went out of her way to look for a awesome stamp on Ebay and sent it to me as a surprise, Doris, the fellow widow in Canada, who came on a tour and happened to see my Grief Share book and found our hubby’s went home just months apart and she sent me a Christmas card, of Debi, one of our Wholesalers who just wanted to call before we left for the holidays to wish me the best. Heavenly Dad has used my work as Jesus with skin on. Not only have they installed a door to keep snow out, check in on me to make sure I’m ok, listen to me as I ask them financial questions (because I have no one else to ask), heavenly Dad uses our customers to fill my need to serve and spread His love. Though I ask nothing in return, they show me love without judgment and condition.
From Doris in Canada, Liz in the UK, Debi in AZ, I am in awe about how small the world has become. It would be easy, however, to fill all of my needs and their needs, but then forget about the individuals in close approximately, the one’s Taylor reminded me of.
This year, as 2018 begins, I’m going to pray that heavenly Dad helps me to miraculously go through and close the crazy door he opened for me then show me the world that He is opening up before my very eyes when I stop focusing on My Own Little World, which consists of…me.
Until next time: Blessings!