Thursday, January 31, 2008

some thoughts

My SIL has had a lot of financial problems and health problems over the past few years. Her husband died several years ago and she's felt very alone in the world. While their mother was alive my SIL had something to keep her focused and someone she lived near (she lives in FL and we do not). There's a lot more background on this story that I could go into, but because I don't want to jeopardize her privacy so I'll just leave it at this.

She sent us an email the other day and her statements really got me to thinking, so I wrote her a really long email in return. I decided that maybe someone else might happen across this site and need to read some of these same words, so I'm taking out the names and posting it here for all to read.

First of all, DH and I want you to come for a visit. Daughter's bedroom and grandson's bedroom will be done this weekend so there’s a bedroom and a private bathroom that you can use, complete with shower, separate soaker tub, and toilet. Bring your dog. Maybe you’ll find a house in our development that you’d like to buy and leave your stresses in Florida. Come live somewhere that you have people around who are willing to help you out, take care of you, and spend time with. We’d have fun. You know I’m your favorite SIL anyway…

You commented that I was very intelligent and a strong person. I appreciate that. There are times when I certainly don’t feel I’m either. What I do have, and the main thing I keep falling back on, is a very strong faith in God. We’ve been through so much since 1999 that I can’t even begin to explain without it sounding like I’m whining. Without the grace of God I am not sure where we’d be, but it certainly would not be right here, right now. DH and I were both off work several months in 1999 and I never did get to go back to my job; he was off several months again in 2000. We nearly lost our house and had to rely on friends and church for food and to pay our utilities more than once. My car was repossessed. I’m not sure that we ever shared that with anyone in our families. Yes, we made some bad financial mistakes but overwhelmingly, it was medical problems that put us over the top. I worked at low-paying jobs until I got this one and although it’s not a high-paying job, it’s better than the fast food industry and I have benefits.

Then, in 2006 when DH lost his foot, he was off nearly 11 months. I had managed to save about $3,000 the previous year to do some work on our fence and yard. We ended up spending every dime of it on living expenses. It was $60 per month for the visiting nurses, $60 per month on the wound vac, $60 per month to rent the wheelchair and roll-about, $60 per month for the extra doctor visits. Extra time off for me so I could run him places. The list goes on and on. We were drowning in medical expenses but throughout it all I still managed to keep my faith in God and knew that He would pull us through. I knew that He hadn’t abandoned us before and I didn’t expect He would this time either (I still feel that way). I didn’t tithe 10% per se of our income, but I did give what God told me to give each week. Sometimes it was more than others. I was amazed at what I was able to give to others by being faithful to God, and He in turn blessed us beyond measure.

When I was in the doctor’s office with DH on Monday I was pretty depressed. We’ve been fighting this heel ulcer off and on for nearly a year. I’d get it healed up and a few weeks later it would be back. This time it’s the worst of all though. It keeps spreading. It was pretty upsetting to have the doctor say it’s not healing and that he wanted DH to see the wound care team. That could mean a long road ahead of us for it. Before we left I had to use the restroom. While I was in there I heard a song being played that made me feel much better and that things would really be OK – no matter what we’re dealing with right now, the outcome would be OK. When I came out of the restroom I asked DH if he’d heard the song, too. He said that he had not. I don’t know if he just didn’t hear it and it was playing all over, or if it was a “special” song just for me in the restroom. The song? Our God is an Awesome God! I heard a very spiritual song in a truly secular environment. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I think it was an audible reminder to keep focused on Him and He would (once again) see us through our trials and tribulations.

Yes, you are entirely correct that God only gives us the amount of burden that He thinks we can carry. Like you, I’ve often questioned just where is my breaking point and why do I continue to be tormented by troubles. On more than one occasion, I’ve cried out “Why me?” and the overwhelming answer I get back is “Why not?” Our troubles are great but our God is greater. We have so much negative going on around us and so much to be thankful for. People in Haiti are eating “dirt cakes” for nourishment. Thank God that we have real food on the table and I don’t have to go buy dirt – real dirt – because it’s the only thing I can afford to feed my family. Those people are so much stronger than I am because I am not sure I could do it and I thank God that I’m not there having to. That’s really having a burden to bear.

I used to have the same feelings of being lost on the beach and not being able to find God in things. He’s still there. Sometimes we can’t find him because we’re too busy looking in the wrong places. Sometimes we have to just shut up and listen. Sometimes we realize He was there all along and just waiting for us to slow down long enough to get a word in edgewise. Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. None of us can compare with Mother Teresa. It’s not a matter of being a “good” person vs. a “bad” person. God is no respecter of persons and He doesn’t play favorites. It’s hard to look at others and not wonder why they got something better or had what appears to be an easier life. Again – “Why not me?” and the answer is “Why should it be you?” On the outside things might be very rosy for them but life on the inside could be unimaginable. My sister had what appeared to be the best life of all of us girls and she was a good person, too. Great husband, talented kids, great job, impressive house, impeccable hostess skills, etc. That was the outside. On the inside, she was married to a monster – a bisexual pervert who brought men and women prostitutes home – and her children were a mess. Her house was mortgaged to the hilt, she was over $100,000 in debt from credit cards, and she had an alcohol and gambling problem. Was it any surprise to us that her life was really like that? Yes, it certainly was. And before she would let any of us help her she took her own life. My sister’s life was surely not the plan that God had intended for her. She knew that she couldn’t tell her pastor what her real life was like any more than she could tell her family what it was like. It devastated my family when the truth (and not even the whole of it) came out and nearly killed my parents. If my mother hadn’t had her faith in God through all of this I don’t know what would have become of her. Through this, my father accepted Christ as his personal savior and now he’s at rest with Jesus, too.

Another point I want to bring up is the feeling of loneliness that overwhelms you. Please forgive me if I tread too close but I’ve tossed this around for quite a while. While I think you should cherish the memories of your DH and your life together, I think you should move past. I know you probably think this is easy for me to say because I have DH and your sister has her DH. And, you’d be right – we do have each other – and it’s not even about sex because we haven’t had that since May or June of 1999. But, we also have all the responsibilities that go along with having each other, too. I know that he has health problems, they have their handicapped son to deal with, and it’s great that they have each other to talk to at the end of the day. DH has health problems and I’ve had my share of problems, too. It’s a lot of work to be in a relationship and when it’s gone you miss it. My daughter misses being in a relationship (she’s been single three years) and my sister misses it (she’s been single 14 years). I guess what I’m saying is try to not dwell on the past and what you’re missing but look forward to the future and what lies ahead. You’re still young (65, right? {just kidding]) You have a lot to look forward to. Yes, you’re in pain and yes, you’re lonely. Go volunteer at a hospital (get an electric scooter and go visit patients or take them books to read), volunteer down at the Red Cross, go to a soup kitchen and visit with the homeless as they come in to eat. Your life will take on a whole new fullness and a whole new meaning. You’ll find you have new direction. Maybe someone needs to have you as their friend and only you can provide the comfort they need. God has a plan for your life right now and you just have to find it.

If you would be willing to give it a shot, we’ll help you find if it’s supposed to be in our town.

Bible verses for encouragement:

John 3:16 (I know you know this one, but it’s always nice to hear) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that none should perish but have everlasting life.” But, have you ever heard anyone talk about John 3:17? “For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through him.” This is saying directly that you need to accept Jesus as your own personal Savior so that you may also be saved. My question to you has to be this – have you asked for forgiveness for where you have failed God (I hate to say “sins” as we’ve all sinned and come short but we have to ask forgiveness for them) and asked that Jesus come into your heart.

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not; for I am with you. Be not dismayed; for I am your God. I will strengthen you; yea, I will help you; yea, I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you", says the LORD, "thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall you call upon Me, and you shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you. And you shall seek Me, and find Me, when you shall search for Me with all your heart."

John 15:16-19 “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you. These things I command you, that you love one another. If the world hate you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own; but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

Romans 5:3b-5 “...we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulations works patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope make not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

I got most of these scriptures from this link:

I think you have a strong witness and someday, somewhere, God will call upon you to share your heartache and triumph with someone else.

We love you and pray only the best for you. Be sure to let us know what you find out about your back and the house. Here’s a big hug for you {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{hug}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}! But, remember when there are no earthly people around to give you a physical hug, climb on up in the arms of Jesus and let Him grant you rest and peace. No matter how much earthly people can love on you, it doesn’t compare with the love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus.

No comments: