Friday, April 26, 2013

Understanding Understanding

How do you understand things? How do you process things? Do you understand what the word understand means?
Let's rewind a little bit, or a lotta bit to September 2011 when I started this here blog. I was in the hospital, had been told I probably wouldn't make it, wasn't conscious really for a while, but then I made it and they still wouldn't let me leave for a long time because my Potassium was critically low (which at the time as a just lost her job special ed teacher had no idea what that meant, now as an almost dietitian I know that means serious business), so I was bored and frustrated and didn't have any social connection and started this. Now it has almost 1500 views which I never imagined, I never thought I would post such intimate details about my life on the world wide web (heck my assistant didn't even know how sick I was as you do, heck my principal didn't even know how sick I was as you do), but here we are. Today.
Oh wait, I wasn't done rewinding. Right. Besides being bored in the hospital, I also started this blog as my personal journal and reflection on my healing journey through losing my job, moving away from my "home", healing from my illnesses (whatever that means), and anything else I felt like I needed to get off my chest at the moment. I entitled my Blog "Won Peace at a Time" because it is about my journey of healing that would hopefully be peaceful and hopefully I would win it, so that's why the play on words are in there. Also, since I was an Autism teacher, and the puzzle piece is their symbol so the piece came from that too because I wanted to keep them close to me as well. When I wrote my about section I put "I am a young adult woman, who thought I had it all together, then realized I didn't. Which, I am fairly certain happens to all of us. However, it happened to me all very fast and in all aspects of my life. I lost my health, my job, and basically my whole life as I know it all within the span of a month. I am putting my life back together one piece at a time and hope to do it with peace. Hope you enjoy as I seek to keep my identity in Christ while putting my life back together into what He wants me to be!" So like I said, this blog was to be my place where I could write things out to help myself understand my life a little better one piece at a time.
Ok, done rewinding. Present day. As in literally today. Back to my question. How do you understand things?
Let me tell you what I would like my answer to be, what my answer should be. "Hey God, I know you love me, I know you made me for your will. I know I am perfect in your eyes. I know there is a purpose for everything. I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I do not need an explanation. I am trusting you with my whole mind (and body). I am not leaning on my own understanding."
Let me tell ya what my answer IS, as in I had this crazy revelation I'm getting to (in a minute I promise) 5 hours ago and I'm still actively understanding like this instead (which isn't bad, but should be secondary):
  • Let me Google every symptom I ever have and see which is gonna kill me first
  • Let me go to another 20 doctors until  I find one that tells me something I WANT to hear
  • Let me try another cocktail of 30 pills a day and see if the side effects or reliefs are different this time
  • Let me join 400 support groups on Facebook to see what they have to say about this and to see if they feel the same way I do so I don't feel as crazy
  • Let me try to do my own master's thesis (voluntarily) to find a "cure" for one of my diseases
  • Let me go to class all day to the point that I can't function and heal at all to learn a little minuscule amount of information about my problems to understand better
  • Let me be too tired to focus on my Bible Study I've been haphazardly doing all semester until it smacks me across the face on the last video session and makes me realize that maybe I should have been paying attention and I wouldn't need to be seeking understanding from so many other sources for so long. 
I don't think that last part was in there. As Christian's we always say that we do the right things, we go to our Bible study every week, we check all the boxes off, and we get to Heaven, right? Wrong. Basically.

Basically, I spent all semester going on auto-pilot all throughout my day and checked all the boxes off, then it was Thursday at 6 and it was time for Small Group and I went and I had my homework, that was done to the point the questions were filled in, but I didn't think about the answers, because I didn't have time. 

Tonight was the last night, the video part, we were doing a Beth Moore study. I could listen to Beth Moore read the Bible to me all day long. She has such a way with words and emotion and imagery, and tonight her words and emotion and imagery slapped me right across the face. 

Ya know what tonight's study was on? Understanding. She pointed out that the Greek word for understanding is suniemi which means "assembling individual facts into an organized whole, as collecting the pieces of a puzzle and putting them together." Beth used the bible verse Matthew 13:15 (message version below) to back her up on this and it said,
 "Your ears are open but you don't hear a thing.
Your eyes are awake but you don't see a thing.
The people are blockheads!
They stick fingers in their ears
so they won't have to listen;
They screw their eyes shut
so they won't have to look,
so they won't have to deal with me face-to-face
Basically God is telling me to

I need to stop shutting Him out. I need to listen to Him. I'm doing all this research trying to find "understanding", trying to put all these individual facts into an organized whole, trying to put together all these puzzle pieces one at a time and forgetting the One who holds the last piece. The peace of the puzzle. The One with the understanding. The One who knows why.

I know I will not be healed on Earth. But I know that God knows why. I know that He has a purpose. I know that He holds the key to my suniemi, He holds the last piece to my puzzle. It's the peace His son brought by dying on the cross. Making it true that we don't need earthly understanding, the understanding we have in Him is enough.

And this is further confirmation, 1 year 5 months and 27 days later, why I need to rely on God to get me through this healing process with understanding one piece at a time.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Father of the fatherless?

This blog posting may have a different pace, but it's something I need to work through and some others close to me do here it goes.
Well, now that I've told you all about every aspect of my life...from my gi tract, to my reproductive system, to all the doctors i've seen in the past 2 years and exactly what they've told me...I'm going to tell you something personal...haha...yeah...because none of that stuff is really personal anymore...
If you personally know me, you know that my dad was not a real stellar dad. You know that he left me and my sister when we were young, you know that at one point yes- he was in fact married to two people at once (one of them being my mom) and we still aren't sure how it was legal, you will know that he made promise upon promise upon promise to make things better, to fix things, to make it ok...and when the day came for him to fix it, he disappeared again. You may also know some other things, but please don't comment them here, that means I just trust you with more info than others. You also probably know that he died at the age of 49, one month and one day after the first time I was hospitalized (and i've inherited some of his health issues, though most of his were bad life decisions), and when my mom called and told me I thought it was a joke because it wasn't the first time he had "died". I quickly learned it wasn't a joke since at this point in his life he wasn't married, and he and my mom were obviously divorced and as his eldest surviving child I was the "next of kin" all the sudden for a father I didn't know, talking to a hospital in Texas or Arizona I don't remember, at 1:30 in the morning, when I had to teach the next day, trying to figure out what to do with my dead father's organs when I didn't know what he wanted to be done with them. I also had to tell the people on the phone I didn't know if they could use them because he had a substance abuse problem, they assured me they could use his eyes and skin. I remember having to post on Facebook that my dad had died, but I didn't know what that meant. I didn't know whether to be relieved or sad. I didn't know what to think. I remember the first thing out of my mouth to my mom that was 'logical' was "I wish I could just go eat a whole loaf of bread and eat it right now" (remember this is one month after I found out I had to be gluten free). I remember what I did instead was drive in circles around the wonderful town of Salisbury, NC and didn't cry. In fact I didn't really cry for a long, long time..and I still never really processed it. That was 3.5 years ago, hard to believe.
I still haven't dealt with it, and it became abundantly obvious this week. Last Wednesday (1.5 weeks ago), after I finally got to sleep, which hasn't been happening well lately, I had the strangest dream. I was in my 27 year old body laying on my stomach in the middle of the floor in between 2 fathers who I know personally playing with their children (between 2 and 3 years old), having a temper tantrum and screaming "I want my daddy, I want my daddy". Now mind you, I have never really wanted my daddy, I have never used that word in regards to him, but for some reason 3.5 years after my dad has died, I have a dream that I want my daddy and I want him bad. To make the story even more interesting, the next night right after this there is a whole category on Jeopardy (which I watch every night) on great father's or something like that. Saturday thru Tuesday I was constantly in prayer for a friend of mine who suddenly lost her father to a stroke who is around the age I was when my dad passed away (save the fact that she was super close to her father). People have been posting pictures of pretty flowers they have photos of and one of the best pictures I ever took of a flower was when I was in Arizona, seeing my father for the last time with my sister before he passed away for his "last wish", so I went to the photo album to find the picture and saw me sitting on the bed with my father. Then tonight, a dear sweet gal, whom I love dearly, was struggling. Once I finally got her to let me know what was up she let me know that "I've had my father on my mind a TON lately. Like it's an every day thing and...I just don't understand how someone could walk out on their kid. It pisses me off." Talk about getting right to the point of my heart. Yeah I said it, my heart, not her heart, mine. She was confiding in me with this huge problem she was having, and lo and behold it was exactly what I've been struggling with too. In fact, I just asked my small group to pray to bring something to fruition of this obsession I've been having with it last night, talk about fast turn around.
See at first, I thought it's like my friend said, it pisses me off. And I thought I was pissed off at my dad. But then after the Easter service this past Sunday at my church (John 20) where they talked about taking my Lord away from me and hiding him, making some father connections there as well (in my head), and me really thinking about this stuff that's been going on I think, maybe just maybe I'm mad at God. and that's ok. as long as I tell Him out loud.
So why am I mad at God, you ask? Because God tells me in His Word in Psalm 68:5 that He is a Father to the fatherless. Not only does God tell you that. Any Christian you run into on the side of the street who finds out you don't have a father figure tells you don't worry, God's your Father, just think of God as your Father. Well, let me tell ya what people. That's fine and dandy for all you little girls that grew up sitting on your papa's lap, with them reading a book to you, tucking you into bed at night, making sure there were no monsters under your bed. But when you tell me, or my friend that God is my Father, that just makes me wary of God. Why would I want God to abandon me, hurt me, leave me, disappoint me,etc. Now, I know there is not Biblical evidence for this. In fact, I'm getting there, bear with me. But that is what we hear when you say that. We know you are trying to help, but think about what you've said. The only father figure we've had is one of a negative connotation and you are going to tell us it's ok because this God thing is going to be our Father instead...I mean let's be honest, at first, I was just like oh good, a father that doesn't have to "disappear" literally because I already can't see him.
But then you run into opposite stories like my other friend who raced home to make sure she could be by her daddy's side when his heart stopped. Because she had the kind of father that we want God to be like. She treasured the 19 hours she got to hold her daddy's hand before he went to be with the Father and was so thankful for that time. You run into fathers like my grandpa, who still does anything for his kids even though they are all very much adults. You run into the kinds of fathers that would do anything for everyone, those are the kind of fathers that we who are 'fatherless' need to be aware are out there. You run into the fathers that were horrible their whole fatherhood and then all the sudden realize what they did wrong (more on that in a minute). This is where the biblical truth of 'adoption' comes into play.
One of my favorite verses I use to get through this is Galatians 4:6-7 "Because you are His sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit calls out, 'Abba Father.' So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has also made you an heir. How great is it to think that we are an heir to THE Father, even if we miss our earthly dad, even if it pisses us off, even if we feel like he has been taken from us and hidden and it's unfair, even if we are disappointed. We are adopted into the kingdom of Heaven as an heir to the throne...doesn't that blow your mind? Blow's mine for sure. I know it doesn't make it better, I know it doesn't make it hurt less, man do I know that. I know it better than any person on the street. I've been dealing with the pain for 27 years. But it makes it a little better. Just a little bit. For today, and then I read the verse again tomorrow, that I am adopted by the best Father ever and I am an heir to the only throne that I would ever want to be.
From the last letter I got from my dad: "My love for you was never actions you saw, but if you could have only felt it. I love you now and forever. Dad"