Monday, January 13, 2014

The Fast is Working

Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right.
~Max Lucado, He Still Moves Stones

"The fast is working" is what my husband declared when I shared with him conversations between my Lord and me. I agree, but on my side it is proving to be a very painful process. Yesterday while getting ready for church my Lord and I were having one of our conversations and He asked me if there was one thing, just one thing, that I could ask of Him to heal what would it be. It took me some time as I thought of the three main physical things that I have been wanting Him to heal this past year. Then I thought of something else that was beyond them and I answered, "My heart."

Then He told me I had made the wise choice and reminded me of the day I had gone up in the church asking for healing, which I tucked away in a blog post called My Love Bracelet in October 2013. You see, He had already given me the answer months ago, but I was not looking for that answer then. I knew it was significant when I received it, but I was also disappointed that I did not receive the healing I wanted at that time. I realized that finally, after all these months, I am aligned with wanting the healing God desires for me to have. So, I guess my husband is right, the fast is working; I am willing to follow the Holy Spirit's leading into the depths of this heart issue that I probably have worked hard to ignore and avoid for years.

My Lord and I are cutting and unraveling the patchwork mending of my heart with honesty beyond what I would feel comfort sharing here (beyond what I am comfort with personally also), but I can share this one thing. Children grow up needing an anchor. Usually the anchor is one or both parents. In my case, neither of my parents. My father was abusive and my mother was too afraid of him to stop it. After they split up, my mother was a self-gratifying, undisciplined creature spending money she did not have, although she was working then, and going out with men and seeing friends while expecting the oldest child at the time to take care of everything at home with unpaid bills and hardly any food. I well remember how my sister just three years younger, who had been our mother's favorite before the baby, hated it when our mother started treating her as she had me when our  mother sent me to stay with my aunt and then decided she did not want me back; after two years of that treatment my sister left to live with another family member also.

I focused on my paternal grandmother as my role model when I was young, because we lived next door to her, but that was not really practical because her son was abusing us just fifteen feet away. Children are not practical. Gramma was a career woman who worked on a military base as a civilian with high clearance. She was not a cuddly grandmother, but she provided us with things that money could buy, like clothing, toys, and art supplies. She also paid our utility bills because the two houses, which were more like summer cottages, were connected for utilities and I doubt that my father ever even paid rent as he tended to spend money left over from groceries and beer on his hobbies. Although I later saw her as an enabler with a son that was fathered probably by her step father (even though she would never admit who the father was), I looked up to her as a young child: She was successful when men firmly reigned in the business world and she did not a man supporting her...a man she had to rely on for money as my mother did. Later I lived with Gramma for a couple of years as an adult when I first moved to Florida and although I loved her, she was no longer a role model for me. She was capable to take for herself and her things, but also manly kind of woman who would smile to your face and talk bad of you behind your back; she did not enjoy people and never went out with men that I ever remembered.

My ideal was my aunt, my mother's sister, also since I was a child and probably all of my adult life. In contrast to her sister, she was a highly disciplined and organized Christian woman who did so many things. She had a nice house that she kept extremely clean and well organized. She always has been an intensely emotional person; there was no doubt when she was happy or sad or angry and she yelled a lot at everyone when she was frustrated, so she was not perfect, but she was placed on a high pedestal in my eyes. She was happily married in a highly loving relationship, had four children, and always worked at something mostly at home and church. She got jobs outside the home when they needed extra money, she went back to college to start a career around forty years of age as their business began to fail, and she worked as the main steady bread winner until she retired. Before she had to work she started many things in her church and the community, mostly around music and involving teens. I could write an entire book on this woman and her accomplishments!

My aunt has been my best friend and my role model all of my life. During this fast, I realized that I would use her often as my measuring stick. My aunt drove a school bus when it was a man's domain so if she could drive a school bus, I could too...and I did for nearly an entire school year (long story). That was how I measured my abilities, because although my aunt was larger than life when I was a young girl, it was when I lived with her for two years, I realized she was just a person and I could do anything she could plus we had so many interests in common, like art and music.

I now realized that I may have been trying to model my life around my aunt's or at least my imagined version of my aunt. When I was younger, I often wondered what my aunt would think of this or that, if she would have done the same, if she would be proud of me, and so on. This anchored me when I did not trust myself to make good decisions and I rarely consciously do this now, but yesterday I realized that it is still ingrained in me. Which makes me wonder now...who am I really and have I really ever been just me?

All my life the things I have loved, I did not let myself love too much, because I am constantly aware that they are just things and things can be destroyed or taken from me as has happened a number of times in my life. The people I have loved, I have never really let myself love fully, because people can change, disappoint, move away, or die. I allow myself just a little pleasure, but then feel guilty remembering all the people living in huts without running water or children enslaved; my life is far better than theirs. I just cannot allow myself to be too happy, to love too much, to enjoy that which my Lord has blessed me and the other side of that is I do not let people love me too much as I fear disappointing them also.

I keep my expectations on others low, but expectations of myself are very high, so high in fact that I cannot but fall short of them. No matter how well I do anything, in my mind I could have and should have done it better. It is a self-defeating attitude, I know, but one that I have had all my life. I am hoping the fast is working, that I am dropping off this heavy backpack of burdens that I have been carrying all of my life because in my weaken fasting state I now realize how very heavy it is and I do not want to be carrying it around anymore.

~ My Lord, guide me further to the me You desire me to be and may it glorify You. ~

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.