Saturday, February 25, 2017

5 slow minutes on Friday

I'm joining again with Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday [here]...

There is probably a government study somewhere that cost millions just to prove that the best way to get your life to slow down is to be in a hurry to get somewhere or something.

A watched pot of water boils at the same temperature an unwatched pot does, but it feels like it takes longer when you are watching it.

Traffic lights are all synchronized to change at specific intervals, but the one time you are running late for work, they all immediately turn yellow as you approach and the red seems to take twice as long to turn green.

When you are out of work and looking for a job (rather desperately), it can be months to hear back on an application. But when you get a job ... it seems like the offers appear out of nowhere.

I was out of work for most of 2016, and recently counted the number of applications I submitted (278).  In that time we moved to another state for more job opportunities, and have been renting a basement apartment. Winter in Wisconsin (or the Michigan Upper Peninsula where we were) can be seasonally depressing just by itself. Winter in a basement apartment without any natural light? Time slows to an immeasurable crawl.  Seasonal depression, however, accelerates.  This winter has been like nothing I've ever experienced before, and I'm taking into consideration puberty, divorces (parents and my own), and the death of loved ones.

Slow is too short of a word to really encompass all that it can affect.

I was reading the March issue of Horse & Rider the other day (because it was a slow afternoon at work) and read a fascinating article about slow medicine.  It referenced a book "God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine."  While the article was about veterinary medicine and horses, it got my attention for its Lean Six Sigma/Continuous Process Improvement applications. Slow medicine is about learning about the patient, and instead of prescribing drugs or modalities that often mask the true problem, it is finding the root cause and making changes that will allow the patient to self-heal and prevent the illness or injury from happening again. Healing can be slow, but that is a good thing.

God works slow.

His timing may feel almost slower than winter in a basement, but He works in ways we don't often see until we begin to slowly wake up from the things that can keep us in the darkness.

This past week I've felt like my eyes have been opened to a new brightness. Not in a literal sense, but in seeing how His light has been filling me, slowly healing me. Flooding the dark corners of my mind and heart, His light has been showing me the lies of the enemy and how the hurt that I've been holding onto was hurting me even more.

Slowly healed with His love and grace ...

I have a new outlook on boiling water and traffic lights.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

what I've learned about love and forgiveness...

If I wrote a post for Valentine's Day about what I've learned about love, it would be short and boring to most because the most important thing I've learned about love is that it is all about forgiveness.

If I wrote a post for Valentine's Day about what I've learned about marriage, you'd roll your eyes and smirk, thinking to yourself "what does she know about marriage? she's been divorced three times!"

So this is a post about love and forgiveness and marriage because without the first two you probably won't have a marriage that lasts or one that is happy. Everything I know about love came when I was able to forgive. Everything I know about being able to forgive came when I realized I was loved ... and forgiven.

Love is much different as you get older than what you might think it is when you are in your teens and twenties (or thirties, and maybe even in your forties). Love when you are young is easily confused with that tingly sensation you get when your crush is around.

Here is a secret about love ... it won't start physically. Oh, you might get those butterflies in your stomach, and feel your face flush, maybe even get a faster pitter-patter in your heart.

But love, real love, grows over time.

It is a conscious decision to fall in love all over again day-after-day. It is a conscious decision to forgive ... and to be forgiven.

Love means making choices like forgiving someone you love even when you still feel hurt or angry. It can also mean making hard choices sometimes like walking away and not looking back, even if just for a little while. They don't call it tough love because it is easy.

It means standing by those decisions in the face of everything that others might say. It means sometimes getting out of God's way to let Him make the changes that you can't because the only person you will ever be able to change is yourself, and the sooner you realize that, the happier you and your marriage will be.

Here is a truth about marriage ... it isn't between you and "everyone else." It is between you, the one you love, and God. There may be someone else who has been through what you are going through, but there isn't anyone who has been through what you are feeling.

What I have learned about love and forgiveness and marriage, is that there will be mistakes made. Things said that weren't meant the way they were heard. Things that were done that shouldn't have been.

There will be times when you wonder what you are doing here ... or there ... now ... or then. And the truth is that there are no easy answers, no easy love, no easy forgiveness, and no easy marriages.

Marriages take work, commitment, communication, honesty, forgiveness, hugs, tears, dancing in the kitchen, late night hugs, reaching out in the dark and holding a hand.

They take faith, hope, desire, dreams, pain, sacrifice, compromise, road trips, laughter, messy hair, and smelly socks.

Marriages take patience, learning, growing, giving, taking, adventures, flowers, burnt cookies, and cleaning up after sick pets, children, or each other.

They aren't always pretty, they aren't always fun. They aren't the glamor of Hollywood or the ugliness of reality TV.

But when you find love and forgiveness, you figure out how to make it work. Because a marriage built with love and forgiveness ... is a marriage worth fighting for, working for, risking for, and giving it all for.