27 May 2009

the quiet carries over

We are back, and it was wonderful. No talking on the phone, no endlessly e-mailing students, no teaching, and Steve and I actually got to talk!!!

My thoughts are foggy, but quiet. We had a very good time, but I have not yet immersed myself back into what was my normal routine, and I am not sure I will. I have not listened to the news at all yet, or Rush Limbaugh, or the few radio preachers I like. I have not really seen facebook or my e-mail very much either, or watched TV or talked on the phone. I feel that I quit all those things, those parts of home, to go on this trip, and now that the trip is over, and these things have not started up again, I am left in the quiet. I like it. I don't want to break the silence.

I would love to catch up with friends one by one, and I will definitely blog about our trip, but for now, I am just in the quiet. Well, and leaving town again. Since returning, we have already been to Houston for a crawfish boil, and now it's off to Rockport, Corpus and Austin in the morning. Our family and friends have a few big things going on that we want to be there for. :)

But I think my life will be overall quieter from here on. It makes me appreciate music again, and pay attention to what I see, like my beautiful herbs on the balcony.

14 May 2009

leaving Dallas for a while

We are leaving for London and Paris tomorrow. Even though I am super excited, the exhaustion still continues, but is not as bad since I remembered that God is God. I talked to my mom and sister about it, and they both said that they have thought I was over-exhausted for some years now, but that I always said, "Oh, it's just because I'm in college!" Or "It's because I'm stressed." Or "It's because I just got married and we never have down time."

It turns out I might need more than down time, even though some of that would be nice! Mom and Kristin both told me separately that they think I need to go to a doctor about this tiredness. Being tired beyond your years is I guess not natural. Steve says I need to read books about boundaries and saying no and not stressing. I really thought I was a normal, not stressed person, but maybe not. I thought my job of teaching piano just took more energy than other peoples' jobs, and that's how I justify being tireder than everyone else. Sometimes though, I just think this town is sucking the life out of me.

Anyway, boring...but I just had to blog about it because, since other people think that I need to go to the doctor, it is a relief to think that maybe I am not a lazy hypochondriac after all. It turns out that if I want to stay at home for three months and not see anyone, maybe that's alright. I think I will do that after we get back.

But I am SO excited to leave for Europe tomorrow! I mean, I will be. This post seems like a strange mix of complaining and trying to get excited. My intellect knows that this is exciting, but the rest of me is just tired. I am sure I will feel differently when we actually are going. :)

07 May 2009

Paying the Interest

I feel so exhausted, like a horse who is never allowed to stop and rest. Today I asked the Lord for an answer to all that is worrying me: stressful goings-on in our national politics, stressful disagreements with friends, a long list of people whom I should call (don't ask why that should freak me out, it just does!), how I will get my house clean and prepare to travel out of the country next week, while I lie in bed exhausted almost all day every day until it is time to get ready for work. I rest, but the extreme weariness does not go away. I feel every day as if I were just getting over the flu, and even the smallest chore exhausts me to the point of being almost bedridden, and yet I don't sleep much.

I think it is coming from my heart, my soul. I know more people with cancer and tragedy in their lives than I ever have. Most of them are Christians, and handling it well. I know we are not called to carry everyone's burden's really, but to share them. You can't take away what the Lord has given someone to bear, but you can help. Praying is helping, even though it sometimes seems so futile. I see so much suffering all around. Parts of my family have even been touched, by the heart-wrenching sorts of things that make you just say, "Why?" There's no good reason I can see for someone who did nothing to deserve it to be smitten with some painful, inexplicable illness, or death.

So I pray for miracles for my friends who are gravely ill, I pray for strength for the ones who live in constant and insatiable physical pain, and comfort for the ones who have lost someone, even though it seems to me that there must be no comfort possible, even from God, though He is the God of all comfort. I try to be active in standing up for what I believe the Bible says, in every aspect of everything I am and do, even in the face of a bunch of hate from our culture, who hates God's word because they do not know Him. I weep and plead with the Lord for my friends who are not saved: my friend Emily, who has brain cancer, my old piano teacher in Corpus, who is very, very old and does not seem to know the Lord's salvation yet. I pray strongly for him and his entire family, and it seems like still nothing happens. Then I get discouraged. But there are others, too, who I know and who need to be saved, and I keep on because I do not know what the Lord might be doing. Well, sometimes I actually stop, but I always start up again.

All of these things have fallen heavily on my heart, and at the same time, I have been forced to articulate things I have never articulated before. I suppose this is called growing. But I am so tired from it. Partly, I feel that this town sucks the life out of me (if you hear me say "Dallas sucks," that's what I mean), and partly, I spend some amount of energy hating Dallas (not good for my health, I know), and another large amount loving my life here in my little condo with Steve and our animals, and an even larger amount trying to sort through all that is happening with and to everyone I know and love. I feel that the stress of knowing all these things is draining my energy before I can produce or obtain any more.

So, here I am in bed again today, but I do not rest. My thoughts don't rest, and that's why I think it is taking so many days in bed for me to recover from what looks to other people like a few mildly stressful months, maybe. Even talking exhausts me, which is different from usual. There is something about my voice coming out of my body that just seems too tiring for words! (no pun intended.) So, today as I read the Psalms, I said, "Lord, please tell me!" Of course the Lord knows something I don't. That's the point to a lot of it, but I wanted an answer that would make my thoughts be quiet and rest. My mind is so tired. My heart is so tired. My world is so chaotic and fallen and full of lies.

And I turned to my next Psalm in my order of the day, number 97, and it answered me with: "The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the coastlands" (I love how the caostlands get specifically mentioned--I wonder why though) "be glad!" That's it? Be glad? But it is a relief. My churning thoughts are grinding slowly to a halt for the first time in weeks, because He reigns. I am not in charge of it all. I confess I wanted a more complex explanation, but this seems to have been the one I needed.

Speaking of worrying about politics, my sister sent me a bunch of great quotes from the founding fathers of our country, and I wanted to ram a few of them, not least this one, down a few high-up throats:

"...if we desire peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are ready at all times for War." ~George Washington

But the one that really stuck out to me was this, and think it is straight out of a mind that tried to think Biblical thoughts:

"Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble."
~George Washington

My husband tells me this in various ways over and over. I do not consider all of my spiritual battles as borrowed trouble, or the real trouble that my friends are in as borrowed trouble, but it is borrowing trouble when I worry that the Lord does not have it all under His control, and that perhaps I must take it into mine.

04 May 2009

Healing in the Ruling

A friend asks me, "Who are we to look at someone who is deeply hurting and tell them that they're wrong?" I think it is the wrong question, because of course, we are nobody. God is the one who does that. If He chooses to do it through a Christian, that is His business.

But does that mean that we should not defend what the Bible says? However distasteful it is to our present culture, God's Word is still His Word, in every arena of our little cosmos. This friend says that "Our weapons are not against flesh and blood" so maybe we shouldn't have a military. She will apply that to our government, but when it comes to verses about gay marriage, she'd rather not apply it to politics, which I think is a little inconsistent. There may be a strong case out there for Christian pacifism, even though I don't agree, but there's not really a case for gay marriage being okay. Not from the Bible anyway. If I could find one, and tell all those hurting, confused people to go ahead and make themselves happy, I would. I would love to. But as a Christian, I can't.

And who are Christians? We are people who were hurting, broken and confused before we found God's mercy and His plan. We would still be hurting and broken, if it weren't for Jesus. Sometimes, we're pretty darn messed up but, as another friend of mine often says, perfection is not required of us. What is required is repentance, and faith. To trust and obey. And we aren't allowed to make the rules.

How can someone want to tell people about Jesus, but not want to tell them that they need Him, or why they need Him? The telling of why is the looking-into-their-hurting-eyes-and-telling-them-they're-wrong part. We don't always do just that, but if the Lord is working in someone's heart, they eventually come to that conclusion. Our need for Jesus is not because of our pain, confusion, or messed up lives. Our need lies in the fact that we are sinful and God is holy.

God has mercy: His mercy wakes us up to the fact that we need Him. His mercy makes us able to repent. His mercy forgives us. His mercy made a way for us to be counted righteous by faith in the One who was sacrificed for us. His mercy heals us. The people who were healed physically and/or spiritually in the Bible had to have the faith to ask Jesus to heal them, and to realize that they needed Him first.

It is the same with us. The message of salvation is not, "Come and be healed," it is "Come and be ruled." But healing is a part of it. There's healing in the ruling. There is healing only when one repents and submits to Gods design.