Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us ---1 Peter 2:11-12
I am getting out more and more these days - praise God! It's awesome, but it's also extremely WEIRD! I have flashbacks to movie scenes where someone was abducted by aliens, taken to outer space and put through an indescribable experience, then transported back to earth and popped straight back into their old life. They have so much to say to everyone in their lives but they can't get the words out right and since the people they are around didn't actually go through what they went through, they can't truly articulate everything they are feeling in a way that others can understand. That's me right now!
The only real-life thing I can liken it to is pregnancy. In the first trimester before I was showing I wanted to float around everywhere I went telling everyone my news. I didn't want a single stranger to see me and not know the exciting secret I was carrying. I wanted to hold a sign, to write it on my forehead, to tell everyone. In the moment I heard those 2 heartbeats inside me I was different; never to be the same person again. I was no longer Nicole the wife, I was Nicole the wife and mom. My role and who I was at the core was altered forever. And I wanted people to know it.
I ran into a friend the other day that I hadn't seen since before last October. She asked, "How have you been?" Now for any of you reading my blog for the past nine months how could I possibly answer that question in the 60-second time I had with her? I couldn't. I gave my standard response, "I'm good. I've been sick for over a year with Meniere's Disease. It's not life-threatening, but it is life-altering. I quit work, I rarely drive and I don't go places by myself. BUT, God has taken me on an incredible spiritual journey and He has stayed faithful and for that I am so grateful." It's like trying to write a novel on a post-it note. I worry that's not a good enough answer. Just like when I was pregnant I want the world to know that I am different. At 40 years old my slate has been cleaned and my frame of reference for everything I think, say and do is completely changed. When I read Paul's writings, I think he experienced that. He wanted everyone to know God's goodness and everything about God and what he had done in his life and at times it seemed he would burst if he couldn't tell people.
I realize that it will take time to tell my story and that my life will have to show for itself what God has done. And I struggle with that too. Because although God has cleansed my soul and changed my heart, he didn't take away any of my personality - I'm still stubborn, bossy, opinionated and Type A. So I'm learning to show who God is while trapped in this human, flawed body. I've joked with a few friends that I've met this year, "What if you don't like me when I'm well and you see who I really am?"
All Christians should struggle with our strange world. If we truly are changed, if God has really worked in our lives, we should want to shout our stories to the world. We should feel weird and uncomfortable walking around here. The challenge is how we do it. I've been to retailers when they are having some sort of promotion. All the employees are wearing buttons that say, "Ask me about our layaway options" or something along those lines. Maybe that's what I need to do. Create a button that says, "Ask me about the miracle that I experienced." Maybe not. I guess I'll keep thinking about it...
As I mentioned, I'm getting out more and it truly is incredible. Not only am I getting out more but I'm not having to fight through the times when I am out. Before when I was out I was still in a state of constant dizziness but now I'm having moments of clarity. Yesterday I ran too many errands and was really bad off last night and today. But the cool thing is days like yesterday help me learn my boundaries. And you know I wrote about having to put my kids on the bus to ride home and I felt God was making me give up yet another thing? As soon as I was obedient in that, I am now able to pick up my kids. Coincidence? Not likely. The really great thing is their teacher is so wonderful that she is giving me the flexibility to call the school if I am having a bad day and she will put them on the bus for me. It's a no-lose scenario.
I have felt God leading me into another project. I am putting together a "Joy in the Journey Resource Kit." It's a compilation of scriptures, books, bible characters and lessons that have helped me through the suffering I have been through. I continue to hear stories of people with medical conditions and diagnoses far worse than anything I could imagine. Perhaps through my experience I could share with them some things that helped me cope. It's just a few pages and I can mail it or e-mail it. If you know of someone who might need this, please let me know.
And finally, I am trying really hard this month to focus on Jesus and not "Christmas." It's hard to do. I especially want my kids to understand this is about Jesus and nothing else. Enjoy this month and don't let the stress of "Christmas" divert you from the real reason we should celebrate.