Having looked at my last entry under Patt’s Perspective, which was a long time ago, I see that I was just getting the victory over “The Pod”. I can still see it in my mind’s eye and remember clearly the longing for orderliness that made the Pod a temporary necessity. Thank goodness that is over, though there have been many more battles and victories on other fronts. Through them all, I noticed a disturbing trend of choosing a less than spiritual approach for coping while the battles raged.
There have been frustrating battles with computer programs and internet problems that don’t work or we don’t understand how to make them work. We have our on-going sadness with the estrangement from our oldest daughter, Trish, and her family. There’s continual emotional struggle with having to be separated from each other: J.L. and the ministry overseas and me staying here to manage the household. As I recently complained to one friend, “J.L. is currently in Singapore teaching at a strategic pastors’ conference, and I am currently with our car in Burlington having the oil changed and the tires rotated.” Both are necessary; it’s just that one sounds a whole lot more spiritual than the other.
The list of frustrations is longer than that but I feel ashamed to even mention them, having talked yesterday with a friend whose son has just been diagnosed with a stage 3 brain tumor, another friend who is suddenly a widow and just now an email that the son of other dear friends has relapsed in drug treatment rehab…again. So now, I carry guilt around with me because my complaints seem like nothing compared to my friends’ realities.
It seems like I’m in a desolate place. Like a desert, it’s a dry place, devoid of refreshment or encouragement. It’s a rather lonely place, and like the desert, uncomfortable in the daytime and night. Figuratively speaking, there are all kinds of biting and stinging critters, thoughts that nip at my peace of mind and keep me self-focused instead of God-focused.
So that brings me back to my coping mechanism while the battle rages. Dessert. No, make that desserts. Especially the chocolate variety.
After all, I reason with myself, with all that I am suffering, I deserve a break, a treat, a reward to help me feel better. Chocolate chip cookies; fudge; hot chocolate. But, I also talk to myself, “Self, make note of the fact that your wardrobe size upgrade means that just one dessert in the desert is a poor coping mechanism to handle stress, sadness and frustration.” No wonder I don’t see anything encouraging as I look around.
Well, are you tired of me wallowing in my sorrows and even self-pity? Yeah, so am I. Of course, I know some sorrows are valid, but I don’t like to hear whining from others and definitely don’t like to hear it in myself. I have obviously chosen the wrong delicacies for my pity party. Maybe you are asking why I don’t choose prayer or scripture right away? Well, because there are times when I am not spiritually strong enough. I can’t seem to find the words to pray and I stare at the scripture but don’t “see” it.
Sometimes I ask people to pray for me and sometimes I ask the Lord to bring me to someone’s mind, for Him to impress on that person to pray for me. It gives me a real spiritual lift when I hear from a friend that God did just that, like getting an extra shot of the Holy Spirit’s power to be superimposed on my lack of will power!
Obviously, I know that eating desserts is an unproductive way to cope with the spiritual desert I’ve been going through. While it does bring pleasure and comfort for the moment, it never brings victory. So I persevere, however haltingly, to make better selections than desserts when the trials and tribulations come – and they will come as long as I live here on this earth.
For those of you who are in the midst of the same battle as I, I pray that we will have the eyes of faith to see all the peace, joy and strength that God has provided in advance to sustain us through our deserts. Let us pray that we will trust the good Shepherd who goes ahead of us, that we will graze in the green pastures He has prepared for us, and will not fall back into the trap of choosing a dessert in our desert. Instead, may we “eat” what God has for us in His word, so that we can say with Ezekiel, “So I ate it [God’s words on a scroll] and it tasted sweet as honey in my mouth.” (3:3)
Battling to choose the sweetest Name I know (and it’s not Hersey’s)!
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