Sunday, January 10, 2010

God's lessons...

God's lessons...
Somehow they are NEVER what I expect!
I am continually amazed at HOW the Lord teaches me and WHO He uses, and this past few weeks has been no exception to this!

The Lord has brought someone back into my life that knew me "back then" right in the moment when I am stepping away from the unhealthy way that I have been living for so long. It continues to amaze me that this person knows me so much better than I know myself. And it is humbling (and a bit embarrassing) to realize how far I was willing to set myself aside to try to endure an unhealthy situation. Rediscovering myself has been an amazingly freeing experience, and has brought such joy to my heart. And some of the things are so simple, but without those simple things that feed my soul I am so empty, short and temperamental.

For example, I forgot how much I LOVE music playing around me all the time. For years I have lived in a silent home, and it darkens my mood. Simply having joyful noise playing makes my home such a joyful place and lightened my heart. And the kicker? I didn't even think of it! I have been so long without being "allowed" to play music in the house that I didn't even think of turning it on until I walked into my home one day and my friend had music on! Immediately my heart was happy and my mood lighter. So simple, but so buried.

Another part of me that I forgot? The simple pleasure of working ALONG SIDE of someone, doing something that needs done. Work will always be work, but it is so much more enjoyable to do it WITH someone else! It doesn't have to be either person's favorite activity, but just having someone the share it with makes it fun. And the finished product makes it rewarding, not a chore at all.

Along the same lines as the above, I am finding freedom and enjoyment in my home and surroundings again. For so long I have been ashamed of my home, of all of the work that there is to do and the fact that I don't have the time to do it and beaten down by having to do it all alone. In addition to being mom, working 4 jobs and keeping my home running to "extra" that it takes to keep a home up was too much for me. I felt like I lived in "hill billy hell", and I HATED it. But there was so little time to do anything, and I had to do it all alone. Things never got done for so many reasons but now things are getting done and I LOVE coming home to my house, I LOVE making it pretty and comfortable and a place of joy for my family. I LOVE that someone sees what needs done and is willing to jump in and do it with me, getting nothing out of it for themselves but the satisfaction of seeing me happy and content! And I feel like I can invite people to my home again!! What a great feeling.

The final thing that I want to share that God is teaching me is a lot harder to explain, but I am going to try because I think it is SO IMPORTANT. So bear with me as I stumble through this one :)

Are you familiar with Gary Chapman's 5 Love Languages? I think that this is an AMAZING book in understanding HOW to communicate a sense of caring to anyone. I personally find it a great reference in EVERYTHING I do. Chapman contents that there are 5 ways that people feel loved, but I think of it more along the lines of appreciated, taken care of or feeling important. To me you can use this in ANY area of your life, and it helps to build ALL relationships. The 5 Languages he speaks of are

Words of Affirmation
Physical (NOT sexual) Touch
Quality Time
Acts of Service
and Receiving Gifts

When you know HOW someone feels loved, appreciated, honored or important then you can speak to them in ways that they hear. For example, if I am working along side of someone who needs to hear words of affirmation to know that they are doing a job well, then I can speak those words to them and it will mean so much more to them than if I had given them a thank you gift. Or if I have a child who "hears love" through touch I can hug on them and it will speak to their heart better than anything I can say to them.

I have long known that I am a Acts of Service and Physical Touch kind of girl. But for YEARS I have not received those things, and hence my self esteem and feelings of worth have taken a HUGE nose dive. Add to that the fact that I had a husband who GREATLY misunderstood one of those languages, and I was in a BAD place. In the past few weeks I have been AMAZED at a few things. One is that my old friend knew EXACTLY what I needed within MINUTES of seeing me again. And two, how full my heart felt within a few days of simple needs being met.

Now don't misunderstand me. I am not saying that I have replaced my husband with this person or ANYTHING like that, but I truly believe that friends are JUST as important to carry us through these dark times as spouses are. AND I truly believe that the Lord has caused MANY situations to work together in such a way that I am able to now re learn these lessons. My whole being has changed and it is evident to those around me who don't even know half of what I am going through. It AMAZES me when someone says to me "something is so different about you, and in a good way too!" Or even more amazing, when I ran into an old friend the other day and he did a double take and said to "Welcome back, I have missed THIS Gretchen." WOW!

I know I have so far to go in my healing, and so far to go in growth. I pray that the Lord continues to teach me right up to the second that He calls me home! But in that I am also enjoying looking at all He has shown me in such an unexpected way and learning who He created me to be all over again!

And on a serious note, I want to tell any of you who are reading this and are in a relationship that is NOT what the Lord would have for you, STEP ASIDE! I waited TOO LONG. I let myself be put down too long, demeaned too much and disregarded as an important being for too long. Don't do that. Look to the Lord, prayerfully ask for His guidance in your life, and willing set your feet to His path. Don't look to society, don't set your heart on what others would have for you, look only to the ONE who knows His path for you and be willing to take it! I know that there are MANY who don't agree with my actions now, but I KNOW in an even stronger way that this is the path that the Lord has for me, so I will journey it with ASSURANCE that He will continue to guide me. What a relief to let control of EVERYTHING lay solely in His hands!