Up with the birds...

Well, actually, I don't even hear any birds. : ) It's still dark. I have been awake since 4:00. I often lie in my bed and pray silently until I fall back to sleep. This morning, praying made me more fully awake.

My prayers are 90% thanking God for all that He has done for me, from the cross to my marriage. This morning, I was also asking Him to deliver me from myself.

As you know, I have been working on a book about my life since mid-January. This process has been transformational in different ways. One aspect of my spiritual journey has involved the light God has shown on my own personal self-focus. You cannot write a book about your life without introspection and self-disclosure. At least, I can't.

Writing is therapeutic for me, but it has also been painful at times. I have relived situations that brought suffering. I have relived the joy of deliverance and redemption. I have relived personal failures. I guess you could say it's been an emotional rollercoaster at times, but life is an emotional rollercoaster. At least, it is for someone as "in touch" with their emotions as I am. : )

Every failure in my life, no matter how small, takes me first to the cross and then to introspection. This morning, I was again asking God to forgive me for my preoccupation with self and I thought about how deceptive my own heart is. It will find every possible way to make something about me, when it's not. Yet even knowing this, how often I still take the bait! It can be discouraging, to say the least.

I am so thankful God doesn't leave me there, in self-denial. He has been so good and so gracious to shine His light on this part of my heart. With the hindsight of only 24 hours, He helps me to see my yesterdays for what they are. And He gently refocuses me on the gifts of repentance and forgiveness.

I am especially susceptible to my emotions during times of elevated stress. I have been melancholy and a little more sensitive this week, following the stress of John's health issues and hospitalization. My insecurities have gotten the best of me. And in the early morning light of June 5, I clearly see how emotionally drained I am.

As I write this, I can't help reflecting on this time two years ago. John was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in June and I battled depression all summer. We went to Mayo in July. We found Dr. Flinn in August. I developed shingles and reflux that fall from the internalized stress (he didn't want me to talk about it to hardly anyone at the time). I remember several months of hibernation and tears.

Then God spoke to my heart and told me to live in today, not in an imagined tomorrow. He helped me to stop projecting myself into the uncertainty of a future I can't see and to put my trust back where it belongs; completely in Him. I will never forget the day I was watering flowers and crying, asking God for all "good prognostic markers." If there was ever a time I knew God spoke to me, it was that day. He said, "I don't want you to put your faith in good markers or a certain outcome. Put your faith in ME and in the promise that I am working all things for your good; even this."

I worked through my fears and learned to put myself -- and John -- in God's hands. Last summer I had to confront my fears again when he had a reaction to treatment and I thought I was losing him. I wasn't, of course. He was fine. It turned out to be something called "tumor lysis syndrome." But it was scary. And as we were awaiting surgery last Friday, I relived that day in the Emergency Room and tried not to project myself into future hospitalizations.

John is recovering and hasn't had any complications from the surgery, but I have struggled emotionally this week. I don't feel depressed. I just feel physically, emotionally and mentally depleted. So, to all of you who read my blog regularly, I just want to thank you for bearing with me through my ups and downs. Sometimes I feel like an emotional trainwreck. And when I do, it is usually reflected on my blog.

I feel like such a wimp when I think about the things that I let bother me. Even more so when I think about the cross and what Jesus willingly endured so that I could have life through Him. I am humbled this morning by God's great love and mercy. He is such a kind, compassionate Father. In my weakness, He is so strong. I will never understand or comprehend why He would love me, but I am so thankful that He does.


John Wagner said…
A wonderful post. “Deliver me from myself.” That is certainly a prayer each one of us could and should pray. Thank you for sharing yourself so openly.

This disease, or any serious illness, takes one on a rollercoaster ride of emotions and I think perhaps even more so for the caretaker and loved ones of the person with the illness. Add that to the normal emotional rollercoaster ride of life and you better fasten yourself in and hang on tight (to God’s promises). Even when we can't figure ourselves out God knows and understands us and, as you pointed out, miraculously loves us.

One thing I have trouble with is forgiving myself for some transgression even after asking for and receiving God’s forgiveness.

Now, young lady, you get your rest because lack of sleep will play even more havoc with your emotions. :) I am thankful John is doing well.
Shari said…
Hey John, thank you for such an encouraging comment. I'm feeling so much better today - in spite of the lack of sleep! One thing you can ALWAYS count on me for is sharing myself openly! ; )

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