the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm,
and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm..."
This Thanksgiving marks a year since my move, and the above verse totally captures the essence of how it feels. Even though it has not been a year without challenges, the Lord has awesomely intervened to work them all out for my good and for His glory.
As I get ready to celebrate, I think of each child, grandchild, and great-grandchild, and feel so blessed to see how our family has grown and, most of all, blessed that the Lord has allowed me to be a part of it. There was a time when I never even dreamed of the possibility.
I think of the previous 12 years after I left New York and settled in Virginia, and the bittersweetness of it all. The feeling of isolation, the difficulty making friends, perceiving myself as being on the outside looking in at a church where the teaching was good but I never felt truly included.
It was a lonely time, a time of struggle, a humbling time, a time of feeling that the Lord had put me on the shelf, a time where I learned much about patience and trusting Him even when I could not understand the whys or wherefores, and then finally, a time of resignation and acceptance.
I think of how it was when I reached that point of acceptance that the wheels of change were set in motion, and suddenly, between the events that took place one evening and the decisions made the next morning, the Lord unexpectedly took me off the shelf and landed me in this small town that I have grown to love.
Here I became part of a new church family that has embraced me with open arms and enabled me to make use of the gifts God has given me. Since day one, I have felt loved and valued. I have wonderful neighbors too, and once again, the walls of my apartment ring with the echos of joy and laughter as friends and family come to call.
I don't know what the next year has in store, but I intend to gratefully seize the moment and savor every blessing the Lord has provided for me to enjoy right now.
I'm not quite sure why I didn't think to blog about this at the time. Probably I was too traumatized and tried to shove the experience into the deep recesses of my mind. But this morning it all came back to me in vivid detail as I read a post that made me laugh and laugh while I pictured myself reacting the same way.
My mouse experience started a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for something in my pantry and noticed a hole in a bag of Oodles of Noodles. I figured it must have torn as a result of being carelessly bagged at the grocery store, or as I tried to shove it into an overcrowded pantry shelf. Then, a couple of days later as I was putting some groceries away, I felt something lightly skim my forearm and roll under the stove. I assumed it was something that fell off the shelf, so I looked under the stove with a flashlight to retrieve it, but couldn't see a thing.
That evening my daughter and grandkids came for dinner, and I asked my granddaughter to look under the stove with the flashlight and see if she could find what had rolled under there. She couldn't see anything either, and must have thought I was having another one of those senior moments.
Anyway, the next day I decided I really had to do something about the pantry and started taking everything out of it so I could reorganize the shelves. In the process, I noticed a hole in a bag of egg noodles...and then some mouse turds...and then it struck me. There had been a mouse in my pantry. There were mouse turds everywhere--even on the wall behind the shelves. Yuck, gross!!!!!
I practically fell to my knees thanking God for His grace in keeping me from actually seeing the mouse or even imagining that that was what had so lightly brushed my arm as it jumped out and went scurrying to safety under the stove. Knowing that I had no hubby to call who could come to my rescue, and I would have most likely run screaming into the street, not even closing my apartment door beind me, or perhaps fainted or died on the spot--not a pretty sight for my daughter and grandkids to be greeted by--He came to my rescue Himself. Now how cool is that?
So try to make a long story a bit shorter, I had the handyman in my complex come up and move the stove, and sure enough, there was a mouse hole behind it which he plugged up. And God was gracious to me once again by keeping the mouse from returning before we did this, because the thought of setting out mouse traps freaked me out even more than the thought of seeing a live mouse. That just seemed too, too cruel. And if we would have used the Have A Heart kind that just traps them in a little cage so you can dump them elsewhere, my mice phobia is so extreme and irrational, I think it would have scared me just as much to see the poor little thing sitting behind bars as to see it running free.
the things which thine eyes have seen, and
lest they depart from thy heart..."
Now there's a verse I never thought would apply to me, and yet another reminder to never say never.
The battle of the bulge is something I have struggled with for most of my adult life, and I have tried many weight loss programs, including a Bible study I posted about a while back, which is not so much a weight loss program, as it is a study that delves into what God has to say about the topic. So I have had many opportunities to see what works and what doesn't.
Well, for quite a while I was able to maintain an ideal weight for me--until I started taking it for granted and slowly let the things I knew "depart from my heart." It started with, "Oh, an extra bite or two won't make a difference," to "It's okay to eat as much as I want on special occasions," and I think you can get the picture of what happened after that.
In a few short months I gained back everything I had lost, plus some, and was pretty much eating whatever and whenever, upset that I could no longer fit into most of my clothes, but not really doing anything about it except make excuses. "I'm always hungry." "When I'm eating something I enjoy, I can't tell when I'm full." "If I exercise I'll lose the weight."
This weekend we went to visit my new grandbaby in NJ on the occasion of his Christening. It was also the first time I got to see him in person. We had a wonderful time, and many pictures were taken, and it was when I looked at those pictures that I went into shock. I knew I had gained weight, but never realized what I really looked like. What a jarring eye opener.
The next morning I decided to start Weight Watchers again (I am a lifetime member). I picked that so I would be able to compare what an appropriate amount of food for someone my size is to what I've actually been packing away. Needless to say, it confirmed that by "forgetting the things my eyes had seen and letting them depart from my heart," I have allowed myself to become a full blown glutton.
So once again, I have humbled myself and gone back to my Lord to ask for His forgiveness and grace as I renew the commitment I once had. And God has such a sense of humor. This morning he spoke to and encouraged me through a cartoon I saw on my friend Rachel's blog. It was just what I needed to see.
me together in my mother's womb. ... I
am fearfully and wonderfully made."
Just prior to the elections, I posted a link to an article on my blog, and I also posted it on the agent bulletin board of my virtual job. It led to an interesting debate on abortion.
I had called my bulletin board post FOOD FOR THOUGHT, and many thoughts were posted that ranged all the way from:
"As to abortion...you have the right to NOT get pregnant...but the baby has no rights at all. I wish some of you could actually watch a full term baby being killed. This is a living human being. It feels pain, has a heart beat and a soul. Just cause it hasn't breathed it's first breath outside the womb does not make it nothing,"
to the thoughts expressed by a pastor's wife who asked her husband,
"If our beautiful daughter was raped by a serial killer, would you advise her to carry the baby or get an abortion? if she got an abortion would God forgive her or doom her to hell?. . . everything changes when the light shines on you personally. . . just a little food for thought."
Well, I do acknowledge that rape or incest is a horrendous thing, and that yes, God does forgive us for any and all sins we truly repent of and ask for forgiveness for, and that by His grace "the light has not shined on me personally," but I still have a question. What does all that have to do with the unborn child?
It's not the baby's fault. He or she is an innocent who had no say in the matter. So how does the terrible circumstance of the conception make the murder right? I've never been able to figure that one out.