FACING REALITY

 

Life is a series of situations in which you don’t get what you want.  At some point you begin to realize that you’ll never have what you hoped for.  That’s reality!  And it must be faced if there is any possibility of moving on.

Like most little girls, I dreamed of marrying and having gurgling babies.  Actually, I never had a serious boyfriend growing up.  Oh, I was in love with Keith and David and Irwin.  They were, of course, unaware.  In college, I was engaged to a handsome boy, who would have decimated my life had I married him, but I still clung to the hope of being married one day.  In fact, I even set time limits.  Surely I would find someone before I reached my thirtieth birthday.  But I didn’t!

As a young adult, I used to sing to the Lord, “I’ll go where you want me to go.  I’ll say what you want me to say.  I’ll be what you want me to be,” but there was always a contingency. “I’ll do anything you ask, Lord, but I can’t do it alone.”

I wanted a husband.  He didn’t have to be rich or even handsome.  I just needed someone to love and someone who would love me back, someone with whom I could share life.  

The day finally came when I had to face reality.  I was alone!  Perhaps it was God’s will. I didn’t like it, but it was true.  Not admitting it wouldn’t make it go away, and admitting it wouldn’t make it any worse.  I had a choice.  I could sit back and mope, feel sorry for myself, and accuse God of being unfair.  I could live in despair the rest of my life or I could experience life for what it is and stop wishing for a different existence.  Nothing good comes from resisting reality.

Yes, I was alone, and I had a choice to make, and I made it.  I refused to be stuck in a miasma of self-pity and bitterness.  I decided to move on—to follow God’s plan for my life.  I learned how to be alone, and I did a good job at it.  For more than forty years, at God’s call, I traveled the world ministering in many places to people of many nationalities.  Life was good. 

In these intervening years, I have faced reality numerous times always choosing to move on.

  Eleven years ago I retired at the age of seventy-four.  I found a church, new friends, and became involved in a teaching ministry.  Life was still good.

However, this past year with this pandemic, my aloneness has been magnified in a way that I have not felt since the days of my longing for a husband.  Being alone is one thing, when you can go and come as you please.  Being alone, without choice, is something else entirely. 

I decided that I must have something in this house that moves and breathes and makes noise.  Some of you know that, without thinking things through, I chose to buy a puppy.  I could just imagine the fun we would have—no more being alone.

Now I am facing another reality—a life altering reality.  I have always contended that age is only a number, that the mind and the heart (the inner you) determines age.  I still believe that, and for most of my life, my physical being has kept up with my mental age.  That is no longer true.  Having just past my 85th birthday, I am beginning to admit that I don’t move as fast as I used to, that there are a few more aches and pains, that I am not always steady on my feet, and I am fearful of falling.

My puppy, Tobi, is currently in boarding school.  My nephew and his wife volunteered to potty train him, teach him to walk on a leash, and stop destroying everything, including me, with his sharp little teeth.  So now he lives, temporarily, at their house.  Obedience classes come next.

My nephew has determined that Tobi is an Australian Shepherd/Poodle mix.  He will not be a 15 pound adult as I expected, but more likely, he will weigh 35-40 pounds. They are afraid that, regardless of what we do, I will not be able to take care of him.

I am afraid that regardless of what we do, I will not be able to take care of him!  Coming home from visiting, I couldn’t really explain how I felt, but I didn’t feel right.  I finally recognized a lingering feeling of fatigue and disappointment, and perhaps the edge of depression.    

For the first time in my life I felt old.  It is hard for me to record that on paper, but remember, we are talking about facing reality.  

One reality is that, perhaps I waited too long for the puppy I always wanted.  I am still struggling with that, but I am determined to be optimistic believing that Tobi will finally be the sweet, docile companion that I long for.  I’m never going to feel differently about wanting a puppy.  It is the possible disappointment that I may have to learn to live with.

Physically, I am growing older.  That is the greater reality that I must own.  That is the truth that I must now deal with.   If I avoid the truth, I will miss the chance to grow and life will become harder.  So I’m looking at the truth with eyes wide open determined to do whatever is necessary to live with this truth.  It is amazing the effect this puppy has already had on my life.

Perhaps there is a reality in your life that is too hard to face.  It is easier to ignore it than to suffer the pain.  You feel that life isn’t fair and you don’t deserve this.  That may be true, but you will never move forward until you face reality.  Own the truth.  Ask God to help you see everything as it really is.  Then ask Him to show you the next step.  Your situation is not too hard for God. 

God promised Sarah that she would have a baby when she was ninety years old.  Hebrews 11:11 tells us that Sarah believed God, “…because she judged Him faithful who had promised.”

1 Corinthians 16:13 admonishes us to “Watch, stand firm in the faith, be brave, be strong.”

That is my counsel today.  Stand firm.  Trust in God.  He is faithful. There is nothing too hard for Him.  After all these years God has proven to me that He can do a better job of handling my life than I can.

 

Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!

 

 

 

After all these years, I know that God does a better job at handling my life than I can.

 

THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN

I ordinarily start my blog with a story or something that I have experienced.  That experience usually gives me a jumping off place for the nugget of truth that has been bouncing around in my noggin.

However, after listening a bit to news commentators talking about a second presidential impeachment, I find myself sitting here agonizing over the question, “How did our great nation, how did proud America come to such ruin?”  Now, you may think me over dramatic.  You make think me an alarmist, but I am looking at our country with eyes wide open, and what I see is heartbreaking.

How did we arrive at this seemingly insoluble conundrum?  It didn’t happen overnight.  Where did we go astray?

One morning recently, during my devotions, I read the 16th chapter of the book of Ezekiel.  The prophet records for us, in a nutshell, the history of Israel from its inception to its Babylonian captivity and its exile in other nations.  

In Egypt, Israel was likened to an exposed, uncared for infant, whom no one pitied.  She was doomed for destruction, but God looked upon her with kindness and tender affection.  He rescued her from death, saying “Live!”  Through the centuries, He multiplied this straggling band of 70 until they grew into a great kingdom.  

He made a covenant with Israel, and became her God and she His people.  He beautified and adorned her clothing her with fine linen and silk.  He placed a shining crown upon her head, and fed her with abundance.  He raised her from poor beginnings to a place of great reputation and renown, but when Israel had grown to maturity, she forgot that all she had and all she had become was a gift from God.

She grew proud and forgot her humble beginnings.  She looked on her glory as her own.  She recognized and adopted the worship of every heathen nation that offered alliance.  She no longer needed God.

Because of her sin and disobedience, God allowed her to be taken into captivity where she remained for 70 years, while her homeland lay desolate.  Never has she regained her greatness living a troubled existence for centuries.  But, God has not forgotten His covenant with Israel.

Ezekiel 16:60-62, God’s promise to Israel, “Nevertheless I will remember…and I will establish my covenant with you.  Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

I cannot help but draw a very close parallel between the early history of the Nation of Israel and that of our own beloved United States of America.  Think of our humble beginnings. Trying to survive in an uncharted wilderness, we depended upon God, who saw us through those impossible years.  I am convinced of!  It was God who caused us to multiply and prosper and grow into a great nation—a nation of great repute and renown—a nation admired—a world leader.

Why, because we included God in our lives.  He was essential to our daily living.  O, I know that many people did not follow God nor even believe in Him, but for most of the history of this country we lived and judged by Godly standards. Values, society and institutions were largely shaped by Christian and Biblical principles.  Without God there could be no American form of Government, nor an American way of life.

Our founding fathers separated church from state, but they did not separate God from state.  We are the ones who have pushed God to the sideline.  As we grew and prospered, we became proud crediting ourselves for our own success.   Growing proud, we forgot our humble beginnings.  We forgot that all we have and all we have become is a gift from God.

Leaders in our country today would like to erase or rewrite our history, but when we leave God out trouble multiplies and pandemonium reigns.  As He dealt with Israel, when she rejected Him, I believe God is now dealing with us allowing the unheard of, dangerous, destructive uproar in our nation, because of our arrogant disobedience and rejection of Him.

As a language student in Brussels, Belgium many years ago, I mingled with young people from all over the world.  Almost, without exception, those students longed for the day they could immigrate to the USA.  They would have gladly given up their own citizenship to become an American citizen.  I wonder now what people from other nations are thinking of the chaos in which we find ourselves.

I do not know the end result of all of this.  I do not know what will become of America, but I do know God is faithful to those who love, obey, and serve Him faithfully.  As with Israel, He has made a covenant with us.  

In Revelation 2:10 He assures us, “Do not fear any of those things you are about to suffer…Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Hang in there, my friends.  THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN and He is still in control.

Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!

 

HOW DO YOU “UNBUY” A PUPPY

When I retired more than ten years ago, I wanted three things—a piano, a hot tub, and a puppy.  Shortly after I moved back to Arizona, I bought a piano, and for some reason the hot tub no longer appealed to me, but I never lost my desire for a puppy.  I have always loved dogs, but because I was forever on the go, I settled for loving someone else’s, my brother’s “Snug,” and my sister’s “Petey.”

For ten years now I have, from time to time, seriously considered finding a dog, but just never got around to it.  However, this pandemic, self quarantining, and serious physical problems drastically increased my feelings of aloneness.  I thought how good it would be to have something else in this house that moves and breathes and makes noise—someone to miss me when I am gone and be glad when I come home—someone to love, hold, and cuddle.

So, ten days ago, without a lot of consideration, particularly consideration of my physical limitations, I bought a little eight weeks old black poodle—black with grey and white markings.  He is absolutely gorgeous!  My brother, who is here for the holidays, did nothing to discourage my thoughtless decision.  After buying all the necessary paraphernalia at Pet Smart, we brought our beautiful little black boy home, and reality set in.  TOBI was NOT trained for the Potty Pad, and my Belgian rugs were in peril. His little teeth and claws are sharper than a darner’s needle and I have seven visible wounds to prove it.  Obviously, his owner had not been up front with her information.

My brother, who has fallen in love with this tiny mite, could spend every waking hour cuddling, playing and taking him out for a pee-pee, and I?  I have discovered that I do not move fast enough to scoop him up before he pees or poops on the floor.  When I do take TOBI out I am afraid of falling, and so on.  I have decided that I was out of my mind when I bought this sweet little creature.  My brother and all his help will be gone in a few days.  Then what will I do?  I can’t “UNBUY” him.  He is mine for better or for worse.  Some days I think I can manage him, and some days I am sure that I cannot.

Some decisions are reversible, but let’s face it!  We all, at some time or another, make decisions that we cannot unmake.  There are certain decisions some of us would rewind or delete if we could, but I can’t just throw Tobi out with the garbage.  I can’t ignore him.  He is a little being that needs feeding, loving, and nurture.  So, I have decided I will own my decision, because avoiding bad decisions is not the objective; owning them is.

I will admit that this decision was an emotional one, which came mostly from my heart.  When I saw this tiny black pup, all objectivity escaped me.  I just wanted to scoop him up and take him home, and that’s what I did.

I did not question myself before I decided to decide.  I did not consider the consequences nor think about the worst and best things that could happen.  Never once did I think about the changes this decision would create.

In the moment, it seemed I had made the right call, but now that the impact has set in, I realize that my judgment was cloudy.  Now, I am facing the cold, hard facts. I am not physically able to keep up with energetic little Tobi.  It is difficult to clean up the pee-pee and poop, and taking him out in the middle of the night is doubly difficult.

So!  What to do?  I cried all day yesterday, at the thought of giving him up.  How can I put him in the arms of a stranger?  

After much thought and a sleepless night, I have arrived at a temporary plan.  I will work diligently with his potty training, and teach him to tolerate the leash.  I will enroll him in an obedience training class, and I will be extra, extra careful, when I take him outside.  I should know before long whether or not this plan is working.  If not, I will entrust him to someone who will love him as much as I do.

I will make the best of the situation I have created.  The results are yet to be seen.  The Jury is still out.

Right now, you may be living through the last really bad decision you made.  Don’t beat yourself up over it.  While you can’t go back in time and change your choice, you can face the hard, cold facts, and make the best of the situation you have created.  And, you can make this situation a stepping stone to wiser future decisions.

Luke 14:28 (The Message) says, “Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it?  If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish.  Everyone passing by will poke fun at you. ‘He started something he couldn’t finish.’”

Good Counsel:  Do some serious thinking before making your decision.  What will be the outcome of your choice?

REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!