But for today... I want to be real again. To put my heart out there again and expose my life again. And know that even writing this... I contemplated several times just saving it to drafts and leaving it there. This is my heart.
For starters... let's just get this clear.. I have issues. But... come on, who are we kidding... don't we all have our issues?? (Or.. maybe I'm the only one, and that's ok.. but I highly doubt it.) One of those issues is a low self-image. And here lately I've really been dealing with intense loneliness feelings. I know.. in a house of so many people, how could you possibly feel lonely. But the feelings were there and they were very real.
I felt that I was just here, that the people that I had become intensely bonded to, did not feel in any way that same bonding back to me. I turned all of these negative feelings back on myself and blamed myself.
Someone else should be here doing this, they would all like someone different.
I too often just get in the way.
They will only ever see me as a foreigner, an outsider that they are waiting for to leave.
They are like family to me, but they will never see me that way.
But... I don't know anything else. I was called here, but what can I do? I can't keep putting these people that I love in misery. God, are you changing my direction?? I don't really feel it, but ... What are you doing?
About a week and a 1/2 ago, a man from the church I've went to many times shared something with me, "God is going to give you revelation, something is coming that will show you how much He loves you. You really are loved, and something is coming that will help to open your eyes to how much God loves you."
I went with that thinking, "OK.. God what are you going to do?" But the next day, I got some rather discouraging news...I was really broken-hearted and the only thought that came to my mind "Lord.. this is the opposite of what was supposed to be coming my way. Lord, I'm honestly coming and telling you Lord, I don't feel Your love in this at all. I will still praise you, but this is so very painful Lord, but I will praise You because You are God and Your ways are higher than mine."
I had made the decision long ago, that whatever came my way, I would always worship, WHATEVER came my way, even if it was the most painful thing, it was always right to worship. So, with a broken heart and tears, I worshipped. Fighting the urge to scream NO!, fighting the urge to be angry, fighting the urge to ... just give up.
I found so much comfort in Psalm 143, and that became my prayer.
1 Hear my prayer, O LORD;
give ear to my pleas for mercy!
In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
2 Enter not into judgement with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.
3 For the enemy has pursued my soul;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.
5 I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all that you have done;
I ponder the work of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirst for you like a parched land.
7 Answer me quickly, O LORD!
My spirit fails!
Hide not your face fom me,
lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD!
I have fled to you for refuge!
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
11 For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life!
In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies,
and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul,
for I am your servant.
Then, September 18, 2011 happened. For a week, this was my prayer, as I also had to prepare for this date. Here in the Ph*lippines, when one has a birthday, instead of getting things and be treated, that person gives to everyone and treats others. So, for my first filipino birthday, I wanted to do things culturally proper. I planned the party, the menu, asked for help, and invited all of GH and some friends for a birthday party this past sunday.
There was so much to prepare and get ready, I knew I needed help and lots. I was nervous asking people for help, but everyone was so gracious. The day before, people were already preparing. The day of, I was on my way to run and get some last minute things... and the kitchen was full. All of the boys, girls, ... everyone, downstairs cutting vegetables, cooking, some upstairs decorating, others sweeping and getting things so clean for the visitors that were coming.
I literally could not believe it... like literally. I am a very untrusting person (another one of my issues). I COULD NOT BELIEVE that they were all doing this.. in my horrendously untrustful mind, went the thoughts, 'I'm sure when the party starts, they'll all disappear.' So, I was so happy and touched, but also so very fearful at seeing this. "There's no way, they'll do ALL of this AND come to the party" I was so fearful of them becoming resentful at having to help do all of this.. I was so scared and skeptical of the smiles and laughter, I was sure it was a mask covering up the growing resentment inside.
Once back, getting closer to the time we were supposed to start, I hesitantly asked one of the guys, "Are you coming to the party?", thinking I needed to prepare myself, I needed to know that they were going to be 'too tired' and 'too busy' to come up. "Yes, I'll be there." was the response in an 'of-course' tone. "Oh... and...??" I named off other names... "Yes, they're coming too."
"Oh, ok" was the words that came out of my mouth, but the smile that spread across my face as I went back upstairs revealed the fact that it meant much more than 'ok'.
The party started... and I was NOTHING SHORT OF AMAZED!
I am still left breathless and speechless at the thought of the outpouring of love that I felt. There were songs and dances. The kids worked so hard on songs and dances...their beautiful smiles only made my own smile bigger.
My precious Z made a dance to my favorite song, and totally ROCKED it I must say! Even the older boys, (who I was certain most of whom wouldn't be there and most certainly didn't care enough to actually plan anything (yes.. I'm so sighing and kicking myself for my untrustingness and lack of faith in now) ) They all went up front smiling and sang one of my favorite songs.. complete with motions and multiple singers! They had me laughing the whole time, no doubt laughter spilling over from my heart, I was touched to the core.
I have often said 'You either laugh or you cry'.. I have always thought this to be in regards to the sad things in life... but now I know differently... this was the first time I HAD TO RESORT TO LAUGHTER TO KEEP FROM CRYING TEARS OF JOY!
After the songs and dances, several people spoke and wished me happy birthday and just truly spoke to my heart. I have NEVER been so touched in my life.
The last speech impacted me so much, that as everything quieted as they prayed over me, after singing Happy Birthday, laughter was no longer there to hold back the tears of joy that overwhelmed me. Thanks to precious visitor to GH, we have a video, as they are praying, you can see the tears rise to my eyes as I wipe them away quickly ( I had no idea there was a video going.. .but am thankful that it was there to capture the raw and bare moment).
Not in my wildest dreams could I have ever imagined a more beautiful day (asides from having my KY family there also :) ).
It was so much, that I was on emotional overload and couldn't actually process it all, but I think Ate C really helped me to open my eyes with her text, 'Now maybe you can see how much we really do appreciate and love you'. When I read that text... I just stopped. And it clicked and tears rushed to my eyes again.
The words of the man from church came flooding my mind... I felt alone and the LORD saw that and HE LOVED me enough to open my eyes. The scripture Psalm 68:6a also came to mind, "He sets the lonely in families".
This is a scripture I've known for a long time, praying it over my kids here, but I never thought to ask God for that same sort of thing. I figured, I had a family and I left them when I came to the Philippines. If family was what I was mainly focused on, then I should go back to the US and forget the calling the LORD had placed on my heart. Why should I pray for what I already had on the other side of the world, but God knew.. God knew I was longing for some type of family structure here and He had given it to me, but my eyes were not open to it.. until this past sunday. I've caught myself this week, just smiling. Running errands, walking through the mall, and realizing.. I have a dumb huge grin on my face... because they love me!!!!! Running to the grocery store walking by the spices aisle smiling silly... because they love me!!!
And I keep telling myself it over and over.. because as I said..I have issues. And Satan is trying to use those issues to tell me it's not real... but now. Now I see...they love me! And so I keep trying to wrap my brain around it... and I keep walking around silly and smiling because I am still trying to grasp all that it is... they love me!
And to think... He loves me so much more!! He brought all of this about.. just to whisper both in the midst of the laughter and beautiful chaos and in the midst of the quiet prayers and tears... I love you even more my daughter.
... and I am overwhelmed.
~ To God Be the Glory!