Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Prayers for Babylon

And work for the peace and prosperity of Babylon. Pray to the Lord for that city where you are held captive, for if Babylon has peace, so will you. -- Jeremiah 29:7

As I was reading a few days ago, this verse hit me with thoughts of my mother racing through my head. She and I have not had what you might call the best relationship, and I have spent much of the past 23 years being angry with her. How could she treat me the way she did? How could she stand by and watch now, as I have struggled with my health for 5 years? How could she deny everything I've been through?

Her course manner and complete lack of compassion have always haunted me. She is the kind of person to which everything is overcome-able if you just try hard enough and want it badly enough. And if there is something wrong with you, it is obviously your shortcoming and not her problem, so why should she care? She has always liked to bully and guilt me into doing things, and she never lacks a suggestion why I should be something different than I am currently engaged in and exactly what it is I should be doing.

I have always felt like she's had me in a corner my whole life, trapped into doing whatever her desire might be. I've been living in captivity. And it has produced ill fruits - hatred.

But lately, things have been different. My mom hasn't changed; I just feel like perhaps I am coming to understand her better, to know where she's coming from. Is she right all the time? No. Absolutely not. Is she wrong all of the time? No. Not that either. But I can look at her now and see deeper than the surface I've always seen. I see turmoil. She is unhappy. She is unsettled. It is a place I know well from my own experience, and I can feel that resonating within me when I think of her now.

And so, I find myself praying for her peace. I wish for her the desires of her heart, those that would build her up and not tear her down. And I wish for her strength and endurance to fight the battles with darkness that she is currently engaged in. I see in her fear, the panic that is telling her to run away (which she talks about often), and I pray for calm, for her to find settlement and peace.

In praying for the captor, I have found freedom for the captive. Does this mean I've forgotten everything she's done (and that's quite a bit) and everything she is still doing? Nope. I recognize the capabilities that live within her (though I pray them gone, I doubt I will ever accept her restoration for my bitterness). But it does mean I have found what it is to live and walk in forgiveness.

Strangely enough, I even find that I am coming to have a soft spot in my heart for her. Indeed, I am beginning to love her. I even told her last night that I love her more and more each day.

So pray for Babylon. There, in your captivity, you may just find peace.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Wilderness

I am finding that I am rather lonely, not to mention bored, and this is leading to some serious depression. Sure, there are other people around, but nobody that I'm really connecting with right now. It's a frustrating way to live.

I've not been to church in about 6 weeks. Something about being around all those other people just increases my loneliness. And it's not that I'm not loved there...I have great friendships with all kinds of people in my church. The problem, I guess, is that there's nobody else there in my stage of life. I am young, fresh out of college, unemployed, and single. The people nearest to me in age there are older and married, most with children. I just don't really connect with anyone. I'm trying to stay connected with the women's ministry, but even there, I still feel kind of like an outsider.

Despite my best efforts, I still cannot find a job. I'm really not picky - I have put in applications for everything from tech support to front office to executive director to cleaning. My medical condition prevents me from working in food services, and retail is unwilling to make accommodations for the health situation, so I'm stuck there. Since March, I have only had one interview. I just keep telling myself that God is going to put me where He wants me when He wants me there and that I need to just be patient, but with money running tight and the economy failing, that's wearing thin on my spirit. Not to mention that not having others to interact with on a daily basis is just adding to my loneliness. The only people I talk to in person now are my mom, the doctor, and my brother's family.

On top of that, I am having a minor health setback. Best guess right now is that I've developed some sort of ulcer; my upper stomach is quite unhappy.

Life is just one big, deep wilderness experience for me right now. I'd be lying if I said I understand. I'd be lying if I said it made sense to me. I thought my health crisis was my wilderness, but the healing process is turning out to be a million times worse, a million times lonelier and more depressing and just...worse. It's hard when I have the ability and the will, and I am trying my hardest to succeed and do well, and yet there is still something holding me back, something obviously more powerful than me.

I must add, though, that I am only mildly distressed. I am concerned, as most people are, about money. I worry about what's going to happen in January when I have to find new health insurance and pay out-of-pocket (if I still don't have a job). I worry about what's going to happen next year when my reserves of money run out and I still don't have a job. But at the same time, I really do believe there is a bigger plan, a plan bigger than my understanding.

I will also say this, and then I will stop. My faith is getting absolutely stronger every day. I am reading the Bible cover-to-cover and am currently nearing the end of Jeremiah, and I am just falling in love with my God over and over again. It is a deeper love than I ever thought possible, and there are just poignant little messages spread throughout that text that drive straight to my heart. Most recently, forgiveness and prayer has entered into that equation. I may write about that later, but not here.

So I don't know. I'm just feeling lonely and overwhelmed and confused and lonely. Hoping this all pans out and that life turns around for me and the healing gets easier and more complete every day, instead of this waffling back and forth that I'm going through right now.

And now that I'm in tears thinking of all this, I guess I will stop and consider going to bed for the night. Thanks for reading.