These words stung. These words struck a cord deep within me.
I have God! I know God loves me! I know who God is!
I felt judged, condemned and not understood.
I have remained distant from this person. But no matter how distant I have been, the words still hurt. They hurt because I was not understood and even overlooked. I, I, I ...
I attended my middle daughter's graduation breakfast at church this morning. And in the midst of the pastor's talk, he put a verse up. I honestly couldn't tell you what he spoke about. Because my mind went with God.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself."
Matthew 22: 37-39
Our lives are full right now. My husband is away. We are getting ready to move back to California. Part of my heart is still here. My complaints of not connecting here, are not necessarily true ... as now I'm finding that I'm more connected than I realized and having a hard time leaving. What my life looks like in California is uncertain. Where we are exactly going to live is unknown. My two daughters are staying here ... where I won't get to hug them, laugh with them and hang out with them as I have done over the years. Our household has always been tight, now distance is starting to loosen those bonds. My customers are struggling, and I'm struggling right along with them. Our dream home is going to be in the past. The home we have lived in the longest will be no more. My middle daughter is graduating and has a whole new adventure before her ... and I'm holding my breath that my parenting skills worked. She's not being tested, but I am. The emotional connection I hold with her is like no other, and I don't know how I'll breathe without her across the hall. Confidence is lacking. My oldest reminds me daily of how I'm not needed in her life. I know it is part of growing up ... especially with girls, but the words still hurt. I feel responsible for not keeping the five of us together, but my mind reminds me that this day was coming ready or not ... I just had seen it so differently. Our house has yet to sell, cleanliness remains a daily task ... and is starting to take its toll on me. Starting to separate our stuff into four different parts seems overwhelming. Yard work is constant lately, as rain has been just as constant. I hear the complaints from three hormonal teenagers ... everything that I don't seem to do right. Encouragement is lacking from my life. Hugs are a thing of the past. Decisions are a moment to moment thing ... and now exhausting. My brain is fried, heart is aching and physically I just ache.
I hear from Duane. His life is full too. Learning new things with his new job. Being away from his family. Not being part of graduation festivities. Isolated from the things that our family continues to go on with. He went from a year of no activity to a full blown life of demands. Decisions remain constant with him as well.
I have always struggled as a wife too. I have always seen my role to lessen my husband's. He has enough to think about at work, life at home shouldn't be more of a burden than what he is already enduring. Because of the role I have taken, he doesn't realize that when I hear his exhaustion, his frustrations, his complaints ... how personal it is to me, and a reminder of how I continually fail. I have done everything I can to take pictures and videos of last concerts, special events and such ... so when every gadget I have is out of battery because I was all day at work, and not thinking of plugging anything in ... I feel I let my husband down. Again, the failure runs deep. I'm not just a failure to myself ... but now to my husband too. (At least that is what I see.)
So. My plate remains full. I have excused my feelings and I have ignored them too. I have become the complaint and even failure to the girls, and now to my husband. I didn't realize I was taking all this so deeply. No one did. But God did.
So when someone told me to turn to God or there would be serious consequences, I didn't hear the truth but more of a reminder of another failure in my life. The words hurt.
And then I saw this familiar scripture. Have I been loving my God the way I should? No. I have allowed the stress and demands lead my heart, mind and soul instead. If I would place my heart, mind and soul on God and His goodness then these failures wouldn't exist. If I focused on God and His goodness there truly wouldn't be else to see. If I spent time loving my God ... I would not be concerned with the details of my life, I wouldn't have to focus on all the planning...but see that one of the reasons I have to love Him, is that He has everything under control.
I wouldn't have heard those words that hurt so much if I was loving others as I should have been. That person would have not felt the shame, failure and question of self worth they are going through if I was loving them as God had called me to do. They would have been built up, encouraged, heard, understood, appreciated - and loved. If I would love them, distance wouldn't be a way of protecting one another, but instead a form of embracing.
Perhaps there could have been more grace in the confrontation. But truth is what it is ... I need God in my life. Now. Everyday. And every moment of the day. I needed that reminder.
So all the responsibilities I have put on me, my husband has put on me, my daughters have put on me, my employer has put on me, my coworkers have put on me ... they can not dictate my mind, heart or soul .. but instead I need to lead and focus on loving my God, and my neighbors ... the rest will fall right into place. And if I spend the time focused on God, He has all the rest.