Friday, October 13, 2023

Graves into Gardens


4AM.  I love the quietness of an early morning.  

My body is set to an early bedtime and an early rise time.  (Disney is gonna be so tough next week!) But I love hearing the crickets still chirping outside and the stillness of a dark, pre-dawn home.

Dogs and cats are fed.  Coffee is made and poured into my Boo to You mug.  And last weekend's over-the-top and one-of-a-kind concert experience with Steven Furtick and Elevation Worship is still ringing through my mind, body, and soul.

I've been to a lot of concerts.  I've been to a lot of church "things," but I will be the first to tell you - I have NEVER experienced ANYTHING like what we experienced last Saturday night.  My soul clamors for more.

As usual, last night - I went to bed in prayer, and I woke up this morning in prayer.

I am so blessed to work in an educational environment.  A smaller, more intimate school.  A smaller environment, in the front office, gives me the opportunity to listen to more people and to interact with those same people as well.  Sometimes, being the "safe space" is tough, but mostly, it is welcomed.

One of the lovely people I have gotten to know over the past few years is our school social worker.  If you don't know a school social worker, you should.  The bravery of these men and women is astonishing.  What they see and hear on a daily basis can be shocking, but through their education and training (combined with their compassion), they are a tremendous asset to most students and families.

Over the past year, our school social worker has come in my office multiple times.  Normally, it is to make coffee or to heat up her lunch (my office doubles as a small kitchen/work area for staff).  During the past year, our amazing social worker met a wonderful, Christian man.  He was smart, an entrepreneur, and kind and compassionate.  They fell in love, and the relationship grew quickly.

But as the year progressed, something began to happen.  My friend noticed that her new partner could not make small commitments.  His dedication was centered around not only his business, which my friend was counseling and helping him grow, but also to his family.  Both admirable dedications...when placed in the right proportion and aspect.

But both commitments seemed to be growing at a level that was uneven in ratio to their personal relationship.

As the relationship grew in time and depth, they talked of a future together and each one seemed to believe they had found their life partner.

Still, the unevenness remained and continued to grow.  My friend began to question whether her partner would be able to make their relationship and her his top priority or if he would be stuck and stagnant in an unhealthy level of commitment to his job and family.

I saw the cycle I was overtly familiar with rising to the surface.  I knew the keywords.  I knew the actions.  I could predict the moves.

Each day, I sat quietly and sipped my coffee when my friend came in.  I listed to her, as she made her coffee or warmed up her lunch, "Oh Debbie.  What am I going to do?"  Her frustration was growing larger and more frequent.

I felt her frustration.  I had shared only a very small part of my relationship experience within this cycle with my friend, except for what was necessary to help her, not me.

It was hard listening to her describe how a kind and compassionate Christian man with a servant's heart could not sever (or recognize) the cord of attachment he held onto while elevating his family (parents and younger siblings) above her.

How could a grown man with a good job, a wonderful family, and a deep faith be crippled when it came to moving logically to the next step of real commitment?

I know this situation all too well because while my friend has only been in her relationship a year, I have been in mine for five years, dealing with the same attachment cord.

It seems to be a very real problem with some men today.  They logically cannot separate from their Mom and Dad (and in my friend's situation, younger siblings still at home) to move on to a stable life of independence.  It is heartbreaking for my friend, and it is heartbreaking to me.

Yesterday, my friend came in to work, set her things down on my little conference table, and said, "Debbie, how are you today?  Anything better on your side than mine?" I said, "No.  You don't know this because I haven't shared, but today is two weeks to the day since I said I need time to think and pray."

She was shocked.  She asked why I didn't tell her.  I replied, "Because you needed me to listen, and so, that's what I did."

I want to say that at this point of my story, my office-mate came in the room with us and dispensed some light-bulb wisdom.

"Debbie, let me say this to you.  YOU ARE ENOUGH.  It's not YOU that is not enough.  Stop thinking and believing you are less than.  A relationship takes both people to be 100% in, and I've watched you the last year.  You are 100% in.  [Insert name here] is not 100% in.  He has one foot over here with his family, and you have both feet over here all in.  You deserve so much better and more.  Stop being all in when your partner cannot be all in with you.  You deserve someone who will fight for you."

My friend and I stood there, both a little speechless.  My office-mate, who I have been a little "less than" with at times - she is new to our school, and if I am honest, I am not good with change - does not normally dispense wisdom often.  She is a wonderful person.  She is funny and extremely hospitable to everyone.  She is fabulous at her job.  (Gifts I don't always possess.)  But dispensing wisdom is not one of her daily characteristics.

All that to say - I looked at her and said, "Thank you.  What a light bulb moment.  I needed to hear that.  I don't feel like I am enough right now.  No one has ever fought for their relationship with me.  I appreciate you saying that."

I am certain our School Social Worker was thinking the same thing because just moments earlier she had shared with me that she needed her partner to fight for her and their relationship.  

People, listen to me.

God is ALWAYS in our midst.  Whether we are aware of it or not.  He always knows our heart and what we need and what is important to us.

Every day, I pray that God will heal my heart.  That He will close it for right now so that I might "survive."  That I will be able to exhale and rest instead of carry, worry, and wonder when I will be enough for my partner.

God says WE ARE ENOUGH.  Plenty of Scripture around to validate and back that fact up.  But we are human, and we allow those closest to us to control and hurt us at times.  

I know I am not enough for the person I believed was my life partner.  Maybe someday, when my person's elder family members have moved along to God's glory, I will be or might have been.

But right now, he can only serve his parents and make a commitment to them.  He is not at a place where he is mature enough, brave enough, or strong enough to place his dedication anywhere else.

So every day, I am thankful for a God that places strong, beautiful, intelligent women in my life to dispense beauty and to show me I am not alone.  Other people are hurting in this world, and most much more than me.

If you are hurting today inside a relationship, I'd like to share a video my friend shared with me yesterday.  (It was shared with her from one of her friends.)  It is really good and applies to all types of relationships where people may be hurting.

Maybe you are reading this and need to hear the words as well.  Not everything in the video will be applicable to everyone or your situation, but most of the basic, underlying truths will be good for you to hear.

I'll end with a prayer and then post the link to the video.  Always remember, God is where our dedication lies.  He will always be your biggest champion and defender.  Where man fails, God will not.

"Heavenly Father, I come before you this morning praying for the day before me.  I pray that you keep myself and my loved ones safe while they travel back and forth today.  I pray that you dispense your Heavenly Angels where they need to be most today - guiding and protecting those of us that need it most.

Thank you for the blessings of shelter, food, clean water, and a job.  May I always be aware of the gifts you have given.  Thank you for providing godly wisdom and friendships surrounding me when I feel those closest to me are not there, are not reaching out to listen, or are not choosing to be a part of my life.

I know people will always disappoint us, but it is our reaction to the hurt that matters most to you.  Thank you for reminding me every day, until I can finally accept it, that I do matter and that I am enough.  I will try to remember that and bury it deep in my heart.

We cannot control other people's opinions, thoughts, or decisions.  I pray for my partner that one day you will grant him the maturity, the strength, and the wisdom to move forward from his Parents home and his tie to them to make a life of his own.

I pray for my brother.  I pray that you will allow me to forgive him for the hurt I am carrying towards him.  Please allow me to forgive him for not being there for me when I watch him scurry to and fro, being there for everyone else.  I pray for his continued growth in his faith, his safety in all his work travels, and for continued blessings on him and his family.  I love my brother, and I am so thankful for him being home again.

Lord I pray for my two sons, Tony and Josh.  I pray for wisdom, Godly influences in their lives, and safety.  I pray they achieve their goals and that you keep them safe through the day.  I pray you bring their hearts back to YOU and to family.  I love them, and I miss interacting daily with them sometimes.  I give them over to you, and I pray that you gently guide them each day.

Thank you Jesus for today.  Thank you for the blessing of waking up.  May I be so aware of everywhere you put me today and every single path you put me on.  I want less of me and more of you.  Every minute of every day - even when I feel I am incapable of that huge task.  Take this empty heap of nothingness and breathe new life into me.  Grant me healing so that I may again give to the world in a small way what it needs.

Thank you Jesus.  Amen."

Video on relationships from Jimmy on Relationships

No comments:

Post a Comment