This is going to be a post of random thoughts....so here we go:
This morning I got on FB and there was a post from a young girl who was raised with my kids, childhood neighbors, who has fought this life of mental illness and addiction for years now, that was total craziness. My heart sank. She is out there on the streets out of her mind. Pray for her. I commented that Jesus loves her, she is so loved and I am praying for her. A Facebook comment feels so stupid, so futile, in the face of such insanity and brokenness.
I read the book Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance and haven't stopped thinking about it. A friend and I were discussing it and he said, "It's a story of redemption." Yes! I loved that. J.D. tells his story of being raised for the most part by his "meemaw" who was rough, unconventional, swore like a sailor, but she loved him and believed in him. She got him through his childhood...to later become a Yale law school graduate. Reading this book took me back to all of the rental homes I lived in as a little girl, those thick white rental draperies of the 70's, the green carpet, the mismatched sheets on our beds (I am thankful that we had sheets....it could always have been worse!!) the white walls, the packing and moving every 2 years, this transient life that made connections hard...not because I couldn't connect, but because I would and then before I knew it, it would be over... to the drunken fighting, the police at the door, to the brokenness, and eventually to our own stories of redemption. Yeah, those memories...
I am doing a bible study called "Broken and Redeemed" with some friends. Oh it is cool water for my parched throat. This study talks about our powerlessness, humility, relying on God's grace, about God having the answers and what a comfort that is. I know when I relied on my own strength I got tired and could only go so far. When I relied on my own best ideas they rarely worked out the way I wanted them too.....my big ideas usually consisted of ME trying to change other people. When I began to learn (and trust) how to let go and how to put people and my desires into God's hands I began to experience peace. Without fail, when I start grabbing back and formulating my own agenda for those around me, I begin to almost immediately experience turmoil. I will give you this....it is NOT EASY to live in this place of relinquishing control to a force that I can't see, but I know He is with me. I feel Him more times than not, but still.... I am impatient, I am tired, I am just an ordinary person. So for today, for this morning, I will choose to rely on God's strength and not my own. If that feels like a good fit, then I will do it again this afternoon.
I listened to the Invisibilia podcast, The Problem with the Solution this week. The story of the town of Geel in Belgium that takes in their mentally ill residents as "borders" and accepts their odd behaviors as just part of who they are. There are limits of course, but so much that we diagnose and clinicalize is just part of life there. What a picture of kindness, acceptance, unconditional love, and healthy boundaries. Really a worthwhile listen. The thoughts on family involvement were insightful and made me think about my own situation. I would agree. There was one part that talked about...the family has watched everything unfold from the beginning, they often get stuck seeing their family member as "just a bundle of problems." That jolted me. I am so busy managing the crisis, and treating the problems, that it is hard to see beyond the immediate needs. The potential that is there just waiting to be uncovered and unfurled. That made me sad. Have I conveyed that to my girl... through word or deed? Probably. However we have so few positive options (any?) here in America, that I have to wonder what the answer is. So we do the best with what we have.
Amy Bluele passed away. So very sad. She was a spokesperson for those who suffer with depression, mental illness, and self harm. She began Project Semicolon. She shared a message of hope and that individuals matter. I hope she hadn't lost sight of her own message. The semicolon signifying that our stories aren't over yet. Molly got my semicolon tattoo for me for my birthday last year.
Baby boy is growing inside momma just fine. We love him so much already....you would think he is the second coming of Christ. LOL I am making blankets, and I polished the old baby cradle that I used when my kids were babies and bought new sheets, and a new mattress pad. They will probably use a "co-sleeper," whatever that is LOL, but I suggested the cradle could go in the living room to lay him in when they need their hands free.
So life is barreling along. I pray we can all find our spot, that we can dwell in God's grace, letting His power infuse us to do this life that is set before us. Bless us all.....