Good-byes Can Be Bitter Sweet

Yesterday I traveled back to Titusville for the funeral of a close friend, Miss Helen. It’s amazing to me…at Christmas I came to visit my sister Leona in Altoona because she drove to Titusville and pick myself and my friend Shawn up, brought us to Altoona and then drove us back to Titusville again after the holiday. I didn’t have a vehicle to drive then BUT even if I had, there is no way I would have driven to Altoona and back again. I know it doesn’t make sense. I will drive to Maryland (a 17 to 19 hour drive) but won’t drive an hour and a half to Altoona? I am so weird sometimes.

Now, fast-forward approximately four months and I not only drove to Titusville, I drove by myself! What a difference four months and no medications will do. I have to admit I am lovin’ it! I’m not completely sure who I am in Christ now but I am enjoying the journey to find out. My horizons are expanding, my thought processes are changing – some due to the fact of no medications and to be honest, some are due to the fact of new friends that the Lord has placed in my life.

My God is so awesome and His timing is ALWAYS perfect in every way! If I had met the friends four months ago that I am meeting now, we probably wouldn’t have been friends because I was like the turtle that wouldn’t stick his head out of his shell. Truly, I still have my times…I’ll be moving right along and then I’ll just spaz out because for a moment or two I get scared – how do you explain to people (who truly don’t know quite who you are yet) that you are enjoying the new journey but sometimes it can be scary learning who you can be in Christ without any artificial mood stabilizers to help keep you “normal.” Well, as normal as one very backwards (in some ways) and in other ways jaded 40-year-old woman can be. 😀

Truly though it is becoming an awesome journey! I have no idea what my friends and church family thought when I came to T-ville Saturday. I hope that they saw what I’m feeling…that I feel better than I have in years; that I am finally, FINALLY learning to be willing to walk through the doors that I see the Lord opening! I feel confident in Him and actually for the first time in my entire life am starting to feel that I am fine just the way He made me. Now I’m crying as I sit on my front porch at 4:48 am realizing that HIS (not mine) strength is made perfect in my weaknesses. Although I am an imperfect vessel – I am where I’m at emotionally, physically and spiritually because of the choices I have made based on my past, my surroundings and those that have brought me up (not perfect people by any means – BUT perfect for me), He knows exactly where I am and He is with me every step of the way! God doesn’t make perfect people on this earth…sometimes I think He did us a favor with that; perfection in and within ourselves doesn’t exist and wouldn’t allow us to become truly sufficient only in Him.

Miss Helen always believed in me…just for me. She always said that the Lord’s plan for my life was bigger than I would allow. She knew that I was scared most of the time about the things I thought and wanted to try. The last time I spoke with her when she was in Hospice she reminded me that we only get one life here and I shouldn’t allow my fears to keep me from serving our Lord in whatever way He led me. She encouraged me to pray, try everything by His Word and then (in her words), GET UP and GO where HE leads me.

At 16 life as I knew it shattered. I use that word because I remember the feeling so well because I felt it about life occasionally since then. 😛 I know my sister remembers…when we moved to Florida, I dug in my heels; I didn’t want to be here. It was hot, humid and I really couldn’t stay out in the sun because it made me sick. I suddenly became this person who had no friends, no point of reference…I knew my parents were ill and I was, in a word, angry. Not at them but at God I guess; I’ve never actually put that into words before. The school here was huge – I had never seen that many kids in one place before and to me they all looked scary and well, mean. I was still pulling my hair badly then (trichotillomania), and was paranoid (no other word can describe my terror) of people. I was one of those that would walk into a room and immediately feel as if 99% of the people there were talking and laughing at me. Out of all the things that the Lord changed in my life when He drew me to Him & I accepted His gift of salvation, I am so grateful for the fact that with time, He removed that paranoia. It still surfaces from time to time and I’ll feel Him gently remind me that my paranoia is a sin, because it takes my eyes off Him, places them directly on myself, and refutes Psalm 139:14 because when I am paranoid, I am doubting what the Lord made when He made me. To be blunt, when I am paranoid  over what others think of me, it hinders my walk with Jesus because my flesh has taken over for the moment and people’s opinions of me become more important than what my Lord thinks of me.

Good-byes always make me go back in time, reflecting the whats, whys and when’s that made me who I am today. It’s probably universal…when I sit in a funeral service and hear about someone’s life, I always think about any regrets I may have if that would be me. It’s really not so much about what people might say but more about what I have or have not done before the Lord calls me home. There was a time when I thought I might I might be going home sooner than most. As it was said at the funeral yesterday, “To be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord.” I do indeed look forward to that day with great anticipation but now, for the first time in such a very long time, I’m not ready to go…I want to live first and seek out His plan for me, enjoying each step…the good, the bad, the awesome and the grueling. I can say with great certainty that the Lord’s timing is perfect, regardless of my penchant for trying to move time. 😀 Praise Him that He is patient, merciful and kind.

Oh, that I would allow the Lord His perfect timing…stepping forward with God-confidence into the design, tailored to fit what He would have in my life! It is not only my wish for myself but for all my family and friends. Life will never be easy but without my Lord, it would be downright impossible at times.

Miss Helen, I’ll miss you but I will always be grateful for the many years I was blessed to know you and your husband and the unconditional loved you shared with others. I am so glad that you are no longer suffering and reunited with your sister. I love you.

Til’ next time…faithwalkin’ 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Good-byes Can Be Bitter Sweet

  1. Linda, I never knew that you had little self confidence, that the times we spent together would mean much to you. Thank God we had at least some things to do, since I was so unaware.

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