Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pink Foam Curlers and Rear View Mirrors...

      Blogs can be too much like looking in the rear view mirror and seeing that you forgot to take out that one pink foam curler that you meant to pull out of your hair at the last minute.  Seriously.
     I said I'd choose joy in my last blog entry.  But as I look back over the past 2 weeks, the truth is that I've chosen to grump and complain (and be offended over nothing) as much as I've chosen to opt for joy. It's been a real roller coaster ride emotionally with one day being "good" and the next being "bad". I think I spent most of the day yesterday, the last Monday of the "old"  year, confessing my sins and I am still not sure today if I got them all....  Suffice it to say that it's been "fun" around here as we've pushed each other's do-not-push "buttons" to the background orchestra  of coughing, hacking, and grumbling amid the swishing of two vaporizers in the house.  As best I can tell, Phil and I both have bronchitis now and David is thankful to be mostly at work or with friends these days.
     Yesterday, as I've said, was "reckoning time". Phil was at work. The house was finally quiet.  Past thoughts, words, and deeds loaded with selfishness, hypocrisy, and self-pity came rapidly to mind.  Like an endless replay of Mabel-dale's most unfunny video...  Did I really say that???  I didn't mean it!!  Or did I? Could I have actually thought that  just two short days ago??  Thank goodness no one knew it!! Or did they???
    Well, there's, um, always... God.
    So what do you do?
    I got out the Christian's bar of soap, I John 1:9, and began asking God to search my heart.  What a messy job!  Surely He deserves time and a half pay for thankless tasks like that. (Hold still, Cathie! There's one more sin in there that you've got to face!  Enough justifying already! Bring it out into the light and call it what it is so that I can deal with it.)
    Confession.  Good for the soul.      
    Bad for the ego.
    But as a friend of mine says, I feel sooooo much better afterwards....
    Still, it's hard to see myself for what I really am.  I prefer illusions, selective rear view  mirrors that blur pink foam curlers  until all I can see is just a pleasing pink color.  Trick mirrors that magically  skip over spiritual warts (i.e. sin).
    And then I saw this on FB, an excerpt from a website called Hebrew 4 Christians.  It really spoke to my heart and so I wanted to share part of it here:
    Brokenness distills the intentions of the heart by helping us to be more honest with ourselves. 
    We begin to realize that we are more vulnerable than at first we thought;
    that our faith is not as strong as we imagined,
    and that our motives are often mixed and unconscious. 
    Illusions are stripped away;
    idols crumble; 
    deeper levels of selfishness are uncovered; 
    the gap between our words and our deeds is exposed... 
    It is one thing, after all, to intellectually think about faith... 
    but it is quite another to walk out faith in darkness. 
    Yet it is only there ... that we discover what we really believe and how our faith makes traction with reality...
    Take hope, struggling friend. It is surely the will of God to find strength in weaknesses and comfort in affliction. As it says in our Scriptures, God is "the Father of Mercies and God of all comfort" .... and the Lord "comforts us" (lit., "calls us to His side," ...) in our afflictions so that we may be able to comfort those who are afflicted with the same comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (2 Cor. 1:3-4).
Take hope, struggling friend.
That would be me.  And maybe it would be you also.
Tomorrow is the first day of the New Year.
My goal is still to choose joy and to keep on choosing joy as much as I can until it becomes a habit.  But when I fall, when I don't like what I see in the rear view mirror, there is still I John 1:9 and a Savior who cleans us up and "calls us to His side," the sinless Lamb of God, the God of all comfort.
The God who came so that we might share His very own joy, even as we trip and stumble through this earthly, sin-filled existence.
 May we all be blessed with that joy as we stumble imperfectly into  2014!


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