In Between

03-15 Almost Sunrise

There is a hazy place,

Between moonlight and sunrise,

Where uncertainty

Feeds on shadowed fears.

There are doubtful moments,

Between thinking and knowing,

Lurking in gray

While begging truth to appear.


The blurry photo is an accurate depiction of how I see early mornings.  (And I commute like this…worried yet? :grin:)  I wish I could say the blur was intentional, but it’s just the byproduct of taking a picture with a cell phone camera while driving.  It took a couple stoplights to get one with a semi-level horizon.

The lit streetlights not bowing out to the sun’s first rays made me think of this early morning time as “in between.”  “In between” is something I know well right now.  The move is on the horizon so we’re in between houses, in between cities, in between lives.  The recurring question, “are we making a mistake?” interrupts moments of peace to stir the doubt pot again.

I think the only mistake would be not finding out.

I hope you have a beautiful weekend!


Fear Should Not Be A Factor

Fear is an unwelcome guest who drops by unannounced and brings two mischievous cousins – Worry and Doubt.  I bolt the door and pretend I’m not home, but fear doesn’t care.  It kicks the door open and drops its overstuffed 6-piece luggage set in my entryway, switches the TV to ESPN (oh, wait…that was hubby :)), eats all my brownies and has the nerve to leave the crumbs between my couch cushions.

I put on my ‘nice’ face (i.e., not the one I wear when the kids use my best kitchen scissors to try to cut rocks in the back yard) and sweetly ask Fear how long it plans to stay.  Fear laughs at me and cranes its neck to see the TV screen behind me.  Doubt and Worry get inside my head and mess with my senses.  I begin to wonder if I can extricate the trio from my life.

Fear comes in different forms.

There is the fear punishment and infliction of mental anguish:

The IRS and I are pen pals. There's another post in this mess somewhere!

There is fear involving life and death – our mortality or that of someone we love.

Whole lotta sweet, in a little bit o' dog

Some of you might remember how Josie came into our lives in November.  If not, click here for the story.

Last week, Josie started having seizures again.  The mild seizure activity from the evening culminated in my hubby rushing her to an all-night animal hospital at 2AM after a horrifying seizure.  She was stabilized and so far, her blood work is normal.  The only test result missing is Valley Fever, but the vet is skeptical this is the cause of her issues.

Little Josie is on Phenobarbital now.  At least the Pharmacist has a sense of humor….they sent home a bottle of small pills with instructions to cut them into fourths.  I crushed the first pill I tried to cut, and no amount of angry muttering could put it back together again.  My husband got one clean cut before botching the second cut and nearly cutting his fingertip.

For two days, I have been watching Josie.  Every facial twitch, muscle spasm and collapse of her legs sends my heart into my stomach and riles Fear (and the annoying cousins.)  I fear each errant movement will turn out to be another “big one”.  I doubt my ability to calmly get through the experience, and I worry I won’t know when God says it’s time to let go.

We’ve been told it can take several weeks for the medication to get in her bloodstream.  We’ve also been advised that the wobbliness is normal.  For me, neither statement offers much comfort.  I’ve had to look elsewhere for that.

John 14:27:  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

I open the door of my heart for Peace to make itself at home.  With Peace, there is no room for Fear, Worry or Doubt.

Outside the Shadow of Doubt

A paper detailing what is acceptable and unacceptable work attire hangs on the bulletin board in our lunchroom at work.  On one hand, it’s hilarious that they have to state that flip flops and lounge pants are not proper work attire.  At the same time, it’s a bit frightening because this means someone has shown up to work wearing those things before.

The last piece of advice on the dress code page is the statement:  “If in doubt, don’t wear it out.”

Just last week, I debated about wearing my bustier and ultra-short mini skirt.  Good thing that reminder was there, or I might have worn it anyway.

Sometimes I have doubts about my life.  Not what I wear to work – my conservative dress ensures that I’m not eyed like chocolate cake at a salad bar.  I’m like cucumbers; unless you’re looking for me, I blend in with my surroundings.  Still, there are times I wonder:  Can I grow beyond my faults?  Am I using my life to honor God?

Using the wisdom of our dress code policy, if in doubt, I should change from the inside out.

My doubt is not unlike the rich ruler (Luke 18:18-30).  He asked Jesus how he could have eternal life.  The ruler knew the commandments, but he must have doubted that was enough or he wouldn’t have asked Jesus the question in the first place.  When Jesus suggested the ruler give his material things away and follow Him, the man was sad.  He didn’t think he could do it.

“What is impossible with men is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27).

Jesus’ response also applies to my own doubts.  Maybe I can’t move past my faults on my own, but with Jesus’ help, I can.  Jesus can guide my life so that it honors him, even if I don’t have the strength to steer myself.

Do you have doubts about choices or your life’s direction?  How do you move past doubt?  Have you ever worn a bustier to work?  (I had to ask…)

Trusting Guidance

I’ve got a problem that I’ve been obsessing over thinking about for nearly a week now.  It’s a family issue that I’m not sure directly affects me, but speaking up has an equal chance of helping, or making it significantly worse.  Part of me suggests, “say something; you could be the bridge for communication.”  The other part warns, “stay out of it; you could cause irreparable damage.”

 The pre-spiritual journey me would continue down this anxiety-ridden path, replaying the possible outcomes (mostly disastrous) over and over until my mind grew numb from exhaustion, leaving me as frustrated as my seventh-grade self with an unsolved Rubik’s Cube after several wasted hours days weeks – okay, I never could figure that thing out, but that’s a different story.

 This time, I realized the road I was taking and decided to refer to my Study Bible for help.  I read several passages about “What to read when you are seeking God’s direction” but one in particular settled in my mind.

 James 1:5-8

 “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”

 Accompanying Study Text:

 “Is it a sin to doubt?  It’s not a sin to struggle with questions of who God is and what it means to belong to him.  Those are natural questions anyone seeking God will ask.  Rather, James condemns an attitude that questions whether or not God and his Word can be trusted.  A mistrustful, suspicious attitude toward God poisons our spirit, making joy impossible.”

 This text spoke to me because I struggle with doubt.  I wonder if I’m living up to God’s plans for me.  I worry that God has given me a sign and I missed it. When I think about conversations I’ve had, I am uncertain if my words were spoken as I’d intended.  I have second-guessed many decisions, big and small.

 These verses tell me that I need to clear my heart, pray for guidance, and trust the direction my heart leads me – to trust that God is leading me.  Yes, this is easier said than done.

His Lost Child Comes Home

My parents didn’t find us a church to go to when we moved to Arizona.  For the first time, I had the option to say “no” to church, and that’s just what I did.  At fifteen, I focused my energy on making eye contact with people instead of scouring the campus concrete for loose change.  I was determined to trade in my glasses for contacts and anxiously awaited the removal of my braces.  Basically, my attention turned to the outside and I ignored anything deeper.

God was with me enough to keep me out of trouble, but I didn’t do anything to grow a relationship with Him.  As the years passed, my closeness with God faded.  I took religion classes in college to fulfill degree requirements, which created more distance.  I still wanted to believe, but doubt and confusion crept in because I could see the validity in the other religions.  I wondered how every religion could be so sure that theirs worships the one true God.

During college I waitressed to pay bills.  Every Sunday, the “church crowd” flocked to the restaurant after services concluded.  The men wore their suits and ties; the women donned crisp dresses and high heels.  Many of them were courteous, fewer of them were generous, and a handful caused me to develop a dislike of religion and the hypocritical nature of people wrapped up in it.

In church, I remembered being taught about kindness and compassion for mankind.  I recall the message of spreading Christ’s word, but not passing judgment.  The comment that stung the most came from a church-going couple on a Sunday morning.  The man had been demanding and rude to me, and as I turned to walk away, his wife told him as much.  His response to her:  “It doesn’t matter.  She’s just a waitress.”  Lucky for him, this waitress was more interested in letting it go than plotting revenge.

I met my husband my last year of college.  We were in agreement about the hypocritical church folk.  He believed in “something bigger than himself,” but never attributed that “something” to God.  Five years after we got married, I started wondering, “What am I supposed to be doing in life?”  I felt lost, like something was missing.

After several years of treating God like a distant relative seen only at weddings and funerals, I now looked to Him for direction.  If He was a mortal person, he probably would have told me off and showed me the door.  Of course, He didn’t do that.  But He didn’t reveal His plan for me, either.   Then again, maybe he has shown me and I just haven’t noticed it.  I am a little slow that way.

I searched for a nondenominational church rather than the Baptist church I grew up with.  I only went to churches with a relaxed dress code because I associated ‘church clothes’ with hypocrisy.   (At one of the churches, the young pastor even wore flip flops!  Seeing the pastor’s toes went a little too far – I never could get used to that and ended up staring at his feet during the entire service).

My husband has come along with me on this journey, but I don’t know if he’s any closer to believing in God.  I pray that one day he will.  I’m no longer that stubborn (young) girl who had pulled away from God in favor of the illusion of personal control.  I humbly admit that I can’t do it alone; I got lost and am asking for directions.  My mind is finally open again – possibly for the first time since I was eight years old.  I’m eager to learn and ready to grow and prepared to follow the path He leads me down.