Forsaken Forest

FORSAKEN FOREST

There is a dark wall of forest around my heart.

The trees are tall, evergreen, angry, with needled fingers pointing while I cry on the ground.

Some say they love me but their words demand that I follow only their rules.

One berates me because I am friends with her mother, whom she hates.

Another hates me because I don’t like the same music as he.

Still another hates me because I remained in contact with her ex, a man who was my friend before I knew her.

Two more cut me out of their lives because I left a man who was my husband, with whom, they opine, I should have stayed. I regarded one as a father of sorts. He has departed this realm. Now the mind of the other, his wife, has left her aging body.

One especially was close to my heart. We talked almost daily. We shared meals, music, laughs, tears, secrets… Life.

Many more stand in the shadows, regardng me with disdain so deep, my attempts to reconcile are lost in their darkness.

Their roots whisper, “Remember when we used to talk? We laughed together many a time. We trusted each other with deep thoughts. We bounced ideas around. I knew you cared. You were always there. For me. But I remain as I was – not there for you.”

Scars are scribed where their branches had grown so closely into my life, they grafted in. When they pulled their arms away, it left open wounds.

I never cut them off myself. My arms still reach out, though with more caution: “Will you ever return?”

The wall of this forest blurs my outlook. Covered by the past, I am hidden from the future.

My yellowed leaves fall to the dirt like the friends who did forsake me.

As the wall of trees looks down on me, my figurative tears dilute their shadows and turn them to mud. I care less.

But, given time, light, and water – the water of love – I will grow back. Alone on the surface perhaps; damaged; spent; and even physically demolished, but never forsaken by the One who provides life eternal – Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

(Proverbs 18:24)

“I’m here for ya…” they say.

“I’m here for ya,” they say.

“You can always lean on me.”

“Reach out any time.”

“If there’s anything I can do to help, let me know.”

“I can help you with that.”

Sure.

Right.

I ask, and the crickets chirp.

Alone in a crowd.

Parenting a Child Who Has ADHD

I can’t begin to explain the pain of raising a child who has ADHD.

This blog post will not offer any help for others who have children with ADHD.

It is only me saying “I know how hard it is”, and if you are in similar shoes, you’ll know it, too.

My heart breaks daily.

Out of my seven kids, five have always been gentle, empathetic, friendly, loving souls.

Not him. I hate to label, but how else do I get it across to you to explain why I am hurting so much over this? He is selfish, demanding, surly, obstinate, oppositional, and I don’t even know what other words to use to describe him.

Some might blame me for him being this way. I assure you, he has had these traits since day one, and they have grown with him. I have done so much to try to find help over the years. Books, doctors, diet, counseling, prayer…

He has medication, yes. It helps to some degree, but not fully.

He is 12 now, as of today. I have been dealing with him daily for twelve years. I am depleted.

My oldest child was similar, and some days I didn’t think I would survive. Her angry, self-centered traits were also on display since day one. She is so much better now, and has become one of my best friends. I thank God!

I don’t know if such maturity can ever happen for my son. He is so mean to all of his siblings, some more than others. I fear for him.

I was awful to my parents as a kid and I regret it now. I changed. I grew up and grew kinder. Oh how I pray my son will, too.

I don’t know who to ask for help anymore, so I put this little bit here and ask you to please pray.

Heart Aching

Sometimes my heart aches so deeply over the state of the world, from observing things as big as massive conflicts of nations on down to relatively little things like witnessing and receiving the painful words and actions of an individual.

Then it all comes down on me.

Wanting to hide, yet needing to not be hidden.

The conflict within and without.

Pain.

And there’s no solution I can force, to the world, to the person, or to me.

So I write these few words. Maybe someone can relate and cry with me. Maybe someone has the right glue to fix the damage.

Probably not, but still I try.

No, I Don’t “Got This”

No amount of motivational posters are going to convince me that “I’ve got this”, “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”, “nobody can take away my power unless I let them”, or any other platitude can remove reality from staring me in the face.

“If you need to talk, just reach out. I’m here for ya.”

Actually, no. You’re not. Nobody is. It is all nice in theory, but when it comes down to it, the only one here for me is me.

And that is depressing, because I am too broken to help myself.

There’s always that one thing that does kill ya. So far, none of the other attempts have strengthened me. Here I am still crying out to no person.

I do know God hears me, and my only hope is in joining Him in that better place. Meanwhile, I push on and wait, hiding within my tent of flesh and bone, choking on tears for breakfast.

I do not have strength. God is my strength. I cling to Him.

I feel no motivation. I can only eke out: “Thank you, God, for sending Jesus to unite me to You. Without You, I am only dust. I await seeing Your face.”

Psalm 42, Amplified Version:

As the deer pants [longingly] for the water brooks,
So my [a]soul pants [longingly] for You, O God.

My soul (my life, my inner self) thirsts for God, for the living God.
When will I come and see the face of God?

My tears have been my food day and night,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

These things I [vividly] remember as I pour out my soul;
How I used to go along before the great crowd of people and lead them in procession to the house of God [like a choirmaster before his singers, timing the steps to the music and the chant of the song],
With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a great crowd keeping a festival.


Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become restlessand disturbed within me?
Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall again praise Him
For the help of His presence.

O my God, my soul is in despair within me [the burden more than I can bear];
Therefore I will [fervently] remember You from the land of the Jordan
And the peaks of [Mount] Hermon, from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep at the [thundering] sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.

Yet the Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
And in the night His song will be with me,
A prayer to the God of my life.


I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 
As a crushing of my bones [with a sword], my adversaries taunt me,
While they say continually to me, “Where is your God?”
11 
Why are you in despair, O my soul?
Why have you become restless anddisquieted within me?
Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him,
The [b]help of my countenance and my God.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 42:1 The Hebrew word translated “soul” in this psalm and elsewhere in the book of Psalms is nephesh. This word usually refers to a person’s “life” or “self,” but can also mean “throat,” as perhaps in vv 1, 2.

  2. Psalm 42:11 Or saving acts of.

That lonely, needy feeling

It doesn’t seem to be socially acceptable to shout out, “Hey, I’m feeling lonely and needy. Can someone please talk to me?”

But sometimes talking to someone is all it takes to not feel that way anymore. It doesn’t have to be a conversation about feeling lonely or needy. The connection itself, the interchange of words and thoughts, even listening to someone else talk about things that have nothing to do with your own problems, can be healing.

The opposite effect can result from reaching out and not connecting, though.

So, more often than not, I don’t even try. The risk isn’t worth it to me.

 

 

 

People in dire situations

While I walked to the post office yesterday, a friend called me and we talked for the entire half hour and then some as I stood waiting to go get my mail. She sounded fully stressed out by her living situation. She’s been out of a bad relationship for the past few years, living with family, friends, and strangers, all in different locations and arrangements of rental costs. She’s finally got a good job, but it’s so hard to get herself on her feet in the city where life costs at least double what it does to live out here in the semi-wilderness.

Then there’s another friend who messages me frequently from across the globe. He is living in a land he hates. His beloved wife is living in a whole other country for work. He got hired at a job that he tolerated but it was not his ideal. The company went out of business after less than a month, and they aren’t going to pay him for the weeks of work he put in. He has no way to pay the rent on his place, and his wife doesn’t make enough money in the other country to cover both of their living expenses in separate households.

I don’t have the money to help them out of their messes or I would do so in a beat of my breaking heart. I have no way to help them but to pray for them and be a listening ear.

If anyone reads this, can you please pray for these people you may not know? God knows. I feel my hands are tied and I so want things to get better for everyone. I know I myself have been through stuff and wonder if anyone had been holding me up in prayer to get me through it and on to a safer place in this world.

Sad scenes and happy outcomes

Sad scenes are sometimes necessary to bring out twice the joy when there’s a happy outcome.

Not only does this apply in the world of writing, but it is also applicable to eternity for those of us whose faith is in Christ.

I think of Romans 8:18, which in the King James Version says, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

This keeps me going through so many agonies. Hallelujah for this blessed knowledge!

romans 8 18

 

 

Inadvertently Offending

I feel absolutely crushed when I realize I have said something that was taken the wrong way – or my wording was with insufficient care and failed to get its intent across – and caused someone to feel offended. Ugh! I apologize and wait until they assure me they now understand and all is fixed.

Sometimes, though, I don’t get that assurance.

It is an awful feeling, whether it is between a friend and me or between a stranger and me. All the more careful am I thenceforth about what I say.

I wonder, if I were less sensitive to the feelings of others, how I would instead react. I guess that is the way a lot of the arguing souls are in the comment wars I see on social media? Hardened? Not caring how their words are received, as long as they get their say?

I know what it is like to be argumentative, rude, and outspoken, as I used to be that way, more in my childhood and teen years, toward people who were rude to me, or with whom I disagreed. I didn’t back down. I had to one-up them and show them how smart I thought I was.

Gradually, though, I changed. Life experiences changed me. Choices changed me. Pain changed me. I absorb perhaps more than I should, but that, too, is a choice.

I am far from complete, and that is evidenced by my still screwing up and accidentally hurting others, causing pain that is penultimate only to the pain I feel for having caused theirs.