Faith Amidst Euroclydon

Swirling thoughts of uselessness, hopelessness, and despair encircle me to the point of near devastation and yet somehow I keep my head up or rather, I keep moving forward.

Recently, a friend of mine with a very similar personality to my own, texted something to me that made sense of my swirling thoughts and my seeming inability to formulate them in to words.  I usually keep those kinds of words/texts and dwell on them for days, weeks, months, sometimes even years.  However, I also occasionally tend to “clean out closets” in an attempt to not be a hoarder (even of words).  And, unfortunately, this apparently is one of those times.  Otherwise, I’d share with you the exact words this friend used.

As so many of my fellow Christians say, “I went to church on Sunday.”  I’m trying to change my vocabulary and say, “I went to a worship service on Sunday.”  I realize I’m being a bit “nit picky” and yet words and descriptions really do have an impact on how things are viewed.  The discussion regarding how to define the word “church” is better saved for another time.  My point to all of this is to tell of something I heard while at said aforementioned service that relates to my swirling thoughts and to what my friend said about me.

The pastor of this particular group of believers has been working through the book of Acts.  This past Sunday, he indicated that he’s never heard chapter 27 preached quite like he had at the Calvary Chapel 2017 International Senior Pastors & Wives Conference.  He shared the video of Damian Kyle teaching/preaching.  The following is part of what struck me as significant.

Acts 27:20 says this in the second part of the verse,

…all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.

This comes after they faced Euroclydon in verse 14.  Euroclydon is described as:

  • a tempestuous head wind
  • a wind of hurricane force
  • a violent wind
  • a wind of typhoon strength
  • a gale-force wind

It was seen as an infamous northeastern storm, not unlike the winter storm that recently hit the northeastern part of the United States.  Damian Kyle explained that he feels this particular story of a shipwreck was included to show us that even when all hope is lost, God is still there.  He went on to share the famous Footprints in the Sand poem.  I remember truly loving that poem as a child/adolescent and yet now I somehow feel as though it is over-used.  But, my mind is wandering again.  Back to what I considered ‘significant.’

I suppose one must realize that part of the significance comes from what the pastor did/said after the video of Damian Kyle was finished.  The pastor asked for people around the room/auditorium/sanctuary to stand if they’d been through a Euroclydon-type storm and come out “victorious” on the other side.  I remember feeling like I could perhaps half-way stand, and yet… I still so much feel like I’m in the middle of a Euroclydon because of my swirling thoughts that I’ve already mentioned… (numerous times, if you follow my blog at all).  After he had people stand as a “testimony to God’s faithfulness,” he then asked for people to stand who felt as though they were in the midst of a Euroclydon.  I stood, but then I immediately started crying and could not stay on my feet.  My younger daughter was with me, and she held out her hand to mine.  A man I’ve never seen before or since came and placed his hand on my shoulder or arm and asked if I was okay.  I nodded my head amidst my sobs.  (What else could I do or say?)

Why am I sharing this with any of you? I don’t know. I honestly don’t know except to say that somehow, not by my own choosing, God has given me a faith in Him that cannot be explained.  It is this faith that keeps my head above the waters, or as I stated earlier, keeps me moving forward.

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Popcorn Quotes to Seize the Day

In an attempt to be a better ‘me’ this year, I’ve taken to tweeting with the hashtag, #SeizeTheDay.  (Obviously, tweeting is not going to make me a better me, in and of itself.)  My best friend of all time is celebrating her birthday today.  We’ve not seen each other in nearly 18 years, and yet our friendship is as strong as ever.  For my birthday, she gave me a daily calendar with quotes (and the words “Seize the Day”) for each day of the year (except only one on weekends).  Today’s quote, after a brief search online, appears to be a bit of a misquote.

I’ve not read this blogpost word for word, but Sue Brewton points out that rewording quotes changes the meaning.  Here’s the quote as printed by Sellers Publishing, Inc.:

If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.  

— John D. Rockerfeller, Sr.

According to Wikiquote, Zig Ziglar used this in Steps to the Top in 1985.   However, according to Working in America by Catherine Reef and The Fra: For Philistines and Roycrofters edited by Elbert Hubbard and Felix Shay and Sue Brewton’s blog as already mentioned, the quote should be:

It requires a better type of mind to seek out and to support or to create the new than to follow the worn paths of accepted success.

John D. Rockerfeller, Sr. in Random Reminiscences of Men and Events

For me, the quote exudes even more when one reads the whole paragraph (or better yet, the whole book); but in our society of instantaneous everything, we’ve come to expect ideas to come to us in 140 characters or less.  Even Twitter realized that life can not be crammed into such a small box, as they recently doubled the allotted number of characters to 280.

So, let’s #SeizeTheDay and start seeking out more than the microwaved package of proverbial popcorn.  Dig out the old air popper or pour some kernels in a small amount of hot oil.  (Just be sure to have a lid nearby.)  In other words, read a full paragraph, chapter, or book!

By the way, “Seize the Day” is a quote from approximately 2,041 years ago… long before the microwave, cellphone, Google, or even the printing press was invented.

Satirical Saturday or my poor attempt at inaccurate alliteration

I’ve not blogged in a while… not because I’ve not wanted or needed to, but because I’m afraid of what people will think. Within recent months, I’ve told people (who I actually know) about my blog. And, that’s what has me frightened. I’m afraid I’ll divulge something that heretofore has been somewhat private. I’m afraid of being judged. (I know how people are… myself included. Why are we that way?)

Life is a complicated thing. Daily, all of us are learning how to maneuver and manage in this world… whether we realize it or not. Our world is changing fast. We don’t see it because of the intense speed with which it is changing.

I no longer feel like I’m able to accurately articulate my true feelings and thoughts about things. It’s like my own little corner of the world is spinning around and around and around with no end in sight, and I’m scrambling to try and figure out how to hold on or jump off. With my propensity to over-think things (EVERYthing), this spinning wheel may eventually crash. That being said, I truly am glad that I have a personal relationship with the One who holds it all together. Knowing that doesn’t necessarily make it easier. As James says, I’m verrrry slowly learning to “count it all joy when [I] fall into various trials.”

This song is not really related… or is it?

p.s. I have a different place to live. See my previous post if you don’t understand.

“Mrs. Positive” vs. the Ex-Wife

So, my ex is married to “Ms. Positive of the Universe,” and I find myself wallowing in self-pity.  Obviously, something is not right.  Even to admit this publicly could bring shame upon myself.  However, I need to get over it.  (I’m sure “Ms. Positive” would agree with me.  Oh wait… I should label her properly.  It’s not “Ms.” but “Mrs.”  Only those of us who are divorced and not remarried have the honour and privilege of the “Ms.” title. 🙂 )

Do I have a point to this?  Probably not… except to say that I’m attempting to let off some steam.  I struggle with seeing how she claims to be the number one fan of her daughters and includes my two daughters in the (literal) picture (along with her three daughters).  I know I need to probably ‘address’ this issue with her, but I really do not know how to breach the subject.  Will I be banned from WordPress for writing about it here?  I highly doubt it.  Will she ever see this?  Probably not… unless someone who knows her (and me) points it out to her. Will I be upset if she sees it?  Probably.  Will she be?  I don’t know.  It’s possible.  But, will we all get over it?  Will it one day “pass,” like many people keep telling me, “This too shall pass”?  I sure hope so!  Maybe by me writing about it I’ll somehow feel better.  I don’t know.

The longer I live, I’m finding that there are many things that I do not know. And, there are many things for which I have no answers.  To simply say that Jesus is THE answer sounds great!  I’ve been waiting a long time (and reading a lot of Scripture and excerpts from books written by dead theologians) to try and figure out how that applies to real life.

Seemingly endless frustration

I’m frustrated.

Frustrated with myself for…

being frustrated
thinking I can write as good as the best writer
thinking that I’m really not that good
thinking … period
wishing that life could be different
realizing that it can be different, if I make a change
not knowing how to make a change or even where to start
knowing how to make a change and how to start but being scared to death of it

knowing that God is with me and for me and that I can trust Him, but realizing that I must not be fully trusting Him because of how burdened down I seem

thinking
thinking so much that I don’t eat when I need to
being concerned that people who read this will think I’m a terrible writer
being concerned that people who read this will think I actually have something to say
being concerned what others think about me (After all, what difference does it make?)

Frustrated with and yet thankful for those who read my “Real Like the Velveteen Rabbit?” post from yesterday because…

one person commented on the actual post

a couple of people replied via email saying that I don’t need to ask people what to write about (duh, I know that!)

several people replied via text saying…

I follow your blog now; I subscribed
I never knew you wanted to be a writer?!
I knew you had a hidden talent somewhere
I want to go read that again sometime
I wish you the best in your endeavor
I love your picture!

I wasn’t seeking approval! Or, was I? (sigh)  <— Add this to my "frustrated with myself" list (above).

So many clichés about life are true and yet I wish they weren't.  I wish there was a way to 'break the cycle' in a sense.   I don't want to be like the next person.  I don't want to be famous.  I'm tired of taking baby steps like Bob.  I just wish I could express myself and have someone validate me.  And yet, when validation is received, then what?  What do I do with that?  Where do I go from there? What’s really the point of any of this?

Real like the Velveteen Rabbit?

Does a blog that people will read and follow actually exist?  Can I create one, too?

I have a lot of online friends… both in the blogging world and on various chat sites.  The latter perhaps may be a shock to some of my blogging friends and perhaps to some of my “real” friends.  I put “real” in quotes because I believe all friends are real… regardless of whether you’ve ever met them or even ever spoken with them in “real” life (aka ‘in person’).  But in this instance (mentioning “real” friends), I am referring to the friends I actually have met in person.  Confused? Good!  So am I!  ha!

I’m throwing this out there to see what people will think.  I love to write.  I’ve been told by several people that I’m a good writer.  (I could devote a whole blog JUST to that.  No, not a whole blogpost but a whole blog!  In other words, a blog about what a good writer is, does, thinks, etc.)  I would LOVE to be able to write “for profit.”  And no, I’m not interested in being a millionaire or even a thousandaire (if there was such a thing).  But, I am passionate about writing and wish that it indeed could be my sole income source.  Alas, I’m currently “just” a day care teacher.  I have nothing against being a day care teacher, per se.  I just know that it doesn’t stretch or even use all of my intelligence, and therefore, my brain is still telling me, “There’s got to be more!”  (I could devote a whole blog just to how a day care teacher could possibly expand his/her ‘ideals’ simply by studying the children he/she cares for. (I keep caveating in my head about this.  Even ending that sentence with a preposition is something I could caveat about.  Ugh!  There I go again!))

So what’s my point?  I want to write.  I want to be paid to write even if that means that I’m being paid by companies/businesses that would advertise on my blog.  I think my blog should have a creative name beyond Anita’s Antics, though, because my life is certainly about more than just my antics.  I’m considering making it an anonymous blog because I know that I’ll (most likely) be more willing to write about things that some of the people who REALLY know me would consider VERY shocking. And, I’ll probably have a bigger following if I’m able to write about those things because those things even shock me!

If you (the reader of this post) have ANY ideas about what I might call a blog like that, please let me know.  Also, if there’s a topic you’d like me to blog, please let me know.  I’d be willing to blog about just about anything.  No, not “just about”… I will (if given the proper ‘stage’) write about anything.

Oh, and by the way, this is me.  Or at least a picture of what I looked like this past Sunday.  I may never be this “real” again. 😉

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Redeem the Time

When and how do we know to move from the time of rest to the time of action?  I posed this question in my previous post.

And then today, I read Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s morning devotion which would seem to indicate we are called to action NOW… not some time down the road in the future.

Do it promptly; do not fritter away your life in thinking of what you intend to do to-morrow as if that could recompense for the idleness of to-day.

So, if it’s now, how does that truly play out in actual life?  We (and by saying ‘we’, I suppose I’m referring to most, if not all, humans) are consumed with ourselves.  We think we have got to have the latest, greatest.  Or, we think that just because there’s a sale on something, then we ought to get it … in case it would be of some use ‘down the road.’  But, what about now?  We’re really only given “right now.”  We aren’t promised the future.  Look at the recent tragedy in Chattanooga.  The six children (ages 6 to 10) do not have a future here on earth.  Neither they nor their family ever expected that their lives here on earth would be cut so short.  So, how do we “redeem the time”?

I certainly don’t claim to have the answers.  However, I believe the Bible holds THE answer, which is Jesus Christ.  That is so simplistic, and yet that is somewhat the point.  The gospel… that Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sin… IS very simple.  So simple, that many do not accept it.

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We (myself included) must learn to trust … no matter what.  Also, we must continue  on the road in front of us and not grow weary.   (See Proverbs 3:5-6, Hebrews 12:1-2, Galatians 6:9-10, Philippians 3:13-14, Isaiah 40:31.)