The Ridge Journals

Isaiah 26:3

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

April 5 2011: Mercy Hospital

It’s 7:30 am and I am waking to another day of unknown anticipations at Mercy hospital.  A day with more questions.  How long will I be here for?  Did you bring me here to teach me something?  Maybe I have this all wrong!  I have to simply say “your will be done” and stay open to how and where you lead me.  Please bless me with perseverance, patience, peace and a positive outlook.  Help me focus on the good things.  It seems life has little to do with what happens but more so with who or what you turn to.

I was brushing my teeth when I heard a voice.  “Jeremy? I’m Dr. Smith.  Can we talk when you are done?”  “Yes” I replied, wrapped in a blanket faith that you love me.  As I walked into his office I noticed that my file was pulled up on his computer.  It was evident that he had spent some time looking through it before coming to find me.  We sat down and as my heart was racing with ever-increasing speed he asked me how I was doing.  His demeanor was very encouraging and my near-tachycardia slowed to a normal pace as I began to relax.  After talking for a bit he said, “Let’s get you out of here and somewhere you can get what you need”.  I walked out of that office with clear sight to your guiding.  I have never experienced such a imprisoning sense of submission.  Any amount of influence or power are simply not in my reach.   My definition of dependence on you is being re-written.  I have always known that I am supposed to be dependent on you, but now I am really having to be.  The only other option is to kick and scream.  And I have a feeling that will only delay what you are going to do anyway.  I am experiencing a divergence between my body and my soul.  My soul is experiencing peace.  A peace that has been unknown to me, secure and calming, yet my body is anxious.  Right now I am actually comfortable with that.  I seem to be living in my soul with only a soft, faint reference to my body.

I’m reminded of David and Goliath from the Bible.  Not once does David address or speak about Goliath, not his strength nor his size, which are both powerfully obvious to all.  Yet everyone around David speaks only of Goliath.  Guess who killed him.  Seems what you think about and focus on have some contribution to what happens.

There is so much pain and brokenness on this corner hospital floor.  It has been full to capacity everyday I have been here.  So many are sick.  I don’t think any of the specifics about my circumstance are important.  It’s seems only a means to an end for you.  You want my heart, my obedience, my understanding and submission to your design.  Everything is always, only about you. Regardless of time, darkness or light, fear or joy, I can only find satisfying rest for my soul in you.

I read Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”  Wherever I go, whenever I go, I will be confident that it is your trail I am following.

April 6 2011: Cedar Ridge

It’s 8:00 pm.  It’s been a very long day.  I woke up at Mercy hospital not knowing if I would be there for the day, a week or a month.  About 11:00 am I discovered I was able to go to Cedar Ridge today.  I left Mercy by 3:00 pm and headed to Stillwater MN.  Orientation went for a few hours.   I had no idea what it was going to be like.  On the drive here I was told that the counselors were fantastic, the food was gourmet, it’s just “not much to look at.”  The driver was right.  It’s basic here.  Four main buildings, old and beaten.  I feel like I’m at summer camp.  They refer to us as “students’, not “patients”.  I felt like a patient over the past few weeks, but “student” feels much more accurate.  My wife seems to be doing well, as if the hope of Christ has draped itself over her soul.  The darkness that surrounded me is dying and you are planting our souls in this moist April soil.

I met with the on-site psychologist today and she was absolutely wonderful.  She listened to my story and her reply was a simple “your really sad”.  She said the base antidepressants are fine and she doesn’t want to make any medication changes.  She explained that the education here is awesome.  It focuses on the power of your thoughts and how to retrain your brain.  While I miss my home, my wife, and my children, I know that this is the trail you have me walking.  I have to stay focused on the truth that I need help.  I need to learn how to manage my thoughts and emotions, and not let them manage me.  I can’t think about my wife and children right now or I will crumble.

I love you Jesus.  You always show up.  As I sat in that hospital, for what seemed like months, you asked me to trust.  So I did.  How intensely satisfying it is to obey you.

We all have a story…I’m just glad you are in mine.

April 7 2011: Cedar Ridge

First night at “school”.  Everyone has been extremely welcoming and the staff members are great.  I started reading about the approach to therapy here and I am excited to start.

I wait in a cold, hard plastic chair with a bit of physical agitation for the first class to begin.  I guess I am just nervous.  It’s really nice outside, with a faint, crisp bite in the air.  As I wait here I hear the birds in the distance along with a woodpecker.  They seems louder than I have ever heard them before.  The building is small, brown and old.  The lights are the old florescent kind and they are attempting to soothe me with their muted buzzing.  The floor looks really old, and the chips and wear marks stand as proof.  There are roughly 60 chairs in this room and not one is the same as another.  But your here Jesus.  Your here for those that know you and your here waiting for those who don’t.  I can’t grasp that amount of unstained patience. Since yesterday, my wife’s voice is lighter, softer and much more open to connection.  Open my heart and mind today.

The first group today was called “focus” group.  We all sat in a room and said what we were going to focus on for the day.  It was that simple.  A.W. Tozer wrote that God “communicates with us through the avenues of our mind, our will and our emotions.”  After 34 years of life I am beginning to realize that my default is to see everything through an overcast of darkened emotions.  Why?  I am not sure, and frankly the “why” doesn’t make a difference.  What matters is that the cloud of depression is beginning to lift.  It seems you orchestrated me into a place where you are going to teach me how to use my emotions and thoughts the way you intended.  Please remove any pride, arrogance or negativity today.

The second class today was called “spirituality”.  As I listened to the shallow, foundation-less stew of words, I was reminded of my desperate dependance on you.   I am going to learn things here that I need in order to be healthy.  I’m also going to hear things that are false.  You are my filter for the things presented to me.  I’m here to get the good stuff.  How you continually bless, when we continually disobey.  What an amazing love.

I need to learn to embrace being human, that I have breath, hair, emotions, thoughts, nerves and most certainly limits.  I am a creature, created by you, lost in my sinfulness and redeemed back to you through Jesus Christ.  Usually we beg for what we desire.  Yet the only thing that really matters, reconciliation with you, was given to us before we even knew we needed it.

I have now walked through the elementary school-like cafeteria line and consumed my supper prepared by the on-site, culinary arts trained, chef.  Apparently it has been an usual few weeks as most of the people are court-ordered to be here.  Apparently the population usually ranges from the 18 year-old court ordered to the PH.D whose life just crumbled.

We had our first group therapy session today and it was amazing to see all the tough guys get so vulnerable so quickly.  The frequently used “F*&K” was replaced temporarily with words of deep emotion.  Seeing them helped me open up and sit there “raw”.  I love that I can feel you so deeply.  It seems easier to see you now that all I have has been striped away.  “Destruction” by design I guess.  I struggle with feeling selfish taking time to focus on me.

You need to do your work in me before I am any use to anyone else.

April 8 2011: Cedar Ridge

Today has been a really busy day.  I have a deep, peaceful sense of being here.  This isn’t just for me.  It’s an investment in my family and the generations of my family yet to come.  You are answering my prayers, the prayers of my friends and the historic prayers of my parents.

Apparently I’m a very sensitive person.  You designed me that way.  When I see someone I can quickly get a pretty good idea of how they are feeling.  I can see deeply.  The converse is also true.  I am very sensitive to my feelings, emotions and thoughts which can result in allot of internal intensity.  I am also beginning to think that the sensitivity I have hinders the intended experience and purpose of my emotions.   It can be the tension of opposites.  When the same day holds death and life, when work demands you and your family desires you, when the rainbow slowly revels itself over the small Kansas city now destroyed.  This is why I need a healthy understanding of the role of my moods, emotions, thoughts and feelings.  Because if I don’t, I can’t live with the peace of Christ in the unavoidable tensions of everyday life.  I’ll remain frozen by anxiety, fear and depression.  It’s like a deck built with poor supports, a patio with no grade five gravel, or a marriage with no trust.  No matter how hard you try you will never fully experience what it was deigned to be.

I own the experiences I have.  Not what feeds them, surrounds them, or occurs after them, but how I decide to experience them.  Apparently I have a choice!  My moods color my thoughts and feelings, but they don’t dictate how I choose to respond.  I have given them way too much influence and power.

I love my wife and children so much, but I have never experienced just a deep desire to instill greatness, love, and wise living in them like I do now.

It’s Friday 10:30 pm.  I need to go to sleep.

April 9 2011: Cedar Ridge

I am going to focus on you today Jesus.  On the wet spring ground, the moist air and on my family as they visit today.  It’s a good day to practice what I am learning because my mood is a bit low, there is not much structure today.

I lift my new friend up in prayer.  What a story.  His mother dies when he is a child.  He found his Father dead from alcohol poisoning and partially eaten by wild dogs in an old country barn in the middle of know-where.  I ask you for patience and humility as I wait to see all that you have for me here.  I don’t want to miss anything. I’m getting anxious as my family should be here soon.

My wife and kids just left.  When I heard my daughter’s glass-shattering scream I looked up and saw the red minivan emerge from the curvy, pine tree lined dirt road.  They were finally here.  It seemed like years since I had seen the kids.  Lunch and a bit of play time with them was very emotional.

They are gone now and I am attempting to process how I’m feeling.  I miss my wife so much.  Today she told me she simply felt “numb”.  It reminded me of a time in college when she wasn’t sure if she wanted to be with me any longer.  But this is different.  A different time and situation.  After thirteen years of marriage, our thoughts and contemplations are on a different scale.  Our last two years have been very dry and it’s going to take allot of work, good choices and time by us both to rebuild.

I am grateful that we love you, so we can love one another.

April 10 2011: Cedar Ridge

So much of the time I have based my decisions on the past or on how I am feeling.  I was reading 2 Corinthians were Paul talks about boasting only in the fact that we are weak and our deep need for only one thing: Jesus.

On with the day.

It may be that one on the greatest crimes against God’s creation is the ignoring of the preciousness of the current moment.  It’s a gift that disappears every second to be replaced with a new one.  I called my bride at 7:45 am as I have been doing every morning since I arrived here.  Her mood was low, her mind busy and her spirit heavy.  All I wanted to do is go home and help her feel better.  But I quickly remembered that you guided me here.  I also have to remember that you are working in her through this as well.

In community group this morning we had a chance to bring up any issues.  I haven’t heard people talk about women like that since I was in high school.  I planned on not saying anything, but I felt you start to push me.  My heart was racing, I was beyond nervous and sick to my stomach.  I have been learning how our past experiences wire our brains so when we experience similar things in the future the mind already has feelings and thoughts attached that simply get pulled up and activated.  I think that is why we sometimes wonder where certain thoughts and feelings come from when we experience a reaction we were not expecting.  That is exactly what was happening.  So when it came to me I gently explained that as a married man with two daughters I find it offensive and devaluing.  So if they wanted to talk like that I asked that they just don’t do it in front of me.  I could hardly believe I said it.  It just came out.  As we left I had four guys come up to me and either apologize or say thanks for saying something in the group.  Once again, stepping out in obedience was rewarded.

I so desperately want to go home to be with my family.  Lord please keep me focused on why I am here.  I could so easily fall into deep sadness.  Help me focus on each moment as it comes so I can see what you are presenting me with.  I don’t want to miss anything.  This feels like a test.  A time to protect what you are giving me.  I am away from those I love but it is for the strength of all of us you have me here.  For me, my wife, my children and their future children.

I just had to step out of class for a bit because I could not contain my tears.  I was getting so sad about being away from my wife and children.  After a few minutes I regrouped myself.  I looked at my mood.  It was a bit low which made my thoughts even more intense.  So I chose thoughts that would remind me of the big picture and what you are doing.  Amazingly it worked.  The thoughts and feelings that so forcefully escorted the tears quickly lost their intensity and were replaced with peace and thoughts of your purpose and my health. This distance and time will strengthen my marriage and my family.  I am being re-wired.  This pain and distance is required.  Without it I would be distracted and not invested.  How dare I complain about anything when your hand is so obvious.  You sustained me in Mercy Hospital, you sustained my family as I laid in intensive care and you are sustaining me here.

I am grateful for a phone so I can call my wife.  I am grateful for the food here, the counselors and my peers.  I think I am starting to see what gratitude is and what it produces, what it lets in.  I need to continually remind myself that for you to do your work in me, I have to stay out of your way.  I need to step away from the anxiousness about the future, the worry and the repeating doubt.  I have to soak up each moment as they are handed to me.  I can’t try and capture the one I just had and I can’t look past this one to try and see the one that is coming.

This is the first day I have really struggled.  As I think about it, what’s changed?  My bed’s the same, foods the same, your the same.  My wife and family are the same.  The only thing that has changed is my perspective.  Literally the only thing that’s different are the lenses by which I am looking at life.  That’s allot of power.  My negative emotions are signals to me that I am have an unhealthy, poor outlook on life.  And apparently they’re tell me here the only person who can change that is me.

What they (you) are teaching me here is transforming me.

April 11 2011: Cedar Ridge

Since about 4:00pm yesterday when I realized I may be here for more than twenty one days, I have had this revisiting tightness in my chest and a busy mind frantically calculating all the “what if’s”.  After I noticed it, I started to implement these tools I am learning: slowing my mind, orchestrating my thoughts and understanding what mood I am in.  Then I realize again that you’re feet have heavied the grass the marks the path.  I focus slowly on you with only one active word in my mind: Jesus.  I repeat it over and over.  Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.  This is how I can put my mood, my thoughts and my feelings into a Christ-based perspective.  This peace isn’t frozen forever.  But it is right now, in this moment.  That’s pretty powerful when I remember that this moment is all I have anyway.

I would like to think that I have a healthy anger towards Satan.  Intentionally or not, he reveals himself fully in these moments of utter fear and anxiousness.  Yet your word tells me to be anxious about nothing.  He cherishes when my wife is filled with fear and frozen in anxiousness.  He cherishes it even more when I as her husband don’t realize it and rescue her as I should.  Your word tells me that I am to love my wife as you loved the church.  I think I am starting to see my role as husband a bit more clearly.

And they come again.  “They can’t make me stay, can they?” “Am I really powerless here?”  “Don’t they have to listen to me?” “They don’t own me”  “Can I call a lawyer?”

Stop!

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus”.  Your word tells me that you direct my paths and that all justice is yours, not mine.  I step back and remember to pray, “Your will be done.”  A heart wrapped in that simple prayer is the only thing that will bring obedience.  But handing it all off like that is scary.  It’s feels so risky, so emptying.  But why?  If I fully trust you and your guiding hand, those feelings are simply empty threats.  Keep teaching me.  Keep me ever awake to your constant presence.

I love you.

April 12 2011: Cedar Ridge

Yesterday evening was rough.  My mood was very low and my thoughts became self-focused and negative.  The encouraging part was that every time those thoughts came, I was able to stop them right away because I’m learning that I’m the one who orchestrates my thoughts.  Not my mind, not some one else, just me.

This morning I turned to Proverbs 2.  In verses 7 and 8 it speaks to exactly what I did last night.  It says, ” He stores up perfect wisdom for those who are right with Him. He is a safe-covering to those who are right in their walk.  He watches over the right way, and He keeps safe the way of those who belong to Him.”  Instead of crafting this detailed plan to manipulate and get what I want, I submitted in obedience and prayed simply for your will to be done.  Period.  While not obvious on the outside, it was a battle waged and won by you on the inside.  Our physical bodies shield us from seeing deep into each others inner wars.

Your words are quite literally food for my soul right now.  It’s the only sustenance I have.  It’s the only sustenance that satisfies, that sustains.  So I simply submit to you through the leaders here, regardless.  I will be obedient to you.  If I really trust you as my creator and lover, there is not another way.

I just had a really rough phone conversation with my wife.  Historically I would have allowed myself to get wrapped around the wheels of her freight train , obsessed about it and been completely useless.  But this time I simply listened to her and validated the way she was feeling.  I was oddly able to be connected and close with her yet keep my thoughts and feelings at a healthy distance.  Ten minutes later she called back and apologized.

There is man here who has cancer.  He is nearly 50 years old and near constantly vulgar.  He has a sexed soaked mind and regularly speaks of women as nothing more than toys for enjoyment.  He’s loud, both audibly and emotionally.  He has absolutely no boundaries and is ignorantly cruel to most everyone.  My left foot starts to quickly slip down the hill of judgment, but I quickly get caught by my own list of faults.  We’re all the same.  Our stains may be different, but we are all in the exact same condition.  If we weren’t, you would be irrelevant.  The only deference between me and him is that I have accepted the gift you’ve offered.

I hope and pray he slows enough to see you.

April 13 2011: Cedar Ridge

Relaxed, tense, excited, nervous, peaceful.  They’re all just feelings.  And as important as they are, they were designed to serve me, not lead me.

It’s Macy’s birthday today.  My baby is three years old.  Everyday I call the kids in the morning and in the evening so I can book-end my day with them.  As I pondered her sweet, tiny voice I experienced feelings of pure joy and happiness.  I then had a rush of sadness and self-pity.  A lump began to swell inside my chest and slowly made it’s way up into my throat.  I could feel the emotional undertow begin to pull me into the quickly consuming darkness.  I realized what was happening and I put my emotions in there places.  They are there to be indicators for me, not to own me.  I was able to secure my rightful place back into your peace.  The peace that can only be lived in if you are awake in each moment.  A year ago this morning would have gone very differently.  I would have let this twelve-gauge shell filled with emotions escort me to the corner where I would lay down and bleed for who knows how long.  It’s as if you’re bringing my mental passivity into the light where it can rightly die.  I refuse to spend today dressed in the coat of depression and self-pity.  I will choose to live in gratitude and use my emotions as indicators, and nothing more.

I had a meeting with my counselor today.  She gave me some more assignments and we reviewed some of the ones I had completed.  It was a great meeting.  But prior to walking in I was anxious and quite uneasy.  Thought’s of being forced to stay longer consumed me.  Fear-soaked thoughts just kept coming.  They lasted throughout most of the meeting.  “What is she thinking?” “Am I making any sense to her?”  “I think she may be younger than me.”  Thoughts have the ability to emit a powerful paralysis.  I did my best to kick the fear-based, worry-wrapped thoughts out and replace them with thoughts of how I am designed to be fully satisfied with only you.  Thoughts of obedience to your will, not mine.  This is what Paul is talking about when he says he has learned to be content with much or little.  He learned to live in the truth of your design.  Even as I write this, I submit to your will through my circumstances.  I want your will to replace mine.  Make my self-birthed will disappear.  Thank you for what I do have.  A loving committed wife, three amazing children, loving friends and family and air to breathe.

I continue to cling to Proverbs 2:7-8 because it tells me that you hold my victory, that you will protect me and that you will guide me.  Your will Jesus, not mine.  Help me enjoy every moment with you, whether the surroundings are rotted or filled with the scents of new life.  Let the creeping concerns and wild worries stay far from me.  I acknowledge your wisdom, your love and your perfect timing.

What a deep sense of security there is in that.  I don’t ever want to live anywhere else.

April 15 2011: Cedar Ridge

This day has flown by.  It’s already 3:30 PM.  I met with a social worker from the county who will help me through the next six months if I were to need any help.  A few days ago I was nominated to be a mentor to the new guys who arrive.  Later in the day I was made aware that it was my counselor who nominated me.  That felt very encouraging.

I just got off the phone with my wife, and while I think we’re both doing well, we are both excited to get the little things back.  Holding hands, taking a walk, sitting on the porch, laughing with the kids…just living.  But even as I write this, I have a choice.  I can choose to dwell on how I miss those things or I can choose to focus on being here and what you are teaching me.  I choose the health of the second option.This experience so far is like drinking fresh, endless water after a long misguided journey.

As if a hunger I have always had hidden has been revealed and is finally being fed.

April 16 2011: Cedar Ridge

It’s Saturday.  Even though three days ago I was outside writing at a picnic table in a t-shirt and shorts, today I am in jeans, boots and a heavy sweatshirt enjoying the snow as it clings to the trees for dear life.  Focusing on the moment, the sound of a distant washing machine, the chirping of the birds outside and the dripping water on the window, I am at peace.  What a gift, that if I were to have missed, would be lost forever.  I ask Lord, that you bless my wife and children today.

Although I am absent, fill them with your spirit or peace.

April 17 2011: Cedar Ridge

It’s Sunday.  No classes.  I am feeling a bit down.  There is nothing planned on Sunday’s.  The kids are coming in a while, and while I love seeing them and miss them terribly, there is an odd sense of sadness around it.  But I know my mood is low, so I will weigh my emotions and feelings in relation to my mood, because I know that soon my mood will change, just like these clouds in the sky and thus my feelings and emotions will readjust themselves.

I crave my family.  I crave my wife’s presence, my children’s screams of joy, their laughs and their tears.  Father, give me the healthy moment-to-moment perspective that you desire for me to have.  Being here is an investment; a sabbatical.  Release to me the amount of victory you have in store for me.  This time I don’t come with a cup, but a bottomless well.

I have a lot going through my mind today.  While living in the moment, true emotions cannot be ignored.  I feel the absence of my wife, my children, my toy poodle Titus, my house and my neighbors.  I miss the little joys like good coffee with my wife or pushing my children on the swings at the “Round-About” park until I am exhausted.  I miss hearing the randomly spoken stories from their days.  So as I sit here, present in the moment, I don’t have the choice to ignore them.  I can discount them, through them away or cherish them, but they can’t be ignored or missed because I am living at the emotional and mental speed God designed me to.  There is a reason we don’t emerge from our mothers with a remote.  Pausing life is not an option.  You can hit the pause button until your thumb bleeds, but life runs at a constant, regular, sustained, predictable pace.  You designed it like that.  I think the more I realize and experience this, the more I treasure each moment, regardless of the circumstances.

So I won’t deny the utter sadness that I am experiencing.  This is where I need to be intentional.  To be healthy, I have to choose to make the right next choice.  So I will take these feelings and thoughts and place them in a perspective where they can be useful in my life and not destructive.

It’s starting to get a bit challenging living here.  There is a lot of nasty jokes, horrible views about women and glamorized drug stories.  However that in and of itself has been good practice for me to use these tools I am learning.

Challenging or not, you have me here.

You sustain me and have been giving me everything I need.  Not everything I greed, but everything I need.  Need does not seem to be a gray area for me right now.  You’ve stripped all away from me except you.  Let me enjoy that rest in your providence and love.  Let my moods, feelings and emotions be only as big as they are intended to be.  And remind me deeply that moods are fluid.  They go up and down, are bright then dark.  They don’t sit still very long.

I just sat down in the wreck room.  I have ten minutes until we start “Focus” group for the day.  It’s a time to set our minds on a focus for the day.  Today I will focus on you Jesus, my family and mental discipline.

Sustain.

High-end guitars have a lot of it.  Steinway Pianos have what seems like an endless amount of it.  Alone, I have none of it.  But when I realize, not learn, but actually become awake to the fact that I am alive only through you, I began to feel it.  A close friend and I prayed about this last week.  Being at “The Ridge”, while real life, is designed to shelter and protect me as I learn these new skills.  When I go home, I will have the choice to enter into being distracted, distorted, stressed, rushed, overwhelmed and isolated.  Today I recognize that Satan wants to derail me with anything he can.  Sometimes I feel like an overly tired two year old being forced into a car seat.  I arch my back, slide down with scream and anger.  And other times, when I live in the moment I can’t wait to climb in, buckle myself and see where we get to go.

Good night Jesus.

April 18 2011: Cedar Ridge

It’s Monday.  my wife and I had such a genuine connective, loving time yesterday with the each other and the kids.  I want to go home.  To ease back into life with the revelation of how to live.  I don’t want to stay here much longer, but I submit to you Jesus, for your timing, for your ways, because there’s absolutely no risk in trusting in the one who created me.  My new-found obedience is bringing a depth of life to me I haven’t experienced before.  My wife and children need me.  But I will wait.  I will wait and let you guard my path and release me to them when you want.

Last night a guy here came to me and told me to accepted Christ into his life and that he really wanted to tell me about it.  He recognized his dependence.  His need for a source, and he found you.  Now, regardless of his trips, falls, scrapes or successes, he is now connected to you.  Help me stay in tune with your spirit today Lord. Help me to stay grounded in the gift of each moment.  I don’t want to miss anything.

Today we talked about forgiveness.  After the session we were told to write a letter of forgiveness to anything or anyone.  I struggled at first to think of something, and then it hit me.  I need to forgive Type 1 diabetes.  I have ad such inner anger and resentment towards it, and unchecked those are very powerful feelings.

It’s about 8:30pm. I am recognizing that my feelings are pretty negative right now.  I just feel “off”.  Guess what?  I took a look at my mood and not surprisingly it’s low.  That helps me know what to do.

I really miss my wife and the kids.

April 19 2011: Cedar Ridge

Good Morning Jesus.  My sadness this morning is not a desire to fix or soothe some pain.  It’s recognition of a hole, an absence of something wonderful.  The amazing thing is this sadness I feel is a healthy sadness.  I am apart of a system.  I am a member of a until.  Regardless of what happens, where I am, how long I live.  I am grafted into my earthly family forever.  I was so homesick last night I literally fell asleep saying, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus”.

I am reading “When Life’s Not Working” by Bob Merritt.  In it he discusses how God honors obedience.  As I read that section I was frozen with the intense clarity of that Saturday evening as I drove into the garage and I heard in my spirit, “If you do this, you’re opening wide the door for Satan.”  What he was saying was, “If you disobey me, in this moment of me speaking to you, my hand of protection will be removed.”

I ignored it.  I was disobedient.  That didn’t work out so well.

Why is just “being” so challenging today?  I guess it really doesn’t matter.  The reality is that you have me here right now and that is what it is.  I need to take some deep breaths, get back to the moment and abandon the thought based emotional quicksand I am sinking in. I read something today that stuck with me.  “Brick walls are not there to stop us.  They are there so we can prove how badly we want something.”  I have said for years that I just want to “feel better”.

I guess I found my wall and I’m starting to see over it.

April 20 2011: Cedar Ridge

Last night I found out that my insurance will cover me staying here two more weeks.  My heart started to race and my mind took off like one of those toys with the ripcord in the back from when you were a kid.  I have been doing really well operating in this new way of living, continually giving my will away and requesting yours to fill that space.  When it seems like I can’t stop designing the future, I simply empty my attic and repeat over and over; “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus”.

I spoke with my counselor today and asked about my insurance coverage.  Seems that they approve a few days at a time.  She informed me that today was my last day approved but she would be contacting my insurance company to extend the coverage.  She was busy and had no more time to talk.

Your will be done, not mine.

Your will be done, not mine.

When I was deep in my depression I would continually repeat, “I just want to go home.”  What I was saying is that I wanted out of this pain, this deep sadness and simply be in heaven.  Now, after being awakened to the roots of my depression and abuse I sit looking at a picture of my family and I utter those same words, “I just want to go home.”

But this time to it’s to Ramsey.

May 21 2011: Cedar Ridge

6:45am.

Showered, shaved and dressed.  I am enjoying this moment.  The warm clothes I am wearing, hot coffee, the crisp air.  While at peace I crave to be home with my family.  I am feeling the absence of them deeply.  However, if you have more to teach me here, or want me here for anything, for any more time, then your will be done, not mine, not my wife’s, yours and yours alone.  Help me focus on your will for me today, this moment.  Feeling like I am ready to go home and wanting to be with my family easily puts my brain on auto-pilot.  Planning potential next steps is OK, designing the future is not.  I love you and my desire today is obedient discipline to your will.

I stood out of your way during my afternoon meeting with my counselor and the county social worker.  It was determined that I should stay another two weeks.  Knowing that I have prayed for your will to be done in this since I sat in that hospital, knowing your will is true, pure and good, I looked them in the eyes and said, “Then that’s what we will do”.  So we all got up to go about our afternoons.  My counselor was going to validate that the county would cover the cost of the next two weeks since my insurance coverage had ended.  Twenty minutes later my counselor called me into her office and said, “You are being discharged today.  You are going home”. You are such a good God.  No matter the timing, the circumstances, the emotions, your will is perfect.

Let the story continue in submission and quietness through being awake to you in every moment of every day that I have left.

 

Philippians 4:8

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

 

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