January 12, 2013
The other night I was having trouble sleeping. Now, normally, I sleep very soundly. My life only accords me a few hours to sleep, so I try to make the most of it! But I swear I’m starting “the change”, because the other night I felt like it was 90 degrees in my room and I just couldn’t cool off. So I rolled around, changed my clothes, kicked the cat off the bed. Nothing worked. And as I lay there trying to cool down and fall back asleep I began to fret. I’m not normally a worrier, but there’s something about lying alone in the dark to get one feeling anxious about all of life’s troubles. My mind searched around for something else to think about, but I couldn’t seem to let go of troubling lines of thought.
How am I going to pay my bills? Is my dog going to feel better? (He’s been sick.) How am I going to send Rahul to college? What will I do when my parents get too old to care for themselves? Who will care for me when I’m old?
You know the progression of anxiety.
Then a strange thought popped in my head: purple. I saw in my mind the most vivid purple. It was so gorgeous that I forgot about my questions for a moment. It was an abstract thought, but it was an arresting color and I contemplated whether I had ever seen it in nature, or just material things. I thought about the sky and and the beautiful, startling colors contained in it at times and I puzzled over whether I had ever seen that purple in the sky before. I was sure I hadn’t. And as I drifted back off to sleep I longed to see that purple in the sky…
A short while later my alarm was gonging and it was time to get up. I rolled out of bed and took my dog outside for his walk. My brain was foggy and sluggish as I led him east along our street. He stopped to sniff something and I turned my head to stretch. And the western sky was completely purple. I immediately remembered my earlier thoughts and was stunned. It was exactly the color I had pictured in my head and it wasn’t just a sliver of purple, it was the entire sky! I stood frozen on the sidewalk staring into the sky. And before my eyes it changed to grey. As the sun was rising the colors were refracting differently and the purple was gone.
He made it purple for me! I thought. God put color in the sky at the exact moment I was going to see it to show me He would take care of all the answers to my anxious questions. To show me He loved me and He saw me.
I know it sounds arrogant–God colored the entire sky purple just for me!!–but I do believe it. I think He does it for all of us, all the time, whether we notice it or acknowledge or recognize it. David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1-2)
I’m just one, tiny insignificant person and I am mostly invisible to the people around me. But to know that my Maker sees me is what I need to get through today.
September 18, 2010
This week I turned 39. Whenever I write a birthday card to someone I say a prayer for something specific I wish for them in their new year. I think for myself, I wish more of the same! Life is good and I am incredibly blessed. The past year has held some monumental challenges and moments of utter despair, but I am full of faith right now and am seeing good things all around me.
This morning I happened to read one of my favorite parables that struck a particular chord. It speaks of building a foundation for your life that is deep and rests of rock, so that when floods and torrents “burst against” it you are not shaken because your life is well built. And last night I read another parable to my son, “The Hare and the Tortoise”. When we finished the story, Rahul said, “Yeah, but that would never happen, right?” And I said, “Honey, it happens every day.” And I feel like I am living proof that building one’s “house” on the rock gives you the support and foundation to survive the roughest storms. And I have definitely become much more “tortoise” than “hare”. When I was young I was full of hope and arrogance and absolutely sure of success. But as one dream after another was withheld from me, I began to see the value in humility and patience. There were years of my life I spent wondering what was going on and why I had not found the success I thought I should have. But now, at age 39, I look back and see how God ordered my steps precisely to prepare me for some of the things He has blessed me with now. Most especially, my son.
When Rahul first came home with me he was angry and confused and clearly did not want me to be his mom. He said so all the time, saying he had wanted a mom and a dad, wanted to live in the country, etc. And I often wondered in those first few months if he would have done better in that type of family. But as the months have turned into years I am 100% convinced that I am the perfect, hand-picked family for him. All of the qualities God spent years honing my character, the life lessons that dragged on over decades, the work I did in years of therapy, the 20+ years I have spent walking with God through all kinds of crazy situations, a lifetime spent in the bosom of a loving, stable family–all these things have shaped me into a Rahul-sized mom and prepared me to handle a type of parenting that is beyond description or explanation.
And I know there is a lot more work to do and challenges and joys I cannot even imagine. But right at this moment I am filled to the brim with contentment and faith. And I trust that the Rock that carried me 39 years already can be trusted to carry me as long as I am needed here.
April 14, 2010
I had a dream last night that I was having a conversation with my tax preparer. (If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I had been really disappointed by the way my last preparer handled a major tax credit I am eligible for. Well, I switched to a highly recommended CPA and am confident that she knows what she is doing, but found out yesterday that I will still owe the government a little money. So much for the large tax refund I was counting on!) I haven’t actually met her in real life; because I came to her so late in the season, I had to just drop off my papers and we’ve spoken on the phone a couple of times. Anyway, in my dream, she was asking me why, since clearly I had been beaten up my life so much lately, I didn’t take that as a sign that I should move out of NYC. And I was really taken aback that she would step into my life so objectively and ask the question which I have been asking myself so often as of late. Why, when I am getting nowhere with doctors, money or Rahul’s education do I continue to stay here? Is God really directing me to leave New York and move in with my parents until I can get my family on a better track? In my dream I answered her emphatically, NO. I am sure that I should stay here. I told her that there is a big difference between God shutting doors (which to me signifies that its time to move on and change direction) and a person falling down over and over and being called to rise up again.
I woke up and lay in bed pondering this idea. Actually, I marveled at my unconscious self’s wisdom! I can’t tell you how, exactly, but there is a definite difference between a door being closed and stumbling through trials. And I know I am meant to press on in my present circumstance. There are just enough positive signs to keep me fighting. Every Wednesday morning I get to talk and pray with my dear friend Jenny, who calls me without fail at 6am. I told her about my dream and as I did, I thought of a phrase that I’ve seen in the Bible, “little by little”. I told her that I really believe that my blessings will increase little by little. I am not going to get a big tax refund this year that will cover all my outstanding bills. I will continue to work and grow my business (which is growing quickly!) and earn the money to pay things off, little by little. Rahul will learn to read little by little. We will find mental health solutions and adoptive family resources little by little. Something about that idea really comforts me.
I was curious what the context of the phrase “little by little” was, Biblically, so I looked it up. In one instance it refers to Israel’s conquest of the promised land. God told them He would drive out their enemies little by little, rather than all at once, because otherwise the wild animals would multiply around them (Deut. 7:22). In another context God states that “he who gathers money little by little makes it grow” (Prov.13:11) Something about that principal makes sense to me. Maybe we value things more when we work for them. Maybe we view God differently when He aids us in helping ourselves, rather than pouring blessings in our lap. Not sure exactly, but I think I’m about to find out!