Lose/lose Situations

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you JUST KNOW that there isn’t a good way out? Like, you will make it through but every choice will hurt you in some way?

I am in a situation right now that is just going to suck no matter what happens. I have someone in my life that is slowly bleeding me.

It was subtle at first. I didn’t even notice, I am such a people pleaser that doing for them was not unusual or a red flag of any kind. Except that the more I gave the more they took. Human nature to take the path of least resistance, it doesn’t make us bad people because I believe it is just how humans are wired. So, hurtful but not surprising that it was never enough for this person.

Fast forward to today. I am doing WAY too much for this person. Not only that, it is just expected now, not even a question. And more. Not expected more, but “one more favor” more. My life and plans are just not consequential to the asking or the doing. And I am done…with everything.

Here is where the lose/lose comes in. It is already happening, I am feeling guilty about wanting to have my own life back. I am guilty for wanting this all to end. I feel like I didn’t do enough, I could have done more. None of that is true. In the long run putting my foot down will help everyone. It doesn’t make it any less stressful, though.

If I DON’T put my foot down, it will just get worse and I won’t be able to live with myself. It will cost me mentally, it will cost me in other relationships, it will probably cost me physically and in my ability to do my job effectively. When making a pros and cons list, there really isn’t a choice at all!

My life is on track finally and I have to fight to keep it like that. Nothing worth having is easy, right? Even though I haven’t physically been to church because of COVID-19, God has my back and I feel his presence. I know that no matter what happens He will get me through it.

So…I pick door number one…the lesser of two evils! Look forward to a blog post (or 5!) as this plays out. It is going to be bad 😦

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

Is it really black or white?!

I am literally sitting at the beach right now and I don’t want to leave! The air is cool and the ocean sounds and smells are surrounding me like a warm hug as I sit on the sand.

I have been thinking about my life and my relationships this morning. I have been talking to this guy and we are making plans to meet soon (socially distanced, of course). There is my former crush that I am definitely not over even though I am forcing myself to move on. And then my biggest relationship, with Jesus. I have been ignoring Him, too; it is almost like I don’t want to disappoint Him because I am looking for something.

But is Jesus ever really disappointed in me? All my Christian friends would tell me that God loves all his children and nothing can turn Him away. I am not 100% sure I buy all that, though. And it is almost like I am a willful child who is doing stuff that I KNOW will push the limits of His love for me. I mean, as I mentioned before I am not interested in remarriage. It has ended badly for me twice, first time shame on you and second time shame on me, right?! I am absolutely looking for a man to share my blessings with, though.

Having God in my life keeps me in check so I don’t put the cart before the horse physically so I guess I am not completely off the deep end with my search. Every text or phone conversation feels like I am sinning, though. My black or white mentality is big and strong right now!!

I suppose the bottom line is this…having conversations with someone I want to maybe spend more time with is not wrong and if I get to the point that I want it to go farther I will have to work through that THEN. All this talk about finding what makes me truly happy means nothing at all without Jesus in my ❤

Hiding my Fear behind a Mask

Do you “believe” in masks? I am not sure actually. What I DO believe in is not dying LOL!

I am the Shelter Manager at an animal shelter and we have been closed since the middle of March. Next week, however, we will open back up. For appointments only, but we will actually be there for the people that inevitably pop in. I have installed a hand sanitizer right inside the door and I will have a basket of masks for those people who “forget” to wear one. I am NOT convinced they work but I would rather be safe than sorry! Today I have someone coming in to relinquish cat. Although I want to be a helpful member of my community, I have a sick feeling about meeting her. Not her necessarily, just strangers in general actually! It turns out that wishing for things to start moving forward was a nice little dream but I am pretty terrified of that happening. I know that if I am supposed to catch the COVID-19 virus, God has already written that. I know that He has plans and I am on a need to know basis with them. Does the fact that I am afraid anyway mean I don’t have faith?

I guess not doing something because I am afraid and I don’t trust that it will work out; and doing it EVEN THOUGH I am afraid because I know God has got me is the definition of faith for me. I am pretty sure if God didn’t want us to feel fear he wouldn’t have put that emotion in our makeup. Except when the Disciples were afraid during the storm on the sea , Jesus kind of chastised them for being afraid.  “Why are you so afraid? Don’t you have any faith at all yet?” – Mark 4:35-40. So which is it? Can someone explain this to me?!

Being grateful even when it isn’t obvious!

It has been a while since I talked about my 21 Days to a grateful heart, sorry I didn’t finish! Things have been so busy and insane between the new job and the state lockdown. No excuses, though. I was on day 18…so without further adieu–

Day 18 focuses on thanking God for the people in my life. Not just the normal people like your family and friends, but thanking for the people who serve my coffee at Dunkin Donuts and the people who bag my groceries at Stop and Shop or deliver my mail. How about the people who do stuff behind the scenes? Like the people who keep my electricity on so I can see at night and be warm when it is cold. Or the obnoxious people at Comcast who make me so furious and still keep my internet running smoothly. Do YOU thank God for them?

The reflect on day 18 is to take a look at the people around me, the ones who interact with me on a regular basis and ask myself if I exhibit gratitude to them. Am I friendly? My gut feeling is that I am. I love talking to people and I love especially when I feel like they truly love their job and it shows. But am I grateful? I have done my best to thank God in my prayers for all the people around me, even the ones who have wronged me because I know there is a reason for their presence in my life. The respond section tells me to make a list and write one specific thing about them I am grateful for and so I will do that. And not just saying thank you for keeping my electricity on because that is their job and not them!

Sorry this is a lame post but it is one that needs to be said. Who are you grateful for in your everyday life?

What kind of prayers are you afraid to pray?

I follow this woman om Instagram who goes to my church actually but she is a published Christian author. Today she posed the question: what kind of prayers are you afraid to pray? (She reposted the question from another Instagram, @thebiblerecap.)

After rolling it around in my mind for a little while I came up with this. I am afraid to pray for what I want for fear that I will be disappointed. When my Beloved was getting treatments for his cancer, I prayed that he would get better. I knew it was a long shot but at the very least the poison he put in his body should be working, right? I prayed every day that his tumors would shrink and we would have more time. When his first scan showed that his tumor had not shrunk, his Doctors were overjoyed. His agressive cancer had slowed down a bit and the tumors had maintained their size. I guess I should have been rejoicing with them but I was too busy thinking how stupid I was for believing that God was going to heal him. From that point on, I always add “or how ever your will needs this to be” or something along those lines so when my way is not His way, I am not flattened like a dried up worm on the sidewalk!

We are going through a crazy, unbelievable time right now and my prayers focus around the people in my life. I pray that if they get sick they will recover. I haven’t thrown in my “if that’s what you want” clause at the end for some reason, maybe because I am not praying for the disease to go away completely or for it to spare my loved ones?

I need to figure out how to move past this hurt and love my God with my whole heart–NOT if that is what his will desires. Of course he desires for me to love Him completely and I am holding back just a little. The thing is, I am not sure how to build that trust back up. Guess I have a little more thinking and praying to do!

 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37

Moving on up!

When you write a story, do you name it and then write about the name you chose? Or do you write a story and then come up with a name that “goes with it?” I realized today that I typically make a name, write a story, and then pick a brand new name that matches better. I like to be difficult hahaha!

I am not sure what to write and I don’t want to just make up a filler story so this one will be short and sweet. Been spending a little more time with my friend from church and I am enjoying his company. I am enjoying that fact that we are friends and we are getting to know each other without any pressure. I am a little more relaxed because he goes to my church and we pray before meals and stuff so he is probably not going to try and move into another stage of the relationship until we are both ready. It is pretty great!

He (my friend) and I talked today about forgiveness and how it is a daily prayer to forgive someone who has wronged you. I mentioned how it took probably 10 years to ask God to allow me to forgive my ex-husband for the bad marriage but there are very few things I need to pray to have God remove these days.

So my question to you is this–is there someone or something in your life that is just so huge that you need to ask God daily (or more!) to help you give it to him and not take it back at the end of the day so you can stress and worry about it again? I think I could give Him something every day to stop stressing about and just have faith that it will work out in His timing. But as a whole, I am really pretty good at not trying to solve these problems on my own. Another tool God has given me for my toolbox!

Proverbs 3:5-6   Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

I don’t deserve this…or do I?

I have taken a new position at work. I was actually pretty insecure and nervous about it. Although it is what I really want to do, it is SCARY since I am officially in charge of the cat rooms now. I mean, the Director knew I can handle it. She knew it would be okay even if I didn’t…she is so smart that way!

Have I mentioned how much I thank God for my job? I applied for the job and had the gall to tell the person I was applying to that I could not work the hours they had posted. I must be honest, I was not actually expecting her to offer me the job. The job fell into my lap TOO EASY. I mean, God is not THAT good to me! I prayed for this job and it just appeared for me. Seriously. I had not even applied anywhere yet! So I made it harder for God to make it work for me. And blast it, HE WAS NOT DETERRED!

I gave her alternate hours that would work for me and somehow they worked for her, too. Voila–God wanted it to work for me and it did. I have gotten a few different raises and added jobs here and there since then. Seriously–I keep trying to think of ways that this job is not PERFECT for me but I just can’t do it.

Recently, I lost a big account in my pet sitting company. I was worried about money, although I do try to give it to God when I start to spiral about it! Anyway, The Director offered me another job. (The job I referenced above actually) It came with a big raise that will cover the money I lost. I am working a bunch more, but it is okay because I don’t feel like I am working! And honestly, I KNOW I am the perfect person for this job. Thank you God for that as well!

Anyway, the point of my post is to say that I have tried in every way to say that I will mess up this job but God is not ready for that to happen. Isn’t it funny how when He decides it is right for me it is right?!

My Retractable Key Chain

Happy Thanksgiving! This one is bittersweet for me. Although I miss my Beloved and everything I did today made me think of past years when he was well; it is also gloriously the last holiday I have to share alone for the first time. I will still be alone next year but it will be my new version of normal and not the “Poor Girl Who Lost Her Husband’s” Thanksgiving.

Yesterday marked a year that he has been gone. A day I had been dreading since he passed last year. A year that all I could see ahead of me was depression and sadness. A day marking the end of a year I was pretty sure I was not going to survive. But God has plans for me.

God knew I would survive and thrive during this year of uncomfortable pain. He gave me tools–like the realization that I had been checking the temperature of the room and adjusting myself to make everyone else comfortable. I didn’t even occur to me that someone else should be adjusting the room to meet MY needs.

When I was doubting my purpose he gave me a job that makes me feel empowered and strong. A job that reminded me of why I got into animal care in the first place when I was doubting if it is what I wanted to do. A job where I am surrounded by love and understanding, even when I am having one of my crazy episodes. A job with co-workers that remind me of what it feels like to be worthy and accepted for being me.

When I wanted to walk away from cat sitting, I prayed He would tell me what I should do. He reminded me that I needed to work hard and build up my behavior work before rushing into quitting. I have to be truthful, I tried to act like I didn’t hear Him on that one. I was really hoping He would tell me to go ahead and jump. Everything had been pretty good up until that point, nothing too uncomfortable or life changing. I really wanted to just move in a new direction without knowing what was next but God kept throwing thoughts in my head to make me doubt that move. I finally got it when I heard the Dave Ramsey quote, “Listen, children do what feels good, adults devise a plan and follow it…” OK, God. I devised a plan to keep cat sitting while focusing hard on getting behavior clients.

I have been listening to an audio book and one thing really sounded familiar, like it was a new thought; but one that I heard before. The author said when you are doing nothing because you are afraid, force yourself to do something. The act of doing something small will help remind you that you have the skills needed and help you move forward. I am paraphrasing but that was the jist. My therapist has told me basically the same thing in the past when I didn’t want to go to parties or out. She said to tell yourself you are going for a set amount of time and when the time is up you can decide if you want to continue or go home. Spoiler alert, I almost always end up staying! Once I get there I realize that no one thinks I am stupid, ugly, over-dressed, under-dressed, etc. The act of getting there is all I need to remind myself that none of the stuff Frank is screaming in my head is true. So in other words, this is a tool that God put in my toolbox a long time ago. When I was looking around for the “dropping-my-main-source-of-income-and-hoping-for-the-best” tool, I found that one instead.

I am surrounded by people I love and who love me back, last year this time I really felt like my one true friend was gone. My eyes are open to my world, I am no longer trying to stay in the place where Albert led me. Turns out that the tools God has been given me were keys. I am instead looking forward down the hallway and seeing all the new exciting doors for me to open that only I have the key for.

So even though this Thanksgiving was bittersweet, I am thankful for it. I am in a really good place for the first time in a long time and I wouldn’t be here if my life had stayed the same. Turns out being uncomfortable has an important place in my life!

Nehemiah 8:10 Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Hiding my light under a basket

Hi there! I was not planning on writing today but something happened that is threatening to send me into a spin. Jesus tells a parable about not lighting a lamp to cover it or put it under the bed but put it on a table so it can shine it’s light everywhere. Although not exactly what he meant, I feel like telling my story out loud is like putting that lamp out where it’s light will touch everyone around me. If I don’t talk about the grief or the anxiety when it hits me, it is akin to putting that light under a basket where I will know it is there but it won’t be seen and won’t be able to help anyone see the way.

My cousin sent me a Facebook invite to the annual Thanksgiving family Football game. It brought back memories of all the years previous with my Beloved and how much he looked forward to this tradition. I remembered when he threw a snow ball into the megaphone my Aunt was using to cheer her team (not his team!) during the first game he had participated in and how I was mortified and certain that no one would ever want me to bring him anywhere after that. Of course, everyone loved him and maybe even more because he stood up for his team even when he probably didn’t even know the names of the people he was playing with yet! I remembered how every year when we got the invitation he would say he wasn’t playing this year, he was too sore after last year’s game, blah blah blah. And then we would go and he would play. I remember that he never told me if his team won or lost, just about all the fun things that happened or how different people did stuff on the field. I remembered that last year he was barely walking and the idea of bringing him to this state park with its dirt road and grassy fields was too much to even plan. Even when Al was just getting to know us, he was a part of the family when it came to playing football. After crying on the couch, I responded to her invite with an enthusiastic “Can’t wait!” (Fake it till you make it, right?!) And I can’t wait for real. Even though every part of me wants to spend this holiday alone in my pjs, I don’t think that is what I am meant to do. My sister in law always tells me “Life is for the living, go live!

My Pastor talked about forgiveness in the last sermon and how it is truly for the person who is holding the grudge. I realized while he spoke that I am holding a grudge against Al for leaving me here to go through all this alone. I know it isn’t realistic to be mad at someone for something they couldn’t control, and I am sure if he could have Al would be here. Still, I need to be angry at someone so why not be mad at someone who can’t fight back or defend themselves, right? I wrote Al’s name on a piece of paper and put it at the foot of the cross. Symbolic but also part of my memory now. Whenever I start to feel that anger bubbling up I recall writing his name down and giving it to God to take away the feelings of hurt. Maybe it is simplistic, but that truly helps me to stop and thank God for the experience.

I am trying my hardest to be a light in the darkness for those who will go through this experience. It isn’t always easy (actually, it is almost always NOT easy!) but God gave me the power of a voice while Al was sick and I don’t think it was a tool he wanted me to use then and discard after!

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Nehamiah 8:10

Thanking God for my circumstances

So Day 9 and 10 are kind of intertwined. Day 9 asks me to list all the parts of my day (big and small) and thank God for each part. Day 10 asks me to list the little ways that God is present and helping me throughout my day (my God Smiles!). Since they are both so interlaced, I will do both!

This morning I woke up, texted my friend like I do every day to let her know (and let me know) that we are fine, got dressed, brushed my teeth and hair, and left the house for my morning cat sitting jobs. (thank you God!) It was raining on and off today, but when I left for work there was a small amount of time where it was clear (so I could get into the car without getting completely soaked!) (God Smile!)

I was meeting a customer to get her key and it worked out perfectly that the time I left to take my walk (an hour and a half of alone time with God and my thoughts…Thank you God for clearing my schedule so I can do this walk!) and the time she left to run errands had us both in the center of town at about the same time. I was able to get the key from her without having to meet her somewhere later in the day (I was babysitting my granddaughter so I didn’t actually have time!). After my walk, which I wore a rain coat for in case I got completely rained on and I did not!, I had time to jump in the shower and make myself beautiful before I had to rush out to do evening cat visits.

When I was doing my dinner visits, I was feeling stressed and anxious because I had told my daughter I would be there earlier than I ever had before. I seemed to get stuck behind every slow person in the world (!) and then when I got to the assisted living facility I finish my day in I ran into the daughter of one of the residents whose cat is on my run. My first thought was dang, I am definitely going to be late now. But she told me that she had to catch up with me because she wanted to let me know that I looked really good. She said that my face looks noticeably thinner and I even walk different. Now I have already mentioned that I am vain but it is all an act. I am actually pretty insecure and it was SO GOOD TO HAVE SOMEONE ELSE NOTICE. I am working out like a crazy person lately!

The bottom line is this–today was a pretty typical day in the life of me. There were times when things didn’t go my way (like getting stuck behind the sight-seeing people on Saybrook Road!) but because I am trying to keep an attitude of gratitude, I turned it around. I assume that when things don’t go my way it is just God keeping me where he needs me a little longer. Maybe there was an accident about to happen that I avoided because I was going slower than I would have liked? It is not in my job description to guess what God is doing or thinking. Actually, that is the main thought on Faith! Thanking God for the good and the bad parts of every day should be second nature for people. It is for me now!