(Here – Jamie Grace)
I wish I could say that I prayed and shared and suddenly everything was awesome…people who speak fluent Christian-ese like to talk as if that is exactly what happens every time we pray. I really don’t like when people act like that, because it is incredibly naïve. God promises to give us everything we NEED, not everything we want, or even everything we THINK we need. He also doesn’t promise to give it to us here on Earth. All we truly need is salvation, so in reality, God has kept his end of the promise if we eventually die and get to go to heaven. God never promises that life will be easy. He never promises that the answer to all our prayer requests will be yes. He actually tells us that in this world there will be trouble…but people want a vending machine Jesus…and I have to admit that when I hear that theory enough times and I am so desperate for what I really want, it is easy to want so badly to believe it that the fact that God doesn’t deal in plea bargains is forgotten. You can’t buy what you want with good deeds, fasting, prayer, reading the Bible, or any other good thing. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do any of those things if they are what God is calling you to do, but it just means that you can’t expect to get to cash in your “goodness” for what you want.
So with that in mind, the sermon at church today was exactly what I needed to hear. It was about living in God’s love, but not experiencing God’s love. A good reminder that yes, God is good, even if life here on Earth is sometimes so very bad. The speaker explained how trying to be really good makes us either a failure or a jerk. He talked about how sometimes we are dealing with so much brokenness, loneliness, and/or loss that eventually God can only protect us and give us refuge in two ways – either by healing our circumstances or by taking us home. Another way God is showing me his presence – another normalizing influence on my desire sometimes to just go home to heaven where there will be no more pain. And speaking of pain, the speaker also reminded us that God’s love is bigger than whatever anyone has done to us. As someone who has been abused by someone who should have been protecting me, forgiveness has been something I have struggled with. At times I feel like I really do forgive her, but at other times the hurt wells up and cuts off my ability to forgive. God’s love covers me and all the pain I have endured.
I know God is with me. Last year it felt so much like maybe he gave up on helping me through life, that I was ready to believe it. It took a long time to be ready to believe again that God does care about me. He does love me. Yes, it started with maybe it is possible and slowly progressed to maybe he does before I think he does and then yes, I know he cares…but the whole time I was struggling to keep my head above water, God was there helping keep the water from drowning me. God is there and God cares even when life is incredibly difficult. The first resident interview at my current place of employment was Friday and that was hard, but I have to remember that God is with me even when it is hard. I was thankful for in exchange for being one of two pharmacists not getting to attend the interview I got to trade into the first available lunch time even though my position that day is supposed to have to wait. That let me have the breather I definitely needed after being face to face (literally and figuratively) with the resident candidates.
I’ve been listening to the Healing Path by Dan Allender again. Found another quote that I am thinking about “Faith is hope regarding our past. Hope is faith regarding our future.” Faith means I know that despite my painful experiences that God is there working all things together for good. Hope means I believe that one day I will be living in paradise with my eternal daddy. It is a good reminder that although hope is really really hard, if I have faith then I am already succeeding at hope in at least a small way.
Totally unrelated, but I was teased in college about having ADHD. I do not have an ADHD diagnosis. Most of the time I think there is absolutely no way that I have ADHD. I did fine in school. Externally until the past year anyway, I was super organized even if my room was sometimes a disaster zone. Surely if I really had ADHD someone would have noticed way sooner than a group of study buddies halfway through college. But once in a while I wonder if they might be right. I know I have heard statistics that only like 25% of ADHD diagnoses are in females, but it is suspected that ADHD is equally common in males and females and simply less well-recognized in females. Add that to times like when I forgot I was making pancakes only to be reminded by the smell of burning pancake…three times in a row, and I start questioning. I followed a series of links today (don’t even ask where I started…) and ended up on a paged talking about women with ADHD. While I still am not totally convinced that I fall into that category, there were definitely some parallels. Girls with ADHD tend to learn coping mechanisms to hide their differences. They become perfectionists who spend hours taking notes and double triple quadruple check everything. Umm, yep, for a long time I strived (strove?) for perfection, not that I wanted to be perfect, but that the closer to perfect you are the more space you have to screw up later without it causing major problems, so basically, what looked like fear of failure was really preparation to make potential failure less damaging. The article talked about how whereas a boy is disruptive by constantly tapping his foot, the girl is forgotten while she twirls her hair…yep, I definitely am the person whose hair is a fidget device and has to be tight against my head if you want me to remember not to touch it. The article also discussed that male friendships tend to be instantaneous via a shared activity whereas girl friendships require noticing and acting on social cues, which girls with ADHD struggle with. I don’t know exactly where my social struggles come from, but I like the idea that it isn’t all my fault 🙂 . The other thing in the article I connected with is that ADHD often comes at a significant emotional price for females which makes medication less tolerable by exacerbating anxiety-like symptoms…if I am being really honest, that is one of the things that makes me not even want to get formally tested for ADHD. I am terrified of the side effects of the first line medications…
Of course, then there’s this afternoon/evening that makes me wonder if those people were right. Somewhere around 2:30 or 3 I tried to start getting some chicken cooked. If you were wondering, it is a bad idea to put an entire tray of refrigerated chicken breast in the freezer, because not only does it stick together, but it sticks to something that appears to basically be a cross between a pad and a diaper in the bottom of the tray. Once you have successfully separated them once, it is an even worse idea to throw them all back in a plastic bag (wet) in the freezer. Now instead of a row of stuck together pieces of chicken along a diaper, you have one big ball of chicken uniboob. I tried really hard to re-separate it and even tried cooking it just a teeny tiny bit, but those stubborn things were not coming apart, so the only way to cook them was going to be the oven since it was the only place this monstrosity was going to fit. So somewhere between 4 and 5 I put the chicken in the oven at 350ish degrees…I started at 375, but the internet told me quite definitively that chicken cooked at either 350 OR 400, not 375. So anyway, I set a timer and go back to my laptop. Y’know, the oven does the same thing that they say is the reason you should get a dog – it reminds you of what you should be doing. The oven faithfully went off every like 5 or 10 minutes after the timer went off to let me know to go give it some attention, and I was in my own little world ignoring that beeping…and suddenly it was 7:08 and it beeped again and I was like uh oh, I was making chicken. Luckily the fact that there was like 3-4 pounds of meat there meant it didn’t have time to burn, but just get overcooked. And that explains why I was so hungry and snacky and consumed so much candy and still wanted to eat my brain out – chicken was supposed to be the main course for dinner and I hadn’t eaten it yet. Lol, it is times like this that make me claim I am no good at adulting.