New Hope For The Day

Welcome to New Hope for the Day : My Personal Devotional

In the Indian language there is a greeting, 'Namante", which means "I honor the holy one who lives with in you." May you feel welcomed and honored as I share my strengths and weaknesses from my days which turn into years. I share from my heart, my spirit with HIS wisdom; never acknowledging that I have arrived, but always pressing towards the mark to be more like HIM.

If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all, they are meant to make you useful in His hands."
Oswald Chambers

Please feel free to grab that cup of joe, or in my case a cup of hot chocolate, turn on some beautiful music, pull up a warm blanket, and let us together live life.

Thank you for "tuning in". I hope your day is wonderful and may HE bring you new hope for this day.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mysterious Journey to a Path Called "Friendships"

because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down, his friend can help him up.”
Ecclesiasted 4:9-10

This past year I recognized and submitted to the one passion that has been lit within me that I would have never thought would be a passion. It is such a desire of my heart. Yet! It is the one thing I know absolutely nothing about!

I started to share this past year some of the beginnings of this journey, but it was so painful, fresh and new that I wasn't quite sure where to go with it and I've actually just had to let it incubate. So, I think its had enough of an incubation period that I'm ready to start exploring it again with you.

This journey will push me to the edge of being more vulnerable with you - my peeps - than I have ever before. I think this may have been why I needed to incubate on it some more.  This is a journey of deep inner healing for me. It will take us to my past, my present and my future. It will take us to some deep hurts and wounding to some great joys and friendships. You ready to go?  . . .  One of us has to be . . . because I'm still not quite sure . . . be patient with me and extend to me mercy . . . and in the end it will let us both know if we can be friends.

Let's go back 20-38 years ago. I am in my teens, 20's and 30's and probably even my early 40's. I did not have any intimate friends. In my teen years my only friend was a boy, his name was John. He was my first love. He was my world (other than my horse) for five years and if it had not been for my parents' intervention there is no telling where I would be today. That relationship had a strong hold for much of my adult life. After John, I had another serious relationship with Rusty.  I was willing to marry him and make him my world, but he wasn't ready. Then I left home and moved to Tulsa.

Those teen years were brutal in the area of friendships. I always felt like an outsider. I had a boyfriend and that was like the immediate barrier that came up. I was like taboo. It's like jealousy kicks in real quick and the gossip begins to spread like wild fire. It doesn't help when your boyfriend is also probably the instigator of most of it (no proof, just gut) and this causes more barriers. I became a Christian and then this became another road block. So not only was this another different drum beat but it was also causing huge issues with my boyfriend. I was being forced to choose and it wasn't easy.

So my teen years, I felt like an outsider. I did march to the beat of a different drummer - I loved fashion and would try new ideas out of the "Seventeen" teen fashion magazine of that era - I was laughed at for trying those ideas. Marching to the beat of a different drummer, as Lisa Whelchel says, "has the same effect on 'mean girls' as the scent of blood has on sharks." I remember one afternoon when school ended, I was shark bate. I was beat up by one of the "mean girls".  All four entry ways of Urey Middle School had a girl waiting for me and I got the crap beat out of me. I don't recall what the original verbals were about, but I do remember what I said to her that sent her over the edge. I told her to go to Hell. She was a Mexican hot pepper for sure then. I would like to add before I continue, that this same hot pepper who beat the crap out of me contacted me about five years ago. She found me in Shamrock, TX and she called to say she had accepted Jesus and she was sorry for what she had done to me. I must say at first, I was a little wary, but we have become fairly good Facebook friends and she is doing a wonderful work as a Christian back in our home town.

In my 20's to early 40's my focus was on my husband and family. Those early years were rocky that I won't get into detail now for family is an entirely different dynamic. I want to focus on girlfriend relationships. Sadly, because of the baggage I carried from my teen years and not having girlfriends I had no idea how to have a girlfriend relationship and to be honest they were so caddy from my observation that I didn't want any part of women. I didn't need friends and that was what the "aire" about me. Yet, there were seasons and that inner desire for friendships would surface. Then some one would do something stupid and I would shove it back down again. So in my 20's and 30's I didn't show emotion or weakness. I didn't need anyone! So with this behavior how could I let anyone in or why would anyone want to be vulnerable to me. Yet on some levels because of my super-duper-power Christian inner strength that I touted I would attract a few, but then it only left them feeling like a  struggling - wannabe. Had I only known.

There were times, I would bring down the wall a few bricks at a time, but I was always quick to rebuild that wall whenever I began to feel too vulnerable, uncomfortable or was wounded. The fact is hurt people, hurt people.

Now if I could bring us to the present. We will return to my past again another day, but lets look at the present for now. . .

Navigating the world of close friendships in my late 40's is awkward, to say the least. I am learning how to connect at an intimate level. Why it has been difficult for me to allow friends to get close to me. I'm learning how to identify safe people and how to implement boundaries. I am at the beginning of a messy, mysterious journey to a path called, "Friendships". I am currently ready to concentrate on creating a superstructure of supportive friends. I have come to the understanding that I need friends!

Shamrock, TX was so good to me in so many, many ways. It was the hardest place I have ever been in my life, but is was the place where I learned and was fulfilled the most. I am going to quote from Lisa Whelchels' book, Friendship For Grown Ups which describes my Shamrock experience the best that I could describe it:

"My heart has been broken, but that was a severe mercy. Without the brokenness. I couldn't have known my need. Without realizing my need, I wouldn't have risked reaching out to others. Without entering into relationship with others, I would have missed authentic connection. With the vulnerability that comes with honest connection, I learned the importance of identifying safe people. Finding safe people cushioned me with love and courage to face the conflict for things that matter rather than choosing peace at any price. Learning conflict resolution skills made way for intimacy, and intimate friendship created and atmosphere of grace.

Grace, of course, ushered in self-acceptance. Embracing myself helped me believe and receive God's love. Resting in His delight changed me forever."

This was my Shamrock experience and I will be forever grateful to those who were the biters and the lovers. With tears, I say "Thank you Lord!"

This experience is the reward that has brought nothing less than the possibility of intimacy with God, myself and others. In my opinion, this is the closest thing to Heaven on Earth. So each time I am bitten and each time I am loved. I will remember my past and think of my present to know where my future lies and this give me new hope for each day in knowing that I need friends.

“I went out to find a friend,
But could not find one there.
I went out to be a friend,
And friends were everywhere!”

Prayer Time: Take a minute and remember that Jesus is our most perfect friend. Open your heart to Him, as He is sitting there with you right now. Tell Him where you are in your heart and what your longing for.

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