Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Lifter Of My Head

Yesterday while I was driving Anders home from his sports class in Burbank we drove by a homeless man lying on the sidewalk. I was going slowly enough that I could really look at him. He was lying in the sun, his hands were swollen and his breathing was fast and shallow. He didn't look right. I turned the corner and decided to call the police and see if they could send out an ambulance. I didn't call 911 but called the station directly. I was put on hold and while I waited I drove around the block to keep an eye on him. When I drove by again I saw that a fire engine had pulled up and he was getting looked over by the firemen. An ambulance was already on the way. I hung up the phone and stopped the car for a minute and watched them check his pulse and then take his blood pressure. I was glad that he was getting help and I was glad that I went back around to check. If I hadn't I would have kept wondering what happened to him. I still do wonder and I hope that he got the help he needed.
I was able to talk to Anders about it and and his first question was "did he take too many drugs?" I told him that I didn't know but that he was getting help now.
I drove through McDonalds to pick up some early dinner because I didn't want to go home yet. That incident threw me for a loop and all of a sudden I was in a cloud of depression and sadness.  I was totally taken aback by these feelings and I started to do some emotional inventory.

I realized that I make a specific effort to try and feel good. I hate feeling sad and depressed and yet I am very emotional by nature. I remember as a child scoffing at others fears and anxieties to try and suppress my own. It was and is easy to get lost in a book or a movie or other forms of entertainment to avoid sadness. It is easy to turn towards food or shopping or fantasy to make myself feel better. All to avoid the harshness and sadness that comes with living on this planet.

Life is not easy. As I look around I know this. My sweet Aunt is suffering through terminal cancer.  I have friends and family who have lost babies. And others who have lost parents. In the last couple of days hurricane Sandy just devastated peoples lives and homes overnight. People are confused, angry, broken hearted and sad. War, deception, power hungry people, lies, pain, fear... This old world groans under the weight of these things.

As a Christian I have struggled through the disillusionment that came when I realized that my religion is not perfect. That my church is not perfect. That the people I have looked up to are not perfect.


There is something that I have come to know deep down in my soul in a way that holds my center together. God is love. He is the perfect one. He is the one who is constant, who doesn't change and doesn't sleep.
I have come to see the pattern throughout history of God loving through all of the choices that people make. Because He gave us the ability to choose. To choose Him or to not choose Him. He loves us so much that he lets us be free. He cares about each sorrow, each step and each tear.

Psalm 56:8 You keep track of my sorrows (wanderings). You have collected my tears in your bottle. You have recored each one in your book. NLT

God is the redeemer of people. He can turn our sorrow in to joy, our hopelessness into hope. I remember the truth that He spoke to my heart back when I was 15 and selfish and lost in the midst of bad choices. He said "I see you, and I LOVE you". It was quiet and kind and true. I knew it was God's voice and it changed my life.

This is where I have to go in my gloom. In my future pain and sadness, in my fear and doubt, in my bad choices and bad behavior. This is also where I have to go in my joys and triumphs. I am not grounded in people, places or ideologies. I am grounded in a love that is above all else. 

That depression? It's gone. I know that I will be sad again. I will be overwhelmed again. I will get the blues, get hurt, have a bad day, lose someone I love, lose my temper, fall short in some way, disappoint and be disappointed. 
I am thankful for that deep truth that has taken hold of my heart and that lifts my face up.

Psalm 3:3 "But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head."


Gypmar said...

Thank you for sharing these thoughts, Gretchen. I'm sure many people (me, for one) will relate to this and be encouraged.

Robin said...

These personal thoughts about life, about your life, and how the Lord is there in the middle of it are so touching to me! I always took great comfort in knowing that God would have His own relationship with my girls, would take care of them, without me having to be in the middle. And He is faithful. Yes... it turns out life is hard, too! Maybe a lot! It's hard to express how blessed I am that you have made the choices, accepted the promptings that have turned your heart toward Him. You and your sisters. Thanks so much for this post.
Love you... Mom

Gretchen said...

Thank you Gypsy, I don't normally blog deep but this was one that had to be processed.
Mom, thank you! Love you too!

Anonymous said...

Gigi. When mom and I were first married we were sobered by the sad state of the world and our having children who would face this fallen world. God gave us comfort with promises that He will be with each generation with the resources we the third and fourth generation to those who love God. There is no greater joy than to see your children walking in the truth! God's faithfulness to us, to you and to your children and their children until Jesus returns is wonderful beyond human words. Your blog brought me great joy. The joy of the Holy Spirit. I pity anyone who rejects our Savior and all He has for them. The consequences are staggering to them, to their children and on and on until a person repents (changes their mind), mourns over their sin and receives God's forgiveness and comfort. May God use all of us to turn many to righteousness! Love you so much! Dad

Katie Truelove said...

This is such a beautifully written and encouraging post, Gretchen:)<3<3