The Last Frontier

18 Jan

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and ArtistRecently, I turned my life over to God in a way I’d never done before. Since I became a Christian in 1969 I have needed to “minister.” I would beg God to help me want to “make cold calls,” as the salesmen call them, but it never did feel natural. Oh, I visited homes of my Sunday School class and made calls, and I began to counsel over the phone so much I thought that was all my life was good for. I had anxiety attacks and cringed when I heard the phone ring because sometimes the caller would keep me for three hours, or more, telling me her problems. I could name names, but of course I won’t. Here are only a couple of examples: an older woman that I discovered later was a heavy drinker who loved to talk about her problems, but who never sought a solution of any kind, as far as I know. Another was a young mother whose husband used her for a punching bag. Nothing ever got solved there either, but being on the phone was my life after laundry, cooking, and dishes, so I persevered.

When I found an escape route for the young women and her two boys, she refused to leave her husband. I was a novice at all this, but I began to wonder if it was truly my calling. I began to see that it was what social work, counselors, ministers were trained for. I read, When Helping You is Hurting Me, by Rene Berry, and a book about setting boundaries. I studied the Bible in a deeper way.

During all this time, I had at least one friend that really cared and was praying for me. I had two children and a husband to care for, I wasn’t a refugee or in the middle of a war, it was just that, I wasn’t tapping into my trued nature, which I thought was garbage, anyway.

At last a doctor told me I was carrying too much stress and that I was going to have to stop taking on people’s problems. I eased out, and slowly got to a place where I had more time to be myself. I just had to find out who that was as far as God was concerned.

I don’t regret all that I learned about human nature in those years. I’m super-grateful for the people who did love me and whom I loved. It was refreshing when we could counsel together and it built my confidence.

One of those friends invited me or I invited her to an art class we saw advertised in the newspaper. I was in love right away and went on to another twenty-years of art classes. I met some cool people too and am still friends them.

I wrote three novels and went to a writing group facilitated by a brilliant woman who had attended Smith. Love it all. There still was, however, that small well of sadness I felt sometimes as if it were a permanent part of my nature. If I got sad, I told myself over and over that the only fix was to volunteer somewhere. That’s what everybody said, and I believed it. Finally, I told God I would let him decide what I would do with my times. He could bring whatever or whoever he wanted into my life. I would wait on Him. For me that took nerve.

Palm Tress

 

He did lead however. I would wait and he would send a person or an opportunity my way. I learned I was valuable to Him no matter what. I also learned that I was serving Him out of love for Him and for His creations, not out of fear or the need for reward.

Now I paint, I journal, I go on walks with friends, I shop sometimes at thrift stores. I have time, plenty of time to do whatever comes my way. There are trials of course, but I feel I am learning to rely on God more and more. It is good.

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