Do you know how you can understand something even if on some level you know you really don’t understand it? Then one day something happens and suddenly you get it. You honestly understand it. That just happened to me a few moments ago.
Anyone following my blog knows about the circumstances regarding my neighbors. In a previous post I wrote, My Outer Limit, I talked about how God had enabled me to keep enduring their treatment until I had gone past my limits of what the old me would take from another person. For those who haven’t read that post, I talked about how we all have a limit, a line drawn in the sand that we won’t let someone go beyond. Phrases like, “If you ever . . . ” or “I’ve reached my limit with . . .” or “I’ve had all I can stand and I can’t stand any more!!” come to mind.
Since I wrote that post nothing has changed with the neighbors because they will not change. It doesn’t matter to me because that’s between them and God. What matters is how I’ve changed. So as they went about their normal harassment all day and all night, some days I’d start to say, “God, I’ve about reached my limit with them.” I’d stop myself before I got past calling on God’s name. I realized I had gone past my limits and was still in my outer limits. It is in this area that I find I have no limits because I’ve never been here before. This is brand-new territory for me. There are no lines drawn in the sand. It would be equivalent to saying there is an end to infinity. It’s an oxymoron.
For reasons I cannot comprehend, the weekends have always been the worst. More evil machinations abound. I’ve done the best I know how to change my part of it by asking God to enable me to live on the weekends the way I do during the weekdays.
In the past, partly because of a week’s worth of constant interrupted sleep each night and mostly because I didn’t want to have to face what they put me through on the weekends, I’d stay up as late as possible on Friday nights so I could spend as much time in bed on Saturday. This action on my part would mean I’d be up all night Saturday and sometimes all day on Sunday, too. I’d be too wired, too nervous, too anxious to be able to relax enough so my meds would work and I could go to bed and sleep as much as possible.
For a long time I wouldn’t admit to myself that I was hiding out in my bed. I finally did admit it after I began basically sticking to my normal schedule on Saturdays. Sundays I still spend a lot of time in bed. “One day at a time” applies here — first Saturdays are conquered and then Sundays!! :)
This past weekend was the worst it’s been in a long time. I have never felt such hatred directed toward me. It was as if I could feel it trying to enter into my home like venom trying to poison me. I was sick Sunday, Monday and most of yesterday. I was not physically ill nor was it the physical illness that often, for me, comes hand-in-hand with the mental/emotional illnesses I have. This was different. As my best sister said to me on the phone yesterday, “You were poisoned.”
I slept and rested last night. Truly slept and truly rested. It was wonderful!! It was magnificent!! It was a gift from God that I asked for in a way I don’t believe I’ve asked before. When God comes through, He really comes through. Jesus does not do things halfway.
The evil schemes of the enemy of our souls and of my neighbors was fierce today. One neighbor gets so upset when she can’t awaken me. Please remember these are people who have banged on my bedroom wall and screamed at me through the bedroom wall when I’ve been wide awake in the living room reading a book, when I’ve been in bed reading a book, when I’ve been in other rooms doing things one has to do and when I’ve been in bed talking to God before going to sleep. Apparently my very existence angers these people. It’s sad on so many levels. One sad level is the fact that they have never taken the time to get to know me. I’ve tried by being kind to them and by giving them opportunities to know me. Needless to say, it has not worked. They have accepted my gifts, my kindness and my friendliness but they have not accepted me.
Another thing the neighbor(s) do is whenever I shut and lock my front doors for the night, they really pour it on. Darkness and evil have always gone hand-in-hand. Since they are bullies, they are really cowards underneath. Cowardly people who are evil perform their evil actions when they feel protected by the cover of darkness.
This evening before I shut and locked my front doors, one of the neighbors began doing what she usually saves for after sunset. The ones she eggs on joined her. Bullies need to have others on their side because they are truly afraid underneath and need the support of others in order to do their bullying.
I couldn’t help but chuckle because it is so ridiculous!! When it didn’t end after a few hours I knew I had to talk with God. I quoted Scripture about Who He is and who I am in Him. I started talking to my God in my living room and continued the conversation as I walked into another room and kept talking to Him as I was doing what I needed to do.
As I continued talking — whispering actually, so I couldn’t be overheard by the neighbors since the walls are so thin — it dawned on me. I finally got it by the time I sat back down in my chair in the living room. By talking — or whispering — my thought processes as they progressed I found the Truth.
This is what life is!! This is what each day of our life is all about!!
I know this. I know the Scriptures where Jesus said, “In this world you will have troubles; but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” I know the Scripture where Jesus said, “If they treat the Master this way, how much worse will they treat the servant?” I’ve had to memorize Scripture as a child, both in the denomination I was born into and at home as commanded by my dad.
Yet it took eight out of the ten going on eleven years I’ve lived here to be forced to endure, to learn how to persevere, to stay and obey God instead of saying, “To heck with this!! I’m outa here!!” Eight years of being “rubbed the wrong way” by these sandpaper people whom God put in my life for the purpose of teaching me, growing me up and rubbing off all the rough spots on this vessel of clay which He created.
Eight years of questions, eight years of doubt, eight years of complete faith, eight years of total trust. Eight years of depression, anger, fear, PTSD, anxiety, nervousness, tension like you wouldn’t believe, upset stomachs, upset digestive system, upset nervous system, holding my breath the way I learned to do when I was a child in a dangerous environment, walking on eggshells the way I learned to do when I was a child in a dangerous environment.
Eight years of fighting God, eight years of yielding my will to His. Eight years to get to the place of acceptance, eight years of reaching my outer limits and fifty-seven years to learn what Paul said is reality. Paul said, “I have learned to be content in all situations.”
I’m not comparing myself to Paul whatsoever!! He was an unbelievable man of God!! What he endured was far worse than what I’ve endured, but his letters, his teachings, his life before He met Jesus on the road to Damascus and after He met Jesus is a shining example of what each of us could have.
I’m not sure if I’d qualify what I finally realized as “contentment.” I think I’d qualify it as a deeper acceptance. With that deeper acceptance came the realization that everything is fine. Everything is good. It doesn’t matter who does what or if they don’t do what. It doesn’t matter who says what or if they say what. It doesn’t matter who thinks what or if they don’t think what. It doesn’t even matter what my best sister thinks, says, does or doesn’t think, say or do.
Nothing matters except Jesus and me. Nothing whatsoever.
He has indeed, as it says in the twenty-third Psalm, prepared a table before me in the presence of my enemies. I’ve known this for quite a while. What I now understand is this is what it means to daily take up my cross and follow Jesus. It seems so simple, yet I did not truly understand it until now.
I follow Jesus, my God, no matter what, no matter who, no matter. I pick up my cross daily and choose for that one day to follow Jesus. Then the next day I pick my cross up again and for that one day I choose to follow Jesus. Then the next day . . . and on and on and on until He calls me Home.
For the past eight years my cross has been my neighbors, their attitudes against me, their false accusations, their hatred, their actions, etc.
Since I am choosing each day to follow Jesus, I will continue to follow Him and keep my eyes on Him and keep my thoughts on Him as much as I am able to do so.
My God and I walk this walk together. Nobody else walks with me, but Jesus. Nobody else can walk this walk for me. Storms may come. Storms may go. I may have doubts. I will have temptations. Sometimes I’ll be able to overcome those temptations and sometimes I’ll give in and sin. Yet no matter what and no matter who, I’ll repent, be forgiven, take my cross up again and follow Jesus.
This is life: A one-day-at-a-time walk with God. Again, it’s so simple once you truly realize what that means — what that involves.
The enemies don’t leave. They may change, but there will always be enemies. My circumstances, my friends, my family, my physical/mental/emotion health, my finances, my dwelling, my feelings, my thoughts — all these may change and most of them probably will. Yet still my life is choosing to pick up my cross in whatever form that may be and choosing to follow Jesus daily.
This is life and it’s okay. I’m going to be fine. I AM fine!!
I’m strong. I’m a survivor. I’m a conqueror. I’m one who endures. I’m one who perseveres.
This is my life and I’m beginning to like it.
This is my life and I’m so very thankful to every single person who ever prayed for me, who ever encouraged me, who ever forgave me for sinning against them and for those who still pray for me, still encourage me and still forgive me.
Most especially I am thankful to my God — my Abba, my Jesus, my Holy Spirit — for getting me to this point. It’s been miraculous, desperate, unimaginable, fun, exciting, scary, wild, calm, wonderful, horrible, strange odyssey and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything!!