I have had a wonderful Thanksgiving week. Here is the thing. There have been some very low points, but I pulled through them. I have often heard that if we didn't have winter, we couldn't appreciate the spring. I was consoling an Alabama fan today. (I really don't pull for either team!) I said, "Somebody has to lose." He said, "Yep. I guess you wouldn't appreciate the wins if you never lost." In the same way, having the low moments makes you appreciate the moments when you feel good again. That is why I can say it was a wonderful week.
I realized early in the week that I needed to reconnect with God. I spent a day fasting from food as a way of committing this time to seeking Him. I also fasted from television, the radio, and yes, Facebook. I needed God’s direction in my life more than ever. I had decisions to make about the house. It is time to make serious decisions about where Lily will be going to college. And, sadly, I let go all too quickly of a really great relationship without even praying about it. I just let go out of fear and by the end of the week realized that I had made a mistake. While I was not in the dark place, I felt the weight of these things closing in on me. Emotionally, I felt as if I could not breathe.
I lost my smile. People often tell me that I smile with my eyes. I don’t think my eyes were smiling too much. I needed to get that back, and the sure way to do it was to spend time with God. The Psalmist David understood this. He said, “Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the sparkle in my eyes, or I will die.” Psalm 13:3.
I desperately needed God’s touch in my life and His direction. So I decided to use last week and spend time intentionally seeking God. What does that mean, and how is it different from my normal time with God? Well, I used all of my free time to seek Him. I did spend time with family, friends, and of course, my girls. But otherwise, I spent my time reading my Bible, a couple of books, and praying. We always make the excuse that we are too busy to spend much time doing those things, but it is amazing how much time we really have when we pull out just those things I mentioned.
I have my smile back. It wasn't easy. I commented to someone today that I wish there were a magic pill or a great little twelve-week program that could give us our happiness back when life has hit us so very hard. But there is not. So how did I get my smile back? I asked God for it, and I kept on plugging. There were times this week when I would be overcome with depression, and all I wanted to do was sleep. I have discovered that there are two types of sleep. There is "rest" sleep that you need when you are exhausted. You crash in the afternoon, and you sleep so hard and so soundly that you can hardly pull yourself out and wake up. Then there is "depression" sleep. This sleep is not so sound. You don't ever fall into that deep sleep. It is as if you are in limbo. You can't really go soundly to sleep, but at the same time you feel too tired to get up. I had a couple of those days this week. It is hard to get your smile back when you feel like this. But while I did sleep and rest some, I forced myself to get up. I reminded myself of all the times in the past year that God has reached down and rescued me. I knew that He had done this before, and He would do it again.
Psalm 18:16-19 (New Living Translation)
He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
He drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
but the Lord supported me.
He led me to a place of safety;
He rescued me because He delights in me.
He delights in me. I love that, and that by itself is enough to give me back my smile.
I learned some other things this week that I will be sharing in future blogs. For now, though, I just want to celebrate the smile. I am sure it will get misplaced again. Life is just like that, isn't it? There really is no such thing as "happily ever after" as long as we are on this earth. However, the next time it is lost, I know how to find it. Sometimes the search for it will be long and laborious, but when I find it, the effort is all worthwhile!
|We all found our smiles. Lily even found a gopher smile|