This Too Will Pass…Seasonal Pain

“Life is like marriage; it’s up and it’s down,” Grandma used to say moving her hand up and down in the air like an elevator on the blitz.

I often thought of her witticism in my twenties because it meant good times and bad times come to all, single or married, even as I longed for marriage to fulfill my life.

Before I had long-lasting relationships beyond the first few months of infatuation, it offered a wise perspective from a woman married many years.  It said unhappiness in a marriage (not talking about abuse of course) is not necessarily a problem with the marriage:  finances, health, purpose, relationships, focus, unfortunate circumstances as well as unforeseen blessings blow in and out of season for each of us. It meant we can’t blame someone else if we are unfulfilled or judge they are not contributing to our lives in some way if life is spiraling and stale.

A friend complained her fruit trees produce tons of apples last year and a lot less this year. We may feel we are stagnating in certain situations and want change now, married or single, when it could be better if we allow God to work with our attitude. Focus on what we have rather than what we don’t even as the seasons will surely change and all things will pass.

When I turned 39—the worst year of my single life because the Need-to-start-a-family-by- 40-Pressure is volcanic—I vividly recalled a conversation with a married friend.

I was single and in pain—love-stuck in an orbiting relationship. She was married and in pain, her husband out of work again, trapped in the mire of financial loss and unsettled emotions pervading their home life again.

“I can’t remember what it is like to live a day, a life, without pain,” she lamented.

“I can’t either,” my voice lilted. “I had a few moments today, at lunch and when I was shopping. Otherwise I’m always aware of the ache.”

Five years later we exchanged another similar conversation—that struck a chord in my memory.

“I’m doing good” She stated heartily. “I’m not in pain anymore,” she mused. “Can’t remember the last day I felt it!”

“Me too!” I rejoined. “Isn’t that amazing how God brought us through that terrible time a few years ago…when we were engulfed in it?”

I  will never forget those two brief conversations with the same friend because it echoes the lives of all of us…at some point and for different reasons. We all go through seasons of pain that God acknowledges in Revelations. It is not just an emotional week or brief encounter with sorrow. In Greek it means anguish. It is the ache of a broken life, an altered dream, an adjustment to a new normal or the hangover of a crisis. It feels like a prison sentence. And it will pass. It is important to know this when it feels like it will never end.

A single friend who married at fifty said she had the aching longing every single day of her forties until she married at fifty. A man who grieved the early loss of his wife bore it for five years after her death.

God separates this deep pain from more temporary sorrows and sadness in Revelations describing heaven, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or sorrow (mourning in Greek) or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away.” Rev 21:4

Isn’t it comforting to know God separates sorrow from pain? He created us and He understands our emotional needs.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed (wasting away), for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”                                                           Lamentations 3:24

 

Legal Papers and Panic-a poem: Legal Nightmare

Last week my friend lamented, "I couldn't go out with friends tonite. I have to work on the paperwork for next week. I"m so sick of this. There are papers all over the living room and my other room…." 

"Don't you think some of us must know the trials of misty weather if we are to be enabled to understand when others are in the midst?" Amy Carmichael quoted. 

My friend prepared for court all over again, at her ex's false accusations. Glad to report her case went well–not a surprise considering the prayers she invoked from many and the credibility of her accuser. God was and is with her. I've never dealt with divorce paperwork, but am quite familiar with the drowning feeling and overwhelming panic under a pile of legal paperwork. ( having represented myself in a case a few years ago).  So I revisited an old poem I wrote one weary yesternight and read it to her over the phone. Now, I share it with you:

The Legal Battle

 Sometimes it seems too much to bear,

The fight that drags, that taps my veins,

Draining me of life again;

Yet demands my vigilance-

Dictates I scribe with utmost care

And diligence, the pain I wear.

 

The future is at stake again,

So I ne’re can lay down my pen.

It invades my time, tonite I’d sleep,

But thoughts and arguments are deep

Within my mind; I cannot stay confined to bed

So here I am again, instead.

Writing, writing for my life,

Fingers running, skipping keys,

Helping find some place of ease,

Away from utter helplessness,

From isolation, loneliness.

They run, they skip, they pace with thought,

And slowly I feel less distraught.

 

The night wears, on the battle lulls,

I’m tired now, my mind has dulled.

I must retire, I must return,

I know the day is coming soon;

So now I’ll head back to my room.

Where doggies sleep,

I now retreat.

Losing my Smile, this fight with Denial            

                                            Dee Aspin

Don’t Blame God in the Custody Battle

Today I listened as Today Show's host interviewed the Married Man accused of living a Double Life give his side of the story. His first wife gave her side and announcement a couple days ago on National Television. She claimed to discover he lived a double life as she perused Facebook.  After listening to him and his attorney it doesn't sound like that but who knows?  I just know the kids will suffer as he begins pulling for 100% custody and they become targets for the greedy paparazzi. Even in our average world the emotional impact to kids is great. So I decided to reprint a post of a friend's perspective dealing with a difficult child custody battle.

 

   Children always suffer caught in the middle of a giant tug o war ; a battle of the braun. But, too many nice single-again parents have ex-spouses—(ex-may be either gender although this is a female friend)—who vilify themselves acting like nazi’s trying to destroy my friend’s today’s and rob her tomorrow's by using the kids and legal system as ammunition. They are out to demolish.

 

    “How do you deal with it?” I asked a tired Christian friend, a seasoned warrior yesterday.

 

    “It helps me to remember, it’s a spiritual battle. It’s really not about me and him . It’s about him and God. The enemy is using him to get to me. When I can separate that truth … I do better dealing with my ex. I developed a spiritual perspective that helps me after watching the movie Chronicles of Narnia, which took place during World War 2.

 

    "At the time, droves of planes bombed England in waves. People ran to the bunkers to stay safe. When they came out of the bunkers and the streets were quiet they didn’t know when the next bomb would come crashing down. The bunker for me, is staying in the wings of Jesus. I keep my family, my kids and husband in the bunker-safe when I’m battling my ex. It’s really difficult. But I have to do it.

 

   "The bomb might be going to court, dealing with an attorney, money issues, fears real or irrational. After the bomb drops, mentally and emotionally I run straight into the wings of Jesus—my safe bunker. I stay in the peaceful place as long as I can and make it my sanctuary. When things seem to calm down I cautiously head out on the streets again, aware even if it seems peaceful it is a temporary interlude in the war.

 

"I don’t get peace when I’m roaming in the war zone. I have to keep on my toes and be ready to escape the bombs and fight the battle, even when I’m tired. It’s not about choice. I have to be strong for my kids. But then I can go back to the bunkers again and find safety with the Lord. He fills me up and encourages me. It’s important for me to remember it’s an ongoing battle. I expect it now."

 

Sometimes people on the streets, or in place for our legal processes to help us, can seem to be a sabatoeur, as in the case of my friend who had an antagonistic, partial “Christian” mediator who worked against her.

 

“Sometimes evil people are making decisions that affect us,” my warrior friend explained. “We feel vulnerable. They seem pure because they have authority but they’re humans—so we can be treated unfairly by the legal system. But all these safety systems set up by man, legal or medical—they are based on earth and subject to carnal corruption.

 

The important thing, if we are victimized, is that we don’t blame God. That we realize God loves us. He is for us. He feels our pain and He is walking through it with us. People who “stand for us” on earth can make mistakes. They can have alterior motives too."

 

Have mercy on me O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.  Psalm 57:10