Thursday, April 13, 2017

194: ...and a sound mind

Fear. It's powerful in relationships. It's no coincidence that when 2 Timothy 1:7 says that "God has not given us a spirit of fear" that the corollary is His giving us "a sound mind." Because when I am fearful about a relationship, I do not have a sound mind. Obsessive. Overanalyzing. Worried. Stressed. Predicting the future. Jumping to conclusions. Reading into things. Seeing doom. Giving up. And all within hours of the last interaction.

There is no buoyant hope. No steadiness. No waiting to see what will happen next if I let it rest a day in God's hands.

If I squint and cock my head, I can vaguely see the writing on the wall, and even though I have no divine interpreter, I can agonizingly surmise it says, "This person has been weighed on the scales and found wanting; this relationship's days are numbered." The former butterflies in my stomach transform into a knot that drags me under. No more information needed. It's the end. I'm going to bed.

Been there, done that, Lord, please, teach me to have a sound mind.

The other day I was sitting across from a little girl who deals with possessiveness when it comes to friendships. And one of her male friends had been particularly chummy with another person lately. Not good. So as we sat there coloring, she told me resignedly, "So, I think this *her name* and *his name* thing is over." After I got over the humor of hearing a little girl refer to herself in the third person, I started talking to her about how friendships go up and down, and, yes, it's hard when we have to wait. She was like, "I know. It's been TWO days." Inwardly chuckling, I replied, "And it feels like FOREVER." But it's not. It's hard to wait. It's really hard. But things will change. (I may have even promised her chocolate if it doesn't . . . I don't always have wisdom when interacting with kids.)

I know firsthand how hard it is to wait and want a guy and try to surrender him to God and then see him get married and want any guy and get one and lose one and spend months recovering from the loss and wait some more. I literally know emotional pain very well, like the back of my hand, like an old blankie actually.

I also know that God has been there with me in every painful season of my life. He has been so close. I also know that the days upon days that sucked me under were seasons. They did not last. Two days is not forever. A painful day or two (or week) where the anxiety over a guy makes me want to keep sleeping and I'm eating two bowls full of chocolate ice cream and yet my stomach still is in knots? It will not always be like that.

But even if the disappointment is more severe, God has been with me through so much emotional turbulence already, and He's continually taking me back to the basics of who He is as my baseline. He is my baseline. THE baseline, apart from me. My life will have highs and lows. But the Rock does not change. Do you know how much having a sound mind is related to clinging to that Rock and knowing He'll get me through even this, because I've seen Him do it in the past over and over? My memorial stones were agonizingly set, but they are there, witnesses of God's faithfulness.

God has also blessed me with people who listen when I'm hovering at irrational highs and dragging through irrational lows. Sometimes they just listen; sometimes they speak steadiness and insight into my crazy, rubberbanding, emotional self.

Fear. It's powerful in relationships. But God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

During a very hard season,
I played/sang this song over and over.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Book Review: Long Time Gone by Mary Connealy

Long Time Gone is the second book of The Cimarron Legacy series. I remember where I was when I read the first book. It was last summer, and I was out in the back yard on our lounge chair. When the book ended, I felt all delicious and so ready to read more about the Bodens and Sadie and Heath.

I have loved everything I have read by Mary Connealy. She always grabs your attention right away and perfectly combines suspense, action, and romance.

So I don't know if it was because I have more recently been reading Regency Era fiction (so different from Western!), or because I was struggling to recapture my first impressions of this book's main character from when he was introduced in last summer's book, or if it was because the author spent chapters upon chapters re-establishing the plot so we wouldn't be confused, but I didn't feel like this book picked up the pace until around chapter 12.

Long Time Gone is the continuation of No Way Up. The characters are trying to figure out the reason behind all the chaos in book one. Which means there is a lot more sitting around talking and trying to piece the puzzle together than Connealy's normal fare.

The romance too, while fun once it started, seemed to go way too fast, like time in each other's presence was implied, but I didn't even realize it had happened.

In the past, I have marveled at how smoothly Connealy writes--flawlessly smooth. This book wasn't like that at all. It felt more haphazard and pieced together. (Example: I didn't like that when it was Angie's time in the spotlight, the point of view was more omniscient than her POV.) The end was the best part (and it was really good!), but then it was over.

I still want to see what happens in the next book--so little happened in this one--but I have to give Long Time Gone 3 out of 5 stars unfortunately.