According to my google search, to reel is to "lose one's balance and stagger or lurch violently".
I'm not sure who has been coming around this blog of mine recently; in fact, I've hardly ever known. Few comments are left but the number of visitors go up. It doesn't matter really, but occasionally I do ask myself why I write of the intimate parts of my life for anyone to see. I'm generally more of a private person, so it hardly makes sense that I'd be so open. Still, I have a certain ease here. At times writing helps me to process the things that go on in and around me, other times writing brings me a sense of closure. As for writing publicly, I figure I'm hardly a unique person and the things of my life are probably more common than not. Maybe in my honesty someone out there can relate, probably not in the particulars but possibly in the experience of emotion and, more importantly, in the learning. I think all of my life is really about learning: It's about learning of God, and who I am in Him. That part is the exciting part, the part easiest to share. I hope that my life (and therefore my words here) point onlookers to God. I know it isn't always the case, but it's my desire nonetheless.
So about reeling:
I've lurched violently and I've been off balance. A couple days after I last wrote I was faced with possibly the hardest decision I've had to make in my life. Of course there have been huge and impactful decisions to make before now: Following Jesus in repentance and faith? An irresistible choice! Marrying Jon? Yes, please! Beyond that there have been other big decisions to make, but none have had the same weightiness and permanent ramifications. None were quite so risky. No decision has ever been made under such duress and with so many lingering unknowns. It's one thing to make a life altering decision, it's quite another thing to make a life altering decision (one that could impact generations of our family) and have lifelong regret.
I didn't know which way to go, what to choose. I've never been so conflicted and in utter turmoil in all of my life. Paralyzed.
One afternoon I sat in a hot car for a moment just trying to get away to think without the distraction of people and responsibility. Silently I prayed for clarity and direction, desperately wanting stability of thought and emotion, desperately needing God to guide me in an undeniable way. My mind and heart raced. There was a tap at my window and the parking police said that I'd overstayed my limit and he would right me up if I didn't move immediately. I drove out of his sight and parked illegally, the only option in the area. I called Jon hoping that through prayer and thought he would have a decision made. I'd go with whatever he said, and I would have confidence in whatever decision he made.
But no. He is supportive of me. The decision wasn't a clear moral or ethical one, and since the weight of it ultimately fell on me, the decision was mine to make. Tears that I'd fought so hard could no longer be stopped and time raced and the world spun. It was as if everything I understood was pulled out from under me. What I'd desired for so long was now questionable at best.
The next day was our anniversary, but even though my mother-in-law was visiting and we had the option of going away for a night, the sentiment of the day was heavy and we decided to stay nearby for our evening out. Up to that point Jon and I had not had focused time together, but in the end I think it served to point us in the same direction. Sometimes God leads by giving his children desires, or by redirecting desires, or by removing them entirely. We weren't sure of many things, but we were coming to the same conclusions. It seemed right that in the celebration of our marriage, we would be united and likeminded.
I'm still reeling. I do think we made a good decision, but this experience has caused me to questions many things. I've had questions about how God answers prayer and about my relationship with Him because, yeah, he had seemed silent to me. I've questioned the way I've understood certain Bible passages. I've wondered how to differentiate between feelings and the guiding of the Holy Spirit. I've wondered why God is doing what He is doing, and I know that is not my place.
I have also wondered if I acted like Peter, stepping out of the boat to meet Jesus in the water only to look around at the danger and begin to fear and doubt. It comforts me that Jesus pulled Peter out of the water and lead him back to the boat. Peter later went on to serve the Lord bravely and wholeheartedly. God doesn't allow our weaknesses and doubt to go to waste when He is at work in us.
I've been in my head a lot this month. The days race on around me, and I've had a hard time pulling myself out of deep thought and being present and helpful to those around me. Summer is ending soon, and I commit and recommit to enjoying those around me...
(On a short hike to the beach with my kids last week)
(I had lost interest in taking pictures, so it was good to see things through my lens again. Unfortunately, I forgot to check my white balance and exposure settings.)
(Mud fights for the boys)
"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul."
"Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God."