Monday, January 7, 2013
The Bitter Cup
Well. At least for me.
The leader of the singles ministry asked me to read a book to see if it was appropriate for our singles group to study. The name of the book was, "How to get a date worth keeping." by Henry Cloud. So I got it and read it and thought it was pretty good. It was basically a secular book with a little bit of christian phrasing thrown in for good measure. Not appropriate for our singles group to study but, I thought, a fairly decent guide to dating.
So I decided to follow the directions in the book. Actually, that is not true. The author spends some time openly mocking the idea of a woman waiting upon the Lord for a husband etc. So I thought, Ok, maybe this guy is right, maybe I'm not putting myself out there. So I followed a couple of his ideas and decided to sign up for an online dating service. Boy, do I have some stories to tell for that experience!
Speaking of which, several of the members of the singles group got together for New Year's eve. We were swapping stories about the hazards of dating and I was regaling them with the story of one of my more disastrous dates. After a really nice evening with the guy on my porch asking me if I wanted to go out with him again and after I had already said yes, the guy asks to kiss me and then proceeds to stick his entire tongue in my mouth and then just leaves it there! I back away in shock and his tongue is still sticking out and he says, "Oh! You left my tongue hanging in the wind!" Gross, I mean really. Just eww! But, for it being a horrendous experience it was a hilarious story and everyone was roaring with laughter.
Then another girl in the group told her funny story about how she had to hide one set of flowers from one guy in the bathtub because someone else had bought her more, and someone other than that had made her fudge. Now. I know we are not supposed to compare ourselves with others, but that story really stuck in my mind. Really Lord? She gets the flowers and I get the guy's tongue in my mouth. Why is that Lord? But I know why it is - She is coy and cute and doesn't get emotionally involved until she knows if she even likes someone - which could take several dates. She knows how to play the game. And frankly, I don't.
I remember a situation when I was growing up that we were all eating dinner at my aunt's house. They were serving lima beans and I am sorry, but lima beans are THE grossest thing out there. So I told my parents that I didn't like lima beans and that I didn't want to eat them. Well, since the clean plate club was a doctrine my parents whole-heartedly subscribed to, I was told I could not leave the table until I had eaten every last one. I know I sat there for at least an hour before I could finally leave the table. I can't remember now if I actually ate them or if I just got in more trouble for not eating them. My little sister, on the other hand, quietly wrapped up her lima beans in her napkin and threw them away. She didn't eat them and she didn't get in trouble for it either. My aunt loves to tell me that story and every time she does she always says, "poor Linda - she just doesn't know how to play the game."
Even though I am much, much better than I ever have been, I still do not know how to play the game. I don't know how to do anything half way and I get emotionally involved to some extent every single time. Even recently I gave someone the link to this blog that I wish I hadn't. That is like giving someone the key to my diary and saying - here read all about my flaws and my heartaches and my character defects. But a part of me can't help myself. I'm too trusting. I have yet to master the ability to guard my heart.
So I decided to close down that online dating account. A part of me always felt that being on that site was unbelief anyway. Unbelief that what the Father had promised me - He was not able to deliver. You would almost think that from this experience it would actually be harder for me to believe after seeing what is out there. But there was a part of me that was afraid that I was going to get an Ishmael for my unbelief and I didn't want that either.
This morning I read something about Gethsemane, and thought maybe this is my Gethsemane. This is the thing that I cry about and struggle with and put before the Lord and beg Him that this cup may pass from me - but not my will but thine be done. This is the dark night that I sometimes don't believe I am going to be able to get through. This is my fear that has come upon me.
The Lord is faithful. What He has promised He IS able to deliver. Even though hope deferred makes the heart sick, I still have hope.
When I was on the plane coming back from Oregon - having had such a wonderful visit with my family - I was really sad to come back to Wyoming. I was thinking - why am I out here so far away from home? But then I am reminded that the Lord has work for me here - even if I don't always understand what it is that I am to do. I still believe that there are reasons for me being here - and for me going through my own private Gethsemane. It was the joy that was set before him that helped Jesus get through. I look forward to the joy that the Lord has for me as well.
Lots of love my friends!