Monday, February 28, 2011

No More Conflict!


I think conflict and I are intermingling lately.  I hate that.

If you and I had a close relationship and we had conflict this would be how I would deal with it.  After a great deal of turmoil and angst I would approach you (hopefully with patience and wisdom) and get everything out on the table.  Then I would do my best to never, ever see you again.  What is that all about?

I have no idea.

Well, you know about the conversation to get it out on the table that I had with my mom a couple of weeks ago.  I am about to have another one with a totally different person.  Here's the thing......

This conflict started a couple of months ago now.  We have had 2 conversations in relation to the tension that we both know exists.  One of the conversations I walked away feeling like I always did when my mom and I would have conflict.  I felt desperate, useless, like a piece of crap, like it was all my fault.  I didn't know why I was reacting that strongly to this person until my husband pointed it out.  Their personalities are similar.  It's no wonder I would feel that way about her.  She reminds me of my mother.

I felt so psycho after I realized that, but you know what, it makes sense.

There are certain things I will see, or hear, or even smell, that will, in that very moment, take me to another time.  Take me almost completely back to another time.  When I hear a song that was popular when I was in college, I will FEEL like I did in college, even for a few seconds.  When I smell beef gravy I think of my grandmother's house and how we used to go there after church every Sunday.  You get the point.

Why would my emotions be any different?

My aunt told me she has been impacted by what is happening between my mother and me - hurt by the distance.  She says life is too short.  That I should basically forgive and forget.

It's hard to explain to her why I'm okay with the distance being there.  I'm okay with it because I think its worth it.  Being face to face with a person who has hurt you deeply and who is unable to admit or apologize for those actions, is simply a way to take you back to when it hurt.  At least it is for me. And if this conflict isn't dealt with in truth, by both parties, I don't think healing can truly happen.

That's not to say I don't think I can ever have a relationship with my mother again. I just don't think we can be best friends. We need to come to some level ground before the distance can start to go away.

My dad and I had close to a year of distance a few years ago.  It sucked.  But at the end of that time we went to a counselor we both respected and just put some things on the table.  I can't tell you  how much better our relationship has been as a result of that.  I don't believe we would be at the point we are without that time of distance.  That's why I think it's worth it.  That's not to say things are all perfect.  Just this weekend he visited us and every time he touched one of the kids I felt like I was going to freak out.  Will that fear ever go away?

Does this make sense to you?  How do you deal with conflict?  Do you allow the distance or try to make it go away?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ede Moment - Real Conversations with God

Confronting Esau (Genesis 32 - from The Message)

Reading Together .........
 1 [a]Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2 When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is the camp of God!” So he named that place Mahanaim.[b]  3 Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4 He instructed them: “This is what you are to say to my lord Esau: ‘Your servant Jacob says, I have been staying with Laban and have remained there till now. 5 I have cattle and donkeys, sheep and goats, male and female servants. Now I am sending this message to my lord, that I may find favor in your eyes.’”
 6 When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.”
 7 In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who were with him into two groups,[c] and the flocks and herds and camels as well. 8 He thought, “If Esau comes and attacks one group,[d] the group[e] that is left may escape.”
 9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, LORD, you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps. 11 Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. 12 But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’”
 13 He spent the night there, and from what he had with him he selected a gift for his brother Esau: 14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16 He put them in the care of his servants, each herd by itself, and said to his servants, “Go ahead of me, and keep some space between the herds.”
 17 He instructed the one in the lead: “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘Who do you belong to, and where are you going, and who owns all these animals in front of you?’ 18 then you are to say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau, and he is coming behind us.’”
 19 He also instructed the second, the third and all the others who followed the herds: “You are to say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. 20 And be sure to say, ‘Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.’” For he thought, “I will pacify him with these gifts I am sending on ahead; later, when I see him, perhaps he will receive me.” 21 So Jacob’s gifts went on ahead of him, but he himself spent the night in the camp.

The Basics......
My very first question when I read this was, what happened with the angels?  According to my NASB Study Bible the very presence of the angels was to reassure Jacob that the Lord was with him.  Unfortunately no further details are provided on what happened in that time.  Wouldn't you love to have more details sometimes?

So Jacob's first tactic in dealing with his fear of what Esau will do to him is to send messengers.  Messengers to tell Esau that Jacob is a servant (expressing humility and courtesy) and where he as been along with what all he has gained.  Why did he tell Esau what all he has gained?  Intimidation perhaps?

Jacob's fear comes alive in a whole new way when he realizes that Esau has 400 other guys with him.  Now, Jacob's fear is completely founded in my opinion.  He fled Esau in the first place because Esau was going to kill him.  Now Esau has 400 other guys with him. Let's see 401 to 1.  I think Jacob is going down.

So Jacob starts getting busy.  Dividing people up, making a plan, figuring, etc.  And then he starts to pray, well, beg God actually, to keep His end of the promise - to not let Esau kill them all off.

How do you deal with your fear of confrontation?

Here's Jacob's plan.

1.  God says to go back home.  Esau is there.  God trumps the fear.  Jacob goes.
2.  Jacob sends someone else to see how Esau is feeling before he confronts him. 
3.  Jacob's fear goes into overdrive with assumptions that Esau is going to kill him when the messengers return.
4.  Jacob starts planning and doing as a result of his fear.
5.  Jacob starts praying - begging God to keep His promise to Jacob.
6.  Jacob starts following through with his action plan.

What is your action plan when you have to confront someone?  Is it what it should be?  What should a godly action plan look like?

I'll share a personal story next time relating to this, but here are some ideas to conclude our time in prayer today.

Ideas for Prayer.......
- Pray that God would make it clear when it is time for confrontation with others to occur.
- Pray for peace and assurance as you prepare for that meeting that God would be with You and that His timing was right.
- Pray for His words, His feelings, His thoughts to be your thoughts.
- Pray for peace and His will to be done as a result of the confrontation.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sometimes You Just Need to Whack a Mole

Whack A Mole Fever There is so much thinking, journalling, reasoning, praying, deciphering, talking, listening when it comes to recovery. Even when it comes to relationships in every day life if you're a thoughtful person.

There are MANY times it gets easy to just get bogged down in it. To feel like its a never ending cycle and like its never going to get better.

I look forward to when I take my kids to Chuck E. Cheese's. I don't think most parents say that because it's also a place that could completely drive you crazy because of the sheer noise and activity within that small space. I would definitely go crazier than I already feel in there if it wasn't for Whack a Mole.

That game completely redeems that place and my frustrations with myself. And let me tell you, I am thankful I have children that are age appropriate to be in there so I can go in with them and play that game. :)

I can't help but think that Jesus would have played Whack a Mole with the children when He was walking around down here.

Maybe He's the one who made it up.

Just something light hearted today to get out of the bogginess.

Here's to Whack A Mole.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Thank You for My Problems

So it turns out I'm a codependent person.

I remember my mom being advised to read the book Codependent No More after she found out about my dad. I saw the book in the bathroom and looked at it suspiciously. I didn't want to know what was in it.

In the last couple of months however, I've read it.  I'm a codependent - and so is everyone else.

I happen to be completely dependent on my mother. I'm in my 30s and I have cared more about what she thinks than anyone, and I mean Anyone, else. It's shameful to admit but very true.

Stepping out and away from her has been difficult because a relationship that was very close - too close - is now practically non-existent. There is minimal communication. I never thought I would be able to survive without my mother.

It was plain and simple idolatry that - a learned behavior. I was taught that I could not make decisions outside of my mother.

After I married my husband I realized that I needed to step away from her but I just never did. I was too afraid.

A friend of mine often says to be thankful for your problems. While that doesn't make much sense on the surface it leads to a truth that I'm trying to hang on to. Our problems mean we have something to be thankful for.

In the case with my mother I am grateful for the conflict with her because I have had to re-work how I think of myself - how I make decisions - and what I depend on others for. It's given me a chance to depend on my husband in a healthy way and look to him instead of my mother when I'm making decisions. It's given me the opportunity to reach out to other friendships and people that I would not have before. It's given me the opportunity to think for myself. But mostly its given me the opportunity to trust in Christ - first. And seek Him - first.

I am grateful for those things.

Can you relate to any of this? Do you need to step away from someone or something that is unhealthy in your life for a time - even just to re-evaluate? Do you need to step up to something that God is calling you to?

If so, take a listen to this song and see if you feel encouraged.