She’s baaaacccck . . . Oh nooo . . . poor Mr. OTN!
Last night when Mr. OTN came home from working another 12-hour day of kicking disease’s hiney and taking names, we sat down to dinner and I launched right into a review of my exciting day:
*I talked to the grass man and we need to put flags on all of the sprinkler heads before they come out to treat and re-seed the grass.
*I talked to the floor man and he will be coming on Tuesday morning to bring sample colors for us to pick from for refinishing the hardwood floors. By the way, we will need to make sure all of our furniture is moved off the hardwoods (never mind that we just moved everything in) before he arrives!
*I talked to a nice man at Home Depot who helped me find the perfect sized sheet metal screws that I needed to finish putting together the new living room end tables.
*And oh yes, my chandelier crystals came in the mail – WOOT! – to dress up my thrifted kitchen chandy.
I ended this one way discourse by telling him that it had been a very good day.
Mr. OTN listened to the best of his ability (too exhausted to comment) and then retired to the den to watch a few minutes of Thursday night football and the news (simultaneously) before retiring to bed.
As I picked up the dinner dishes I mulled over the significance of what had just happened. Laying my work aside I went into the den and asked him, “Can you tell I’m feeling happier? Did you notice that I’m more talkative then I’ve been in weeks (it’s a fact that words tend to bubble out of my mouth when I’m feeling happy)? I think the old Patti is back! Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”
He says it’s a good thing.
FREEDOM FRIDAY – The name of a new devotional, emotional, spiritual and sometimes hysterical series that I will be sharing on occasional Fridays, in addition to my regular Old Things New home decor posts.
In my last Freedom Friday post I spoke about times of Feeling Lonely now that we are far away from the place we once called home. Afterwards, I was so touched by your encouraging comments on this blog, Facebook and via email. Thank you SO much! I was also saddened for those of you who experience feelings of loneliness yourselves (I’ll have more for you at the end of this post).
In that post I also spoke about spending time drawing nearer to God and depending more upon Him to meet my need for friendship. I shared that in my quiet time with Him I felt as if He was saying to me that He wanted me to “know and be known” by Him in a deeper way.
It is getting better indeed as I become more settled into my new home and get to know my way around the community. We’ve made a decision to settle in for a little (or maybe long) stay at a local
cathedral church. Sorry, I couldn’t help that strike-through . . . the churches here are just so BIG! I’m NOT yet feeling led to join any small groups within the church or to get busy volunteering right away (I’m too busy talking to grass men and floor men). I know that could be construed as isolating (a big no-no in Freedom Session) but right now I am enjoying cocooning (something I also spoke about in my last post), drawing nearer to God and spending some very deliberate time seeking His presence.
I’m reading a great book by Dutch Sheets called Pleasure of His Company: A Journey to Intimate Friendship With God. In Chapter 11, The Spoiler, he makes reference to a man by the name of Obed-Edom who (back in Old Testament days) had the privilege of hosting the ark of the covenant (where God’s presence dwelt) in his home (probably on the screened porch), at King David’s request. During that time of living in the midst of God’s presence he and his household were blessed in every way and when, at the end of three months, David decided to move the ark to Jerusalem, Obed-Edom packed up and moved his whole household right along with it! He had become spoiled, or “ruined” for God’s presence.
Tell me, how often do you really stop and think about the fact that His presence is right there with you? Right there . . . wherever you are. That’s awesome!
It is also awesome to know that God desires friendship with us. In fact, that is what He created us for!
So does He want to be a casual acquaintance type of friend? No.
Does He want to be a best friend type of friend? Yes.
For the most part I try to live an authentic life before others but that doesn’t mean baring everything to everybody! I’ve been fortunate enough to have a few very close friends whom I’ve allowed to see deeper into the real me. My girls and I have often become quite vulnerable as we’ve opened our hearts to each other. We’ve entrusted ourselves to one another and in doing so our friendships have grown stronger. This is the kind of relationship that God desires with us . . . but even more so!
In studying about more intimate friendship with God I decided to do a little Obed-Edom challenge to myself. A couple of weeks ago I dedicated myself to daily seeking God for the next three months. This doesn’t mean picking up my Bible, doing a daily Bible reading, journaling out a quick response and going my way. What this means to me is really seeking Him, inviting Him into my space and asking Him to reveal Himself to me. Then I wait . . . and I listen, inclining my ear toward God, leaning in close to hear what He wants to say to me. I’m enjoying God’s presence in a new way right HERE . . . on my own screened porch.
In this special place I close my eyes and wait for Him.
And He is delighted to reveal Himself to me.
Having been very active (translate – BUSY) in Freedom Session for the past four years I realize what a luxury it is to have this time of “cocooning”, with no obligations other than home and family, until the time that we know what God has next for us.
I wonder, will this time change me? Will I, like Obed-Edom, be ruined for God’s presence? I hope so. I hope that when we are ready to emerge from our cocoon, nourished, refreshed, and strengthened, we will be different . . . transformed . . . and more ready than ever to give back to others from the depths of what God has given us.
Now, back to those of you who are still feeling alone and lonely. I hurt for you, I really do, because I still have times of feeling lonely too. But you know what? One of the lessons Freedom Session teaches is that there is no excuse for loneliness and that there is actually a cure! Do you want to know what it is? It is doing something for someone else. Even during this cocoon time, our time off from a very demanding ministry, I’m asking God to make me a light to the community around me. I’m asking Him for words to say to touch the heart of each person I come in contact with . . . including the grass man and the floor man and the hardware store man. I’m asking Him to make my life a blessing to those around me, especially my husband, who works so hard to provide for his family and gives so much of himself to others.
So, I want to encourage you, first of all, to begin actively seeking God’s presence and building a best friend relationship with Him. Maybe you’ll even want to join me in the Obed-Edom challenge and see if it will change the way you feel. Take some time to go deeper with Him. Lean into Him, draw strength from Him and bless Him back with praise and worship. Next if you are lonely stop looking for someone to be YOUR friend and BE a friend to someone else! Start small. Write notes of encouragement to others. Leave comments on people’s Facebook posts or on the blogs you follow (I have received SO much encouragement myself that way). Become a secret giver of little gifts to others. Make eye contact and smile at every person who comes your way (unless you live in NYC – just kidding). You can even ask God if He will give you a word directly from His heart to share with someone who needs encouragement. I promise you that YOU will be the one who benefits most from encouraging others.
As a bonus, from the mouth of Mr. OTN, here is a medical fact for you to ponder: Did you know that smiling releases endorphins that cause you to feel better? So smile . . . smile a LOT! If you are alone smile at yourself in the mirror! You’ll not only begin to feel better but you’ll look a whole lot nicer too!
The Bible says that the reason we love God is because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 The Voice
Father God, thank you that because of Jesus (and certainly not my own righteousness) you have made me worthy of being called your friend. Thank you that you actually desire my friendship and that I can talk to you about anything . . . because you already know everything . . and yet love me anyway. May it not always be about me talking . . . bubbling forth with words of my own . . . but may our friendship be mutually beneficial. Teach me the art of listening to you. May our friendship be a blessing to YOU! Thank you that You are always with me, that you never leave me or forsake me. Thank you that the life you offer is a beautiful life filled with true joy and contentment. Amen.