The Heat of the Battle

I’ve missed blogging so much that I’ve decided it’s time to dive back in feet first although I feel as if I’m diving in with an anchor tied around my neck.  Many of you are writers and may also experience what I am about to state, but I find it increasingly difficult to write when I am in periods of stress and turmoil.  Maybe I’m afraid that anything I write will come out as a barrage of complaints spewing out my fingertips which may then evolve into a barrage of eye rolls coming from my sweet, well-meaning readers and friends.  I’m afraid if I wait until all is peaceful I may not get to write for some time.

A quick update: I am still here.  I am at my home with my children.  They are cute, happy and adjusting.  I am waiting, not so patiently, for the lawyers and the judge to do their work.  It’s an incredibly frustrating process and a slow-moving one at that.  I have a theory that if the lawyers conducting this horrific process had to experience the emotional turmoil equally to that of the people going through a divorce….well, my guess is that it probably wouldn’t take 3 months to a year to complete.  Just sayin’.

For those of you who have been wondering I am no longer on Facebook, but hope to soon return.  I needed the break from cyberland.  Sometimes it’s easy to bury yourself in all of the hooplah and status updates and funny comments and pictures, but it has become necessary for me to take the time to focus on my real life and the issues at hand.  It’s funny how much I’ve missed Facebook.  I’ll be with girlfriends and something funny will happen and I’ll say, “DANG!  That would make a hilarious status!”

I wanted to say “thanks” to all of my friends who have contacted me, Jess or my mom to find out how we are doing.  It’s nice to feel missed.  🙂  Thanks also to sweet Pat for the card of encouragement and the Starbucks gift card!  PERFECT!  It was such a sweet surprise and very much appreciated.

I’m learning things about myself this year that I didn’t know.  Some things good, some things bad, but one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that even when I literally don’t have the strength to get out of bed or to face another day I know I can do it… I have to.  In the heat of this battle I’m still standing, head held up and I’ll keep on going.  This year has not been kind to me or my family.  From early January we’ve had obstacles, big ones, which have had to be overcome.  Most of you know I grew up in church and that I have faith in a God Who pulls us out of the muck and mire.  Another lesson I’m learning is that regardless of how many Bible verses I can recite or point out to you it is when you find yourself in the very most heated parts of the battle that you truly learn how committed you are.  I’ve surprised myself this year with the doubt and confusion and question I’ve let crawl into my life.  I’m just being honest here.

I’d love to pretend to all of you that I’ve been the picture-perfect example of GRACE in action, but I’ve not.  I have doubted and questioned and whined and complained and blamed.  I’ve done a child’s share of finger-pointing and fussing about the state of life, but the reality is I didn’t just wake up one day living here.  I’ve been living on this unstable foundation for a long time.  You can’t build a sandcastle on the shore and then complain when the waves come crashing in.  Waves crash.  That’s what they’re supposed to do.  Either move your castle or be prepared for a lifetime of rebuilding.  I just chose, for some reason, to build too close and I’m having to live with that decision.  It’s been a tough reality to face and has forced me to do much soul-searching.  I’ve stated in my writing before that it can be very scary to have to take a good look at yourself.  You may not find the you that you’re trying to convince the world of.  I’m so thankful that I have people in my life who accept me even when I’m not nearly as fabulous as I’d like for everyone to think I am.  🙂

The purpose in my writing this is two-fold.  First, I would ask for continued prayer.  I receive any that you will send my way.  Prayers especially for my children and that God will direct all those in charge to decisions which will be in the best interest of the 2 most valuable “possessions” that I have.  Secondly, I’d love to hear back from any of you who wish to speak.  It’s easy to know you’re a Christian.  It’s easy to know the perfect thing to say, but when it comes down to time to DO those perfect things, do ya sometimes just get a little tired?  I have.  The fight in me isn’t gone, but it certainly is looking for a little down time.  Hopefully soon.

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19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joline Moore
    Aug 10, 2011 @ 19:14:50

    Just today I was wondering how you were doing & was thinking of stopping by. Something told me you needed a hug. If you ever need a shoulder to cry on or someone to hang with, I would be more than happy to be that person. Missed you & your hilarity & beautiful pics on FB too! Friday I will be in my usual place for breakfast if you want to come by…chai is on me! 🙂

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  2. mandaclair
    Aug 10, 2011 @ 19:18:06

    Joline, thanks for the sweet words. I may try to make it down Friday. I’d love to see you and drink a cup of chai the size of my minivan. 🙂

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  3. Scott
    Aug 10, 2011 @ 20:19:34

    I’ll be praying for you and your kids, I can’t imagine how rough it’s been for all of you. If there is anything you need, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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  4. Sara Miner Harakas
    Aug 10, 2011 @ 20:29:58

    Amanda I am so glad to see you writing again. I have missed it. I think about you and your children a lot and pray things are going well with you. Your children are so precious, and I know that they bring you great joy. They are the reason you get up in the morning with your head held high. I love and miss you all. Jessica and her beautiful daughter and your mom “Saint Carolynn”. If you looked up Grace in the
    dictionary there would be a picture of you all there, I know you have been going through a lot this year, but we have to go through the valley to reach the mountain. God Bless you all.
    Sara

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    • mandaclair
      Aug 10, 2011 @ 21:29:50

      Sara, thanks lady. Good to hear from you. My mom truly is a saint. If I could have 10% of her faith and strength…. She’s truly amazing. Blessings to you guys too. Tell everyone “hello”.

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  5. Brittany
    Aug 10, 2011 @ 20:48:20

    I have been thinking about you recently, and wondered about the FB hiatus.

    I feel compelled to respond here…what I say may not be liked by some, but I speak the truth as I know and see it. It’s what I do.

    I admire your transparency. It’s something that is rarely seen today – both from the general public, but particularly from those in the church. People love to put on figurative masks and play the part of having everything figured out and having everything together all the time…the never-ending charade of legalism and a false reality. The truth is, it unnerves people when you say, “Look, I’m a little pissed off at God right now. He can just go {insert expletive here}…” But you know what? God can handle it. He’s God, after all.

    The times of my life that have been the most educational and sanctifying times have been those in the crucible. I have said and done some very ugly and unrighteous things. There was one point in time that, for a good part of a whole year, I woke up every day immediately angry and with my fist raised, as if to say, “I DARE YOU TO TRY TO HAVE CONTROL OVER ME!”

    But, in spite of all that, there was a voice – a voice I now recognize as the Holy Spirit – that said, “You’re mine. I have you in my hand and I’m not letting go. So you can do what you like, and you can run away, and have your tantrums. But at the end of the day….you’re still mine and I. Still. Love. You.”

    The biggest lesson I learned during that season was that, just like *I* didn’t do anything to merit or earn my salvation, I don’t ever do anything – on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis – that merits favor with God. Salvation and sanctification are both acts of God and God alone. He is not a karmic God that says, “Ok, well you have 5 holy stars by your name this week so I’m gonna dish out some great stuff for you,” or “Well you’ve been terrible so I’m sending a disaster. Get ready.” God does all things – ALL things – from the most significant to the most insignificant – for ONE reason. His glory. It has nothing to do with us.

    A lot of people might be offended by that truth – but I personally find it very liberating. Knowing that God really sees who I am means that all that energy I would put into hiding things – hiding my sin from people – acting like a saint instead of a ruined but redeemed sinner – is not required. It takes so much weight off of me. And I can be real with people, and say, “You know what? This is where I am. But that great thing is, while my moods and feelings and emotions change constantly, God never changes.” And that is something we can all rejoice in together.

    So….to make a long story short…I totally get you. And I am sorry. Life just sucks sometimes. And God, who is completely sovereign, is also good. Cling to that.

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    • mandaclair
      Aug 10, 2011 @ 21:38:27

      Brit,

      I am literally overwhelmed at this post. Let me reply with a few things: first, from that sweet, blonde-headed, silly little middle-school-aged cheerleader I used to drive around in my car as we listened to “oldies music” (i.e. 80’s music, you little punk!) to the spiritually-mature woman, wife and mother you’ve grown into… well, wow. I’m just beyond impressed. You are insightful beyond your years. What a beautiful woman you are both inside and out. I’m blessed to have had you in my life for the past 12 or more years. Man, I’m old! 🙂

      Second, don’t ever be apologetic for stating what you firmly believe. Gal, life is too short to try to go conforming to the masses so we don’t rock any boats. Boats are made for rocking. People who can’t handle it had best learn to swim or just stay on shore, huh? I admire your boldness. Don’t ever lose that.

      Third, thank you for these wonderful words. I agree with you whole-heartedly. I had a discussion with a gal pal the other day. We discussed that if the Lord is our Heavenly Father then just as we might with our earthly father doesn’t it make sense that we might butt heads from time to time? It took me years as a Christian to realize that and feel comfortable letting myself go there. I mean seriously, HE already knows what’s in our head and our hearts so is it so detrimental for us to verbalize it to Him? I just don’t think so. He is in control and He is our one TRUE constant. Thanks for the reminder. It was nice to hear.

      Love to you. Clothing Carousel is the 2nd week in September. I’d LOVE to see you. Take care, you sweet and smart girl.

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      • Brittany
        Aug 11, 2011 @ 00:00:46

        I am in Rog. often per the request of eager grandparents….so, clothing carousel or no, let’s get together soon. I’ll buy you a coffee. Miss Bea’s isn’t Starbucks but it’s still pretty good 🙂

        Also, here’s a little tune I thought you might appreciate.

        http://www.myspace.com/jillphillips/music
        (listen to #2 – Nobody’s Got it All Together)

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  6. AJP
    Aug 10, 2011 @ 21:41:43

    So glad your back. I’ve had several friends asking about you and missing your witty FB post. Goes without saying Good, bad or ugly, you’ll forever be my friend! If we’d all get real, we’ve all struggled and had crappy things we had to deal with in this life. We just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. This too will pass…

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    • mandaclair
      Aug 10, 2011 @ 21:50:33

      AJP, you know I love you too pieces. Thanks for being my friend. Our laughter has been the therapeutic equivalent of a meth lab full of monkeys. 😉 … and if any of these readers aren’t from Hawkins County the police here truly did bust up a meth lab… full of monkeys. That makes me lol just typing it!

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  7. Sherry
    Aug 11, 2011 @ 13:12:36

    My preacher just preached a message that was called Fatigued while Fighting…it was sooo good….It goes along with alot of things you have mentioned here….yes, I have gotten tired…actually, I stay tired of fighting more than I do being up. But God is faithful…I also heard a statement by the preacher last night and I’m not applying it to your situation, but it made me stop and think…”Don’t mistake God’s grace for His approval”…God has given me grace to go thru so much, although I am not sure he totally approved…but He was always there, whether I was stupid or not…I am and have been praying for you…keep on writing, sister, I love it!

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    • mandaclair
      Aug 16, 2011 @ 11:51:29

      Sherry, it’s nice to hear from you. I hope things are moving ahead for you. We are fortunate that God loves us even when we’re stupid. I’m afraid most of us fall into that category at one time or another. Thanks for this!

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  8. Kelley
    Aug 15, 2011 @ 07:56:47

    I think we have all gone through periods where we wondered why God would allow certain things to happen to us. After all, *we* are good, Christian people, right?! Well, too many people like to keep on the mask of being a good, Christian person and not really admit when we’re struggling ourselves. We are all human and imperfect. We make mistakes. If I am being perfectly honest, when we are going through troubles, we sometimes even doubt that God’s plans for us are really all that great. I love where you mentioned that God is our Heavenly Father so it’s not a surprise that sometimes we’d be upset with Him just like we would with our Earthly father. We are all bratty at times and thankfully God still loves us even when we are making the wrong decisions. It stinks when we are going through tough times and it’s hard to see it while we are actually going through it, but those times will make us better in the end (and maybe a little bitter at first). Have you ever read the story about the clay being molded? It has to go through so much torture being shaped and then, literally, through fire. It begs for mercy and keeps getting told, “Just a little longer.” When it is finished, it is a beautiful teacup. I pray that your time in the fire is short and that you are able to cling to God and the hopes of a brighter future while you are going through this. You are loved and kept in prayer by many. Thanks for “coming back” to cyber-world. You’ve been missed.

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    • mandaclair
      Aug 16, 2011 @ 11:53:04

      Kelley, so good to hear from you! Thanks for this encouragment and all the ones from the past. You have always been such a sweet, listening ear and a voice of reason. God is good and I know He will sustain. I know He will. Thanks. 🙂

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  9. Tammy Begley
    Aug 15, 2011 @ 07:59:27

    I have missed you and your funny remarks!
    I know the battle you are fighting in and it is not an easy one. We just have to put it in God’s hands and leave it there. Sometimes His way is not our way. Even when we don’t understand at all why, we have to reach deep inside and ‘know that you know’ He is in control and allow Him to put you in the circumstances that best benefits you for the road prepared for you…not always Easy Street…to mold you into the testimony He needs you to be. I will be praying for you to get through this horrible process.
    We never did get to meet for that coffee…let’s do that soon.

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  10. Pat Lenzini
    Aug 15, 2011 @ 09:30:08

    Love You sweet Amanda and I am so blessed to be reading your words again. They are honest,and true life, I will pray for you and your sweet children, Keep on keeping on you have so many people that are cheering you on and love you. Mrs. Britanny I couldn’t of said it better your heart and words are so true.As christian’s we need to stop playing games and be real that is the only way to help others.It is all about G-d’s glory. Love you and blessings. PAt

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    • mandaclair
      Aug 16, 2011 @ 11:55:06

      Pat, you are just the sweetest. Your card couldn’t have come at a better time. I appreciate all the support- especially my far away friends. I know you are a strong prayer warrior. Keep thinking of my kids and this situation. 🙂 Love to you.

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