Friday, May 21, 2010

When life is pressing in... day four

 I have my cell phone immediately at my side today for two reasons... Christopher is traveling a couple of hours to visit a friend at the Christian college he attends... while huge storms cover the area (not so good stress).  A little girl is almost ready to make her way into the world as the entire family waits... and waits... including the said baby's mother who is ready to lighten the load (good stress). 

Isn't it interesting how... in a week I decide to answer questions about how I handle stress... I have had far more than usual?  As was said in one of the comments, it seems to work that way. 

In the same week I have had a son in the emergency room, attended a funeral, spent hours with out-of-town family members (good but fatiguing), tried to re-do a budget hurt from the overdrafts, and taken care of a cat who is throwing up and having other "accidents" (twice on our bed).  This morning we had to take her to the kitty hospital and have her admitted (no prognosis, yet).

I feel the familiar tension in my chest and the back of my neck.  If the stress maker is sudden and particularly frightening, nausea can be a reaction and even a sense of feeling faint.  I'm certain there is a medical reason behind all of this...

Some events of the week were wonderful, like spending time with my two nieces from Texas whom I haven't seen in years and Christopher meeting (for the first time) his oldest cousin who was at the memorial.  A picture was taken of the youngest grandchild standing by the oldest grandchild (my oldest brother's daughter, about six years older than me) and the remarks about how you can tell they are family... as a multitude of point and shoot cameras were clicking away.  Stories told to him about her days singing with Ricky Nelson and other former stars.

Many pictures for the nieces to take back home to Texas for the two siblings who could not make the trip, e-mail addresses exchanged, and the promise to send out "Friend Requests" among the younger cousins.  Renewed relationships brought about by the death of another loved one.

The good with the not-so-good memories of family life long past and the tragedies and traumas which came with it.  Fatigue became overwhelming as time away from home meant the inability to take care of everything at home "a little bit at a time".  My laundry once again reproduced on its' own in the garage... as did the dishes in the sink.

How timely that I was going to share more today about the most important lessons learned to keep stress from finding a home in my heart...

The first... learn to forgive.  One rarely is able to forget but one can make a decision to forgive.  I most often do this by praying for the one who has hurt me with words or actions.  If I find myself speaking of them in a not so kind way, I know I need to pray for them again.  Some people (like my husband's sister) are very well prayed for.  Forgiving does not mean what a person did was right... it sets you free.

The second... let it go.   I know this can't ever happen in your home but in mine two people will disagree from time to time.  When it is the two guys, I often tell them to "let it go"... most often what they are having conflict over is not important and even silly.  Although I never argue about anything unimportant and silly (smile), I tell myself the same thing... take a breath and let it go.

I also find myself reliving past conversations or events, some happening a decade or more ago.  Once again, I remind myself to let it go... forget it... release it from my mind... not to ponder it at all.  What is past cannot be changed and reliving it only causes unnecessary stress.

The third... lasso in your thoughts as if you were in a rodeo.  Imagine the rope pulling in all those wild thoughts and bring them back under control.  The battle against stressful fear is in your mind and if you are like me... your imagination can run wild during times of stress.

I remember when we lived in Iowa (before the days of cell phones), my husband did not arrive home from a business trip when he should have.  I later told him I had him dead, buried, and his insurance money spent by the time he walked in the door.  :)  Thoughts running wild can never result in faith and peace and we are only given grace for the day... on that day.

The fourth... do the opposite of what the enemy of our souls want us to do.  For instance, if my husband is having a very bad day and harsh words are spoken... I take him a cup of coffee or tea.  Of course, there is that brief moment I imagine pouring it on his head but I choose life and peace... and place it carefully on his desk. :)

This week, as finances are a burden, I shared extra food (which had been given to me) with my sister and took her the gorgeous English china plates I had purchased for her a couple of months ago at Goodwill for 99 cents each (and forgot all about them until I found them put back this week!).

It would be easy to hoard when in want, that is what the enemy of our souls wants us to do.  No... that is just the time we must be sharing with others.  It is remarkable what happens when we choose not to walk in fear but in faith... and give.  It was so nice yesterday to see Bonnie serve the ham I had brought her, salads her daughter had made, and all on those pretty dishes.

We must remember when stressful days come that feeling tension and exhaustion does not indicate a lack of faith.  No, feelings of faith returns as we spend time reading God's Word and talking to Him and listening to good music and perhaps talking to a friend.  We lack faith when we let the feelings remain and turn into bitterness and fear.  Faith and fear cannot live in the same room.

So, what am I doing this evening?  I have dinner in the Crock Pot and while my husband drives to the veterinarian's office to see if we can bring our girl home, I am making a cake.  A load of laundry is in the wash, to be dried in the morning.  A pillow will be brought to the sofa and a biography finished.  Christopher has called and arrived at his destination safely.  My first evening in awhile to stay inside and rest and follow my own advice.

Picture:  Sent by e-mail years ago from a 
dear friend who knew it would make me smile


bcsmithereens said...

Once again your words speak to my soul! Oh, I know the feeling of struggling with wanting to hoard everything that has been freely given to me... especially when I finally have a pantry of food... but as with you, when I reach out and share a meal or treat with others, other needs are met.
Any baby news?

Lisa in Texas = ) said...

I have really been enjoying this series of post. Very helpful to many people - I am sure!
Glad to hear you have a nice quiet evening at home - those are great! Enjoy~ Lisa :o)

Vee said...

Excellent pointers all and I loved your sense of humor throughout. I'll be praying for your grand-girlie's safe delivery and hoping that that's the next news that we hear from your corner...soon. Otherwise, I may tend to hover. ;>

Cathy said...

Brenda My Dear,
You have been a blessing to me this week. It has been one loaded with stress and worry. Each and every day you have provided me with calming words. I have followed your gentle instruction and read my inspirational words
( a book I love called Joy for the Journey a Woman's book of promises) and spent time in prayer and contemplation-and of course this is followed by renewed hope and a beautiful sense of peace and of being loved. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and for allowing God to guide you to us who have needed you this week. God is Good.
With Love,

Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed your suggestions this week very much. As a homeschooling mom of two teenaged sons and twin pre-teen daughters, I know plenty about stress. Your blog is a de-stresser for me very often. Thanks.

Suze said...

Oh - and please update us as soon as:

you hear about kitty and....
your new granddaughter arrives....what will her name be?

Suze said...

Thank you so much for your wisdom learned from the college of is priceless.

Lynne-Aussie said...

Hi Brenda,
Your post today is just what I needed to read, thankyou.

The Working Home Keeper said...

These posts have been such a blessing to me. Thank you for sharing.

Mary Ellen

Anonymous said...

Oh Brenda!,...This post was a gold star one for certain!! I am taking notes from it and thinking of putting them in a picture frame where I can easily see it and read it and be reminded. Life right this moment is super stressfull and busy. I was going to just skim your latest and get off the computer. Once I started reading I took the time to rerread it so it would sink in even more. Can't tell you how much this one post will change our days and how timely it is for us too. Thankyou again for writing as the Lord leads you. Sarah

sally Clarkson said...

What a welcome home I feel now that I got to read "Dear Brenda." I love that you have grasped beauty in your soul and shaped and formed into the reflection of your own good heart in the small and large places of your home. No wonder Steph turned out to be such a life-giving, loving, generous woman--she learned it from you. It was a comfort, as I contemplate getting back to reality tomorrow to ease into life by reading you this afternoon. Praying for baby and mom and all.

Leaking Moonlight said...

Thank you and God bless. I needed just these words today.