November 30, 2011

Goodbye November

It's hard to believe this is the last day of November.  November tends to be a tranquil month, doesn't it?  It slips in, ready prepare our hearts.

My heart needed quite a bit of pruning this year.  
It's been quiet around NEM, have you noticed?  I've had a rough couple of weeks and needed time to process rather than vomit words/feelings onto the published page.  
I have had a soul wrestling season.  Do you have those?
  
While this blog is a place for you to find encouragement and humor, I also desire for it to be a place that is real, exposing the lie that bloggers have perfect lives all tied up in a bow.  I try to be as candid as possible about my joys, daily blunders, and heart matters.   I am often encouraged when I discover that other women are dealing with the same kinds of life-stuff that I am.  It keeps us on the same page, digging through life together.

However, I recently learned the hard way that sometimes when we are transparent with others it opens us up to criticism and skewed perspectives.  I've been through a world of hurt over this and I need to apologize to you.

My post about our finances may have come across as discontentedness.  What a world we live in, for me to complain about medical bills when there are so many who have never seen the likes of a Bandaid.  I know that I have more than some could ever dream of.  My life is full.  I have much to rejoice over.  My world is not built upon the ups and downs of our financial journey.  I have 3 precious children and a wonderful husband that are living gifts worth every diamond in the world.  My heart is full.  I do not want to have a complaining spirit.  Sometimes in my effort to keep it real, it comes across as discontentedness. Yes, the weight of this world is too much to bear sometimes, but I am filled with gratefulness.  

This "November heart pruning" has made me realize that sometimes we assume things about others which causes a separation of souls.  For example, if you saw my new Christmas tree  lights, you might be scratching your head wondering why I would complain about finances when, clearly, I had enough to purchase new lights.  You would assume that I was spending recklessly and deserved to be in the pit I am in, after all, I dug it!  What you might not realize is that I used some of my Christmas money last year and shopped the 75% sale after Christmas to replace the lights that we had used for 15 years.  Now my spending doesn't seem so reckless, does it?  I'm not trying to justify myself.  I've just been made acutely aware of the danger we can be to one another (and ourselves) when we allow judgements to cloud our view.

We all already know our own imperfections.  We don't need others to point them out or look for ways to dig chasms.  I am as real as it gets.  I don't try to hid behind a veil of false perfection.  I struggle.  I heart-wrestle.   I desire to be transparent with you.  
We all need grace.

Since it's the last day of November, I thought I'd finally share my fall mantle.  
Better late than never, right? 

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Friend, One of the things I appreciate most about you is that you are real. My heart is sad that you have been struggling. God knows your heart and motivation. Know that I feel privileged to have a friend like you to share life's struggles and frustrations with, warts and all. Thank you for being real - no judgment here. SK

Kellie said...

When I read your "finance" post, I completely understood where you were coming from. The Lord must have been pruning over here, too. I, too, have not been as "talkative" in my blog world. I have had some wrestling and struggles myself this past month. When I have tried to be "real" it has been met with silence. I find that sometimes people don't know how to take the "realness" of life when they see it on a blog. Maybe they want to get lost in other people's "perfect" lives or something. Not sure.

However, I never thought that your post was a show of "discontent." I know you too well, maybe, to think that you are "whining." I have walked in your shoes and know the discouragement that fills your heart when yet another thing hits. We are ALL blessed with so much, but it doesn't take away the fact that sometimes life just HURTS. That is when we go to the Father and ask Him to bind our broken hearts. I am sending you a hug. I still need to get you some jelly. :) Hugs and love to you!!!

Richella said...

Yes, ma'am. You said it. We ALL need grace. Every day. On our best days, on our worst days. And, of course, we can rejoice together that his mercies are

NEW EVERY MORNING.

And that's why I come here, over and over. Because you know. You get it. You struggle, you wrestle, you try hard, you fall down, you get back up. But you get it.

And I appreciate you.

Bless you, friend.

Trisha said...

I do not comment here often. But just wanted to let you know that I come to your blog when my heart is heavy, or empty, or hard, or just plan stubborn! I come to your blog to be fed. Thank you! For whatever words you may write my heart always comes closer to my Father in Heaven after reading them.

Merry Christmas! Enjoy your new(but very afforable) lights!

Bugs and Sunshine said...

You are a blessing.

Your words are a blessing!

Your heart is a blessing!!!

Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable with us. Words are such fragile things and I'm thankful you're willing to share yours!

KR said...

I'm so sorry. You are right....when you pour out your heart, it is ripe for stomping on. Thank you for doing it anyway, and please don't stop. You have a gift (multiple gifts!) that blesses many people---surely the blessed far outweigh the critics. AND, when you're attacked, it's evidence that you are doing the right thing. The devil and his minions leave us alone when we are not a threat. You know?

Kay @ Off the Beaten Path said...

Gretchen,

As a pastor's wife who has sometimes struggled with the inequities of finances, I've sometimes been tempted to make judgment calls based on others' behavior and particularly their apparent spending or purchasing power. But I learned a long time ago to stop short of that when I realized how easy it would be to assume things about my own family based on appearances. My kids have always been able to take piano lessons and acting lessons...because my parents sent checks to cover it each month. We took a vacation to Grand Cayman...because my husband performed a wedding ceremony for a young couple and their wealthy parents paid for every penny of our trip. I have beautiful clothes...because God blesses me with 75% off deals consistently.

I say all this to say that I totally agree with you; we have to be very careful before we make judgment calls on other people's blessings or burdens. We don't know what lies beneath the surface.

I'm so sorry if someone has said or assumed something that hurt your feelings. I always appreciate your candor and humility. Please don't let someone else's judgment calls keep you from "spilling the beans" when God calls you to do so. You minister to my heart in your authenticity.

Kimberly said...

I love you sweet friend and remember that our stories of struggles are not ours to keep hidden away...they are ours to share so that God may be glorified in every way!
Keep your eyes on Him and share what He puts on your heart to share!