188. Gateway Community Church Grand Opening

My church has opened our new building! It’s a community resource center, and we’re having a Grand Opening celebration all weekend long.

I just spent my evening there, and enjoyed good talks with a series of individuals, some of whom I knew, and some of whom I didn’t know at all. And part of the time, I stood on the balcony and stared at the sunset.

God is going to do great things there!

180. A Song for Me

This was lovely.

Let me try to explain my train of thought, and why this thing that happened seemed like such a direct, loving word for me.

Yesterday at church, the sermon was about the life of Joseph. I’ve got a friend going through some trials, and it seemed like the message was definitely for him.

And that reminded me of all the times God has spoken to me through a sermon. But I thought to myself, I don’t need that now. I’m really not going through any trials now. I mean, I’d like to be married again, but that’s not really a trial. I mean, life is good while I’m waiting! But I’ve been through some dark times, so I can encourage my friends that God does work things out for good.

Look how great my job is! I’ve got an extra-challenging week ahead, which goes to show that I’m doing good things! None of my friends asked about the week ahead, but hey, I can do this, because I’m good at what I do!

So that was all good. I kept it upbeat and happy. I’m here to talk about how God gets people through trials! My life is great right now!

And yesterday evening, I went to a Neil Gaiman Live event and had a great time. And I joined my good friend and his wife. They’re newlyweds, so they were being a little extra lovey-dovey, but I had a great time, and it was great to be there with my friends, especially good to see the friend I hadn’t seen in awhile (who doesn’t answer his emails quite so much now that he’s married, though he says that’s not why – It’s because we’ve got less in common these days, which is a slightly more depressing reason for me). But like I said, I had a great time.

This morning it was hard to get up after being out late. On the way to work, I was doing my morning praying through my prayer list (It’s a long commute with lots of chances to check the list.), and this morning I was thinking again of the sermon and how I’m not really going through trials and how faithful God was when I was, but how I don’t really need to hear from Him so much now. And how independence and meaningful work is all so good. How the challenges coming up give me something to focus on and be excited about.

But as I was driving home, it caught up with me just a little bit. I didn’t get any emails during the day, when I used to get quite a few each day. (And I am spoiled rotten, because if you count the last week, I got dozens of emails from my friends and the cousin who writes to me daily sent me two yesterday – This isn’t about logical reasons for feeling down.) I started thinking, I just wish I knew that people like me. (Which is silly, because I KNOW that a lot of people like me.) And I started musing It would be nice to be special to someone, but then shifted back to, No, I’m okay not being part of a couple right now. I just want to know that people like me. I wish someone would tell me. Should I ask for it on Facebook? People would answer that they do. But no, that would be fishing. I wish I knew that people like me.

I’m not sure I’ve explained this well. I wasn’t depressed. It was all idle musing, the way your mind flits around while sitting in traffic (or at least mine does). I was only feeling slightly sorry for myself. But I did sit for a moment on I wish I knew that people like me.

And at that very moment, I noticed the Christian radio station was playing a song I hadn’t heard before.

I heard these words:

You are essential, not accidental
And you should realize

You are beloved
I wanted you to know
You are beloved
Let it soak into your soul
Oh, forget the lies you heard
Rise above the hurt
And listen to these words
You are beloved
I want you to know
You are beloved.

And it dawned on me: Yeah, I still need to hear from God at times. And He loves me. And He still speaks to me, what I need to hear, when I need it. I am Beloved.

And I’m definitely not trying to make anyone feel guilty for not happening to ask about my week yesterday or for not happening to send me an email today during the day! I’m not even fishing for words of affirmation!

So many friends do such a good job so very often letting me know that they really do like me! I actually DO know that people like me!

I started to write that it was a leftover feeling from my divorce, feeling unlovable, unlikable – except that I imagine that everyone, no matter how popular, no matter how loved, no matter how well-liked, gets those moments when they wonder if everyone’s faking it and wonder if people actually like you! I know that even when I was happily married, I’d get little moments like that.

I do know how to self-talk myself out of them. But it seemed like such a loving gift from God that today I didn’t need to.

So take a moment and listen to this song! Let it soak into your soul.

You are not just liked. You are Beloved.

179. Solitude

I actually think that I will get married again some day. I may be deluded, but that’s what I think will happen.

In the meantime, what a gift it is to have time to myself in my beautiful home. Soon, I’ll be reading for the Newbery committee, but in the meantime, I can go for leisurely walks, spend time reading, and try to catch up on posting book reviews.

And play my music loud.

173. Prayer Team

It’s easy for me to go to church and just talk to my friends. I’m not terribly outgoing.

So I’m glad that I get to be part of the prayer team and pray with people about their concerns. Even when it’s a friend who asks for prayer – otherwise I might not have found out big issues going on in their lives.

It’s a way to get out of myself a little bit and do something for others.

171. Project 52 – Finished!

I haven’t been posting my other blogs for awhile, because the last month I was rather obsessed with finishing Project 52 – essentially the story of my life.

I finished Project 52, and wrote a reflection about how much good it did me. I can’t get over how nice the timing was for me to write this up – it enabled me to take a look at how many things in my life God has worked out for good. And I’m thankful!

168. My First Personal Annual Spiritual Retreat

Back in February, a friend pointed me to an exercise where you visualize what you’d like your life to be like 10 years in the future. You try to describe a typical day in great detail.

Somewhat to my surprise, Future Sondy was booking her Annual Personal Spiritual Retreat on the Isle of Iona for that springtime! In other years, she’d gone to places like Prince Edward Island and Mont St. Michel.

I got to thinking that Present Sondy should start this habit! But I don’t have any money for a fabulous place like that. But I realized that my own home is a nice place for a retreat. After all, I’ve got a lake view. So I looked on the library schedule for a time when I could take a week off, and chose the first week of May.

It’s been lovely, if not as peaceful as the Isle of Iona would be!

I did take some time for cleaning – hard to avoid if you’re staying home. But these last two days, I’m taking a 48-Hour Book Challenge and getting lots of books read and reviews written.

I also worked on Project 52, and got this week’s post done in one day, instead of stretching it out over three or four posts. And the week I finished was about the year when my divorce was finally final. And that felt good.

Then I found this verse. With that timing – finishing thinking through the hard years – I’d like to take this as my theme for the year – until my next personal spiritual retreat.

Song of Solomon 2:10-12

My beloved spoke and said to me,
“Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, come with me.
See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come.”

Here’s to a season of singing!

159. WGTS 91.9

I’m thankful for our local Christian radio station. This morning I made a list of some new songs that really encouraged me. I think I’m going to buy some CDs.

Sometimes, we need truth to be affirmed. There’s no better way to do that than through song. It gets those truths past your head and into your heart.