Maybe some of you can relate to some of this – Maybe you are better off to wait for a different posting and ignore this one completely… At least you can’t say I didn’t warn you….
Another year older, but seemingly no wiser
Purpose: What is one’s purpose in life? How many of us ask this question? Why am I here? What am I supposed to do here? What is the mark I leave? What is the difference I make? Is there even a purpose or mark or difference to be made at all?
On occasion, I seem to get a fleeting glimpse of my purpose and use in this world, but then it scurries away and I am left wondering again. Perhaps, I missed it somewhere? How do I go back and find it? Truth is – I can’t go back. We cannot roll back the years. We cannot restore that which is unrestorable. This is especially true when it involves others, who have no desire to see such things restored. So, we must go on. Time waits for no one.
The next question is then, how do I go on, and in what capacity? What is the goal? What is my purpose, is the question that comes right back around again. I didn’t know this when I sat down here, so how on earth am I to know it now? Though I have sought to know this purpose for the better part of the last 14 or 15 years, I can only say that I am no closer now than when I started. Even before this timeframe, I only “thought” I knew my purpose, but it was an illusion. The day before Christmas of 2011, one of my sisters proclaimed to me that my life has been a waste, until just a couple years ago. I walked out and refused to accept that proclamation. In retrospect, she was still wrong. The last couple years have been no more fruitful than the previous 50 years. In fact, all I built and strived for, for those 50 years, brings no joy and there is no fulfillment in any of it.
I see others enjoying the fruit of their labors and wonder why I cannot seem to find the same happiness in the fruit of my labors. When I attempt to confide in another brother or sister of faith, a fellow Christian, I end up feeling rebuked by them. How do they enjoy the luxuries of this world and all the material things and I cannot? If I had any hopes of being “normal” and enjoying life’s pleasures, those hopes are quickly smashed upon the rocks, and I feel I am even less “normal” than I first started. So, it is best to keep silent and shut down; just turn all of it inward and bury it deeper. Perhaps I might deny it to the point that it no longer exists. To bring it forward for examination, and hopefully released, only brings reprimand.
I certainly understand why people want nothing to do with someone so broken-down. They enjoy their lives and I cannot seem to enjoy mine. They have “seasons” of despair, and I seem to continually live in that “season”. It is not something I want, but I am saddled with it, just the same. Many times, I am a drag to be around. I know this and no one knows how desperately I want rid of this, but it is like being covered head-to-toe in tar and trying to shake it off of you. It does not work. I can scrape at it with my fingers and remove parts of it, but that portion just moves from that part to my fingers. I am not eliminating it, but simply rearranging it.
The good side is that I can minister to others at times. Out of this hurt, I can relate to those who are going through hardships. I can empathize with their seasons of hardship, since I seem to live permanently in that season (even though I can fake it long enough at times, so people actually think I am doing better, inside, I am still falling apart). I can recognize hurt that others are oblivious to. I can look at a person and see it. Many think they are hiding it. And, in all truth, they definitely are hiding it from everyone around them – But I can see it in them.
Sometimes, I sense it, but cannot actually see it. People who have had years of hurts put upon them, can get good at covering it up. However, their spirit will usually give them away. On a few occasions, I simply touched another person and instantly felt such hurt. It can overpower you. In an English speaking community, I could work with this and minister as needed and led by God. But here it is different. I have never experienced so much hurt before, and I do not speak the language. But the obstacles do not stop there.
The last time I was here, God spoke to me of someone’s hurt and the troubles they went through, but He did not tell me any details at all. He only showed deep previous hurt that continued to torment the person. God did not give me any words of encouragement, except to say that He knew of their troubles. So, I proclaimed that they had seen great hardships and proceeded to ask God what to do with this information. There was no reply. I did not have enough understanding to know what or how to pray. There I stood – Dumbfounded. This kind of thing is very unnerving. What does a person do in such a situation? As many times as this has taken place, I do not have any understanding of what to do or where to go from there. The last thing I want to do is proceed under my own thinking, but there is little else I can do at such a point. In that instance, the woman at least spoke English, and I did not feel her hurt. God only provided me with a limited “knowledge” of them.
Yesterday, a similar situation took place, but in a much different way. God had given me a word for this woman once before, during my last visit here. He told me what to tell her, but shared nothing of her hurt and details of her situation. She only speaks Spanish, and the interpreter conveyed the message. She was the first person I ministered to, during my last visit. It was simple. I never had any more words with her since then.
Then, yesterday, during the first, Sunday service since my return, the same woman was the first in the prayer line. I was urged to step forward to minister, but I felt very uneasy about it. I was more than a little reluctant. (I think much had to do with issues I have been struggling with for many months, since my last visit. Things along the lines of those mentioned earlier in this posting) I put up a shield and prayed out of what little knowledge God had provided me in that moment. As best I could, I prayed out of my own mind, based on His very few words to me. I was totally lost. I had no idea where to go or how to get there. Here was a married, Spanish-speaking woman, in dire need of ministering, am I am standing there, not knowing a thing to do, but pray out of my own mind. In my heart, I was screaming out to God to get me out of there or lead me in ministering to her. One or the other had to happen. I stepped back and began to struggle to seek the leading of the Spirit.
I turned to Pastor Philip, who was sitting in a chair behind me. He had preached the message, so I was hoping he would be moving, based on the message. He did not offer assistance. It is often difficult to minister to the message given by another pastor, especially, if that message did not stir our own spirit. Although, it was a good message, and well needed by many, I believe the struggles I have been pressing through have made it increasingly difficult to connect with some messages. Thankfully, Pastor John stepped in and began to minister to the woman in Spanish. I continued to pray in the Spirit and remained until Pastor John finished. Then I continued in English, while another translated what little I was able to utter. During this, I lowered my “shield” and suddenly I felt her pain. I still had no understanding of the source. All I knew was of a severely broken heart. But why? Lord, what am I to say? I fought back the tears and begged God to comfort her and give her peace and to heal the wounds that went so deep. I did not know how to comfort her. I only knew I felt so terrible for her and so helpless in being able to minister to her. I had no answers or guidance for her. I had no understanding of the source of her pain. I only know it hurt, and hurt deep and long and hard. She was the only one I ministered to yesterday morning, and I feel I had no effect – But the effect on me was profound. I struggled all of Sunday and still the struggle continues on Monday. I spoke with a few others, but my heart stayed fixed on the woman and my not knowing what to do. I wanted so very much to simply stop trying to speak, and to just put my arms around her and cry with her, but there was no way I could allow that to take place, for many obvious reasons.
Last evening, we went over to Mexico. I could not get the events of the morning out of my spirit. I went inside and helped to set up for service. Then I sat down, but soon I felt more and more panic. I had to get outside. I felt so terrified at the potential of having to try and minister and I could not. All day, I had been reading Psalms and I remained outside the meeting and sat at a table, under a tree, and continued to read.
When the message was being preached, I finally wandered back inside; comfortable that I would not be called upon to speak. I was relieved to think I would be able to remain in the background. After the message, I ended up being called forward to minister to a man, whom I do not believe could speak English. Again, I struggled to prophesy things into his life and spirit. I made these requests known to the Lord and asked His fulfilling of them. But, the strains of the past months and the events of the morning continued to haunt my spirit. I felt I was praying and speaking forth into a solid wall. The words fell flat. They seemed to have no life. “I” seemed to have no life.
Another event that took place yesterday morning happened during worship time. There was a literal, physical weight that began to press down on me as I worshipped. It was like the hand of God was pushing me down. The pressure became more and more intense. My knees began to buckle and my back began bend over from the strain. It pressed against my head; making it difficult to lift my head. I struggled more and more to withstand the load. I thought to just give way and to fall, face down, on the floor. I would have done this without a problem, but for whatever reason I believed that I needed to withstand the weight – Yield to a degree – But do not cave into it. By the time worship was finished, it felt as if my left hip was out of joint. I limped about as I tried to greet people. Within a few minutes, the pain subsided and I was walking normal again. I could speculate what was happening, but that is all it would be. So, I will wait for a revelation regarding it. Sometimes, it has been years before God will provide some bit of understanding to an event. Even then, He sometimes only provides partial understanding. I have had to learn to simply accept such things and wait on Him. That does not mean that doing so is easy. I can assure you – Easy, it is not.
It is now well after 2 p.m. on Monday, and I have no further understanding of what God is showing me. In fact, with each day I feel more confused and of less and less understanding of what God is doing. As always, I trust Him – But I do not trust me. Without Him to guide me, I am unsure what I should be doing each day, or at any portion of the day.
I felt strongly that I was to be here for the corn harvest; though I did not know when that took place. Originally, I planned to leave Ohio today. I ended up feeling to leave over a week earlier. Today started the corn harvest. Without realizing it, things came to pass in the timing I felt they were. This is one confirmation to me that I was following correctly. I wondered if I was to help, but I do not speak Spanish and there was no interpreter. So, I am here in time for the corn harvest, but it seems I am not to be involved with it. This leaves me to wonder why I am to be here for it.
Several months ago, I purchased a new welding helmet. My old one was not working properly, so I replaced it; though I never used the new one as yet. As I was preparing to leave, I felt led to bring the new helmet and my other welding apparel. I did not know why, but thought maybe I was to repair something during the corn harvest. Since I got here, I found out that the man who works in the warehouse here is learning to weld, so today I got out the new helmet and opened the package. I got out my other welding items too, and figured that perhaps this is at least part of the reason for my bringing the items. However, the helmet I purchased was not the helmet I thought it was and I cannot use it. I put it back in the package and returned all the items to the trunk of the car. Since I purchased it at TSC, I cannot return or exchange it until I get back home. I prayed as I purchased it, but it seems maybe I either heard incorrectly or there is something else going on that I have not yet realized or understood. So, I again wonder, what am I missing?
Moment by moment, and day by day… Even month by month, it seems the questions continue to pile up and answers are a rare commodity. Even when an answer does come, it usually just generates a lot more questions.
Again I ask, what is the purpose here? It seems that I am missing something in all of this. The generality of it is clear enough. Where and how I am to fit in and how I am to contribute is probably the biggest question. But it doesn’t matter if it is the biggest question, or the smallest, either way, or in-between, I have far fewer answers than questions, and at this point in my life I really thought things would be a lot different than they are. Consequently, it causes me to question my usefulness or contribution to anything.
Like George Bailey, in the movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, I wonder if anything I have done has made any difference – Particularly for the positive. Maybe my sister is right. Maybe the many others, who made similar declarations, are also correct. I want to doubt such statements, but feel hard-pressed to refute with any substantial argument. At least, not until I get some answers and some better understanding of what the purpose really is.