Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Quiet Day with lots of time for reflection

I have been going non-stop since Monday's final exam.

I have cleaned,

practiced French with a very patient friend,

been studying more on communication and assertiveness.

I feel that women,

even with all the woman's lib years,

are not taught how to communicate with simple assertiveness.

The war on anxiety I can see will rage on for a good while.

But the battle is the Lord's

and we are not abandoned!
I was practicing French with a friend
who is fluent with it;
I was quite dismayed to see how little
I can do conversationally
with French,
especially listening to someone else speak it.

So glad that I am switching courses
up a bit so I will have more exposer to this part of it.
Read some cool posts recently.
First, my sister and brother-in-law have a great post
who sadly are not open for international adoption.
Did you go look at them?
If anyone ever wants to sponsor me on a mission trip to work with the babies
and my sister Rebecca in Romania for a few weeks,
go right ahead!
Of course I would also go visit some great Romanian monasteries while I was there!

Molly Sabourin
has a great post that includes a link to her friend Beth
who struggled through the grief of infertility
and later adopted children.
Really beautiful.


This post made me think about the situation
that other women find themselves in
and it is a huge grief as well.

My newer very lovely blog friend Anna


I am 33 now.

I always thought I would be married with children.

I will be 34 in late December.

It can be a huge source of confusion and grief.

I often have to ward off
instant thoughts of jealousy
when seeing so many beautiful families in person
and in the blog world.
But I think Anna is correct - we need to practice thanksgiving
regardless of our situation.

I have been thinking about some of the ramifications of what
it can feel like to be single.
I have discussed this with my single friends and
pondered it a bit myself.
One of the struggles that single women (and perhaps single men)
feel is that they are somehow
not good enough
that somehow they lack something that is the reason
that they are not married.
Not only that many of us conclude from the feeling that
somehow they do not measure up
that they are,
by not being with someone,

I have struggled with this feeling
so have many of my friends.
But I have come to this conclusion -
the feeling/conclusion that we are less than others
and / or unwanted,
while a seemingly logical intuitive conclusion,
is untrue.

And is even,
may I be so bold as to say,
a lie of the devil.

This is why I think this:
We have to remember who we are.
We are all individuals who Christ died for.
God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us.
God thinks we are worth His Son dying for us.
We are wanted by God.

I feel that as we grow in the understanding of who we are,
wanted and loved by God
accepted and welcomed in His Church
and the Saints
we can gain a sense of healing
and see that the ideas that
we are unwanted, rejected, undesirable
are untrue, no matter what the world may be telling us.

As my spiritual father has told us in church...

The Church, in reality,
is enfolding and encompasses the world
not the world surrounding and being bigger than the Church.

True reality is one of hope
true reality
is the victory of Christ
and His Bride the Church.

Christ's Bride is Beloved and Wanted.
We are invited to be in this Church.
Therefore all humans are wanted
no matter if we are single or married
rich or poor.

Somehow I feel this understanding is part of our healing,
and will help us
as we live single lives,
balancing hope, grief, as we are struggling towards our salvation.
May God have mercy on us all.

I am re-reading Elizabeth Goudge's Bird in the Tree
and it is so good for the soul.
It is so hard sometimes
when we are so desperate for a sense of peace
and refuge,
even us who live in the West amidst
considerable affluence
but yet we too feel often worn
and ragged.
Prayer and quietly reading Elizabeth Goudge's books
often restore me.
Elizabeth Goudge went through a lot of inward struggles
and the fruit of these are found in her books.
I thank God for her.

Wishing you all a good and healthful day!

Christ is Risen!


margaret said...

I am timid by nature and it took me a long time to learn to be assertive without over-doing it and coming across as scared and aggressive. My earliest technique was to pretend I was Elizabeth Bennet standing up to Lady Catherine. I probably miscast a good many decent people in the role of Lady Catherine while doing this but eventually it worked. It's quite important as a single woman to learn to be kindly assertive because there's an old, old idea about that feminism has had no influence on and that is that women without husbands and children have nothing to do and hang themselves up in the closet of an evening like Uncle Fester and therefore need folks to find them something to do.

elizabeth said...

Thanks Maraget - yes... this is part of what I too need to learn... for various reasons I de-posted part of the article I wrote; will perhaps write more later; one thing at a time; but yes, this is exactly it; the assertive not agreesive; I will be continuing my search on this... the battle is on!

Anonymous said...

He is risen indeed!

I especially like the shadow photo... And I also - for lack of a better phrase - hear ya! I'm single at the moment and don't especially want a boyfriend or husband, but I have been in that position before and it can be hell.

My godmother is your age and in a similar position in many ways (in fact she's even a bookseller and librarian by trade :P). She's in an on-off relationship (mostly off) with a pigheaded Roman Catholic and sometimes gets really despairing over the thought of never marrying or having children.

I don't know what the point of this comment is except to let you know that you're not weird for struggling.

x M.

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

I understand where you are coming from, and send you much love and many hugs.

We're all struggling, albeit in different ways. Life can be very tough, no doubt about it......

elizabeth said...

yes, our lives have many struggles and in many ways! Lord have mercy...

thanks Marigold and Elizabeth!

GretchenJoanna said...

Elizabeth Goudge is a good pick for reading that will keep you aware of God's hand and presence in everything. And what an example of a single woman who found grace and peace, albeit in a different era--but by the Lord's Spirit in her. After reading a few of her books, before my conversion to Orthodoxy, I felt that God had provided Elizabeth Goudge as a nurturer, a "mother" for me, on my way to finding the Church as the best Mother.

mamajuliana said...

Think about you and praying for you today.

Molly Sabourin said...

Wonderful post, Elizabeth! Thank you so much for the links and especially for the reminder to practice thankfulness. It is amazing how easy it is to lose sight of one's blessings!!

Peace and love to you!


TruthQuestioner said...

Thanks, Elizabeth! This is beautiful, especially what you said about being single. I have found these troubling thoughts cropping up in my own mind at times, and heard them expressed by many single friends, particularly as they grow older. Thanks for dealing with the subject in such a godly way for us to see.

Elizabeth in Alaska said...

Indeed He is Risen!

I could not help but click on your sister's blog as I spent some time in Romania back in 2003 working in a hospital, loving on abandoned babies. I wish I could sponsor you as it was an amazing experience! And was my first introduction to Orthodoxy, although it took me several more years to begin looking into the Church seriously.

Here is a website I designed for a class I took about my time in Romania:

elizabeth said...

thansk so much MamaJuliana - your encouragment is always so timely!

Thanks Molly! Yes, thankfulness is SO IMPORTANT!

Elizabeth in A - thanks so much! wow, how neat that you were in Romania!! I love the country and its people, even though I have yet to go there myself! one of the links you have on your website (H2H) is the group my sister and brother are part of... I will pass your webpage on to them! :) Someday I dream of going there myself! :)