This nothing consecrated Catholic hermit has had more backlash through the various levels or rings of my soul. The devil tries with increasing vigor to up-end the joy and peace of victories won by the Lord, in His graces. I'm doing many God-pivots: All glory and honor to God!
Two people have been in contact in the past few days, both females. Much time and energy, both writing and verbally when I received calls, trying to help with the advice they requested. Each had to do with communication issues with spouses, some enabling going on in one case, and some fear of speaking of one's inner needs, in another--giving mixed messages, in other words, and then being upset when the spouse did not do as hoped.
I had been praying about my mission, and it is definitely in the spiritual efforts. So I even mentioned that providing counsel, especially several times, and then some more, of same or similar temporal, relational topics, would be once or twice. If others do not want to try out the insights or counsel, fine. But I must focus on spiritual matters, spiritual counsel.
Yes, partly when one counsels in temporal matters, of course the spiritual aspects are flowing, for the spiritual realm is the basis for the temporal. And I do very much always bring the spiritual into whatever I write or mention, or think within myself. And so I did this time, especially when the two women reported back that they had tried to make the small steps toward change, on their parts, that would bring improved communication and relationship with their spouses, for in essence, they were each stepping down on the devil by doing so.
Then, with their victories reported, one wrote of terrible backlashes she was facing. Yes, the devil gets very angry and tries to create fear, confusion, anger, chaos, division, and all things ugly and upsetting. But she was forewarned as to how not to react; and she did not react with upset. Yes, that shift in her usual reaction to her spouse who tends to control and belittling, caused him to react with yet more than the usual anger.
Yet still, she knew in advance this might happen and to not react, no matter what. If anything smile at the situation, knowing who it was behind the whole trick. But, I did not emphasize to smile inwardly. So the outward smile caused yet more anger from her spouse; he had expected the usual, to bring her to tears and begging with apologies for really, nothing.
I should have emphasized more clearly to rejoice within, not outwardly, at the success in taking a first step toward altering the cycle of behavior and communication that had worn quite a pathway in their marriage over the years. And above all, however, to both women, I shared my recent lesson on the God-pivot, for I have had to do that several times since I even realized this good truth and wrote about it!
They are each turning over the victories of their first steps in improving their relationships with their spouses, which will help their spouses, also, to respect them more, honor their wives--they are turning the victories over to God! Not dwelling on the tricks of the devil nor of the backlashes that can come, nor of the effort itself: they God-pivot, just as I must in what was a backlash to me, personally.
I figure it came from my agreeing to God that I would spend the time and energy in writing and talking with the two women who had contacted me within a day of each other, wanting help and insights on each of their issues. I kind of felt that maybe I would be spinning my wheels, and that once more, the insights or advice would not necessarily be taken. Perhaps as a good thing, my own higher pain levels these days (a couple more lung lining nodules appeared on a later scan and the liver pain flares without much provocation), I was more blunt than my usual blunt. Yes, maybe it is a good thing, for somehow the bluntness got through to each.
Anyway, yesterday late afternoon after a day of mostly on the mattress but still struggling to caulk the window trim and put a few things away in the kitchen cabinets--those that are installed--I noticed something not quite right about the sink base cabinet. This is the second one ordered, causing a two-month wait with no sink in the hermitage. Sure enough--the employee at Lowe's had mucked up again! She had ordered the farm-style sink base this time, but it was particle board, not plywood. No one with a modicum of sense would ever have particle board cabinets in a kitchen, let alone as the sink base. Mercy, Lord!
So I had to call and report to the manager, as the employee was not there. At least he did not argue or comment but cooperatively took down the information, and the proper sink base will be ordered. Third time is the charm, right? But I admit that I started to react. A foul word came to mind, which is, as Jesus points out in Scripture, as bad as verbalizing or doing. Now it will be another two months for a sink in here. I thought about my daughter who was going to come lend a hand this month, but said she'd wait until I had a sink.... So she was going to come in August. Now, what, when?
Of course I immediately, when I saw that particle board edge that showed, that I was being given backlash. Just that morning I'd sent the priest a short note, thanking him and assuring him of my prayers for his mission with the parish. (I have more to write about my positive encounter with the priest prior to Mass this Saturday evening last. Yes, it all went well, and the Mass was glorious!)
I had prayed during the day for various persons and situations, including in the world. I had tried hard to remain positive despite the increased liver pain and the right thumb flaring up again from an old drill whip-lash from December. I had to accept that the window trim I'd installed was so-so, for I strive to do all for God (omnia pro Deo!), and with uneven studs, not plumb walls, drywall variance, and a slightly bowed trim board on the longest window and most noticeable, the finished look is not as beautiful as I'd like to be gifting to His Real Presence! But He knows I certainly did my very best under all circumstances, including the heat that causes my bodily tissues to swell and press all the more on damaged nerves. PAIN!
So, we get backlash, and we must continue to train ourselves to assess it, not react or give our best try at not reacting (I said aloud a couple times in the conversation with the Lowe's manager: Lord, give me patience to cope another two months without a sink in the place!), and then God-pivot.
Had a night of so much pain that was awakened at 2:30 a.m., had to take a med, knowing I'd run out sooner. Could not get back to sleep but rested, and with every thought of whatever that had presented as obstacles, including temptation to discouragement, I gave all glory of the victories to God. Repeatedly, I gave glory to God!
What good am I if I do not practice and learn the lessons given to me that I pass on to others and expect of them to at least try?
This morning, when I called the daughter to see if they still planned on coming in August, I had to tell her about not having a sink. Could they cope with that? She said they can come for two days. Of course, I was disappointed. It is not just that I can use all the help I can get, but it is that I would love to have them visit a bit longer and worry about the long drive for them, for but two days. She also said they would sleep in a tent; she did not want to stay in a "haunted house" where some lady is screaming from upstairs.... Well, that is another story for another post.
I did my best to comment that we must never fear such things; that I had immediately prayed for that soul who had been calling out, and that I most likely would have the hermitage blessed before they get here, regardless. But still, they want to sleep in a tent. I can tell that coming here is not the most fun thing on their summer to-do list! I kind of wish they would not do it, for I never want others to risk being tired and then traveling, or with my daughter, for her arm to get more injured. Somehow with the pain in my body for all these years, I dread for others to suffer!
Well, enough of this stream of consciousness sharing. Suffice it to repeat that when we start putting our foot down on the devil, turn to God more and more, try to fulfill our missions as best we can--there will be increasing backlash. We must NOT shrink back, as St. Paul wrote in Hebrews. We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and endure! We must step down all the more regardless of backlash, and all the more pivot all toward God, keeping our thoughts and sights on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith!
God bless His Real Presence in us! Little children, let us love God above all things and love one another as Jesus loves us! Love and Mercy! Humbly persevere!