Monday, October 28, 2013

1 Peter 1:13-16

I've recently started reading through the book of I Peter.  And, because of some things that have been happening in my spiritual life over the past few months, I'm reading it with totally new eyes.  It's been awesome.  It's not like my former beliefs were wrong.  But certain things are coming more alive, and things which confused me are making such clear sense.  I spent hundreds of hours with 1 Peter in a college Greek course, and I've read it dozens of times since, but I'm now getting to experience it in a totally new way.  I love God.  I love that he does that for us.

Formerly, I tended to gloss over the second half of chapter 1.

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

I always interpreted this passage to mean "God saved us, so we should strive to be like him."  And I know I had good reason to because I checked my commentaries.  I'm not alone in that interpretation.  But lately, as I've meditated, I think it also (maybe only) says, "God called you to himself, he will make you holy."  It was the word "sober" that led me to this thought.  It made me think of sobriety from an addiction.  Programs like AA believe that it's only through surrendering oneself to God's care that one will ever become sane, sober, and free from addiction.  Which, really, is the gospel.  We are powerless to save ourselves from sin and can only stop sinning by giving up control of our lives and letting God save us from sinning.

I've always been a little overwhelmed by the statement "You shall be holy, for I am holy."  "I know I shall be God, but how?  I'm trying?  It's not working?"  That's the conversation I'd have some days, but it's not the one I have now.  Now I see this as a promise as much if not more than a command.  "You will be holy because I am fashioning you after myself, and I am holy.  You will, of course, be holy."

That's the best news ever.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


In Georgia, I had a trainer I adored.  I really connected with her style and the way she related to both the humans and the dogs she was working with.  So, when I came to Minnesota, I asked her for a recommendation.  The trainer she recommended was almost an hour and a half away.  I looked around the cities, but wasn't able to find anyone.

Then, I found out that a friend of a friend had trained her dog for very similar tasks and for a very similar purpose as I was planning to train Samwise.  (And there really aren't many people out there that get what I need Samwise to do.)  She and I got together for coffee, and then I observed a class she was a part of.  I talked to the trainer, and I liked her quite a bit.  So I had an option!  Plus the friend-of-a-friend has also offered to help with some of the very-specific-tasks!  (SUCH a blessing!)

Today, I met with the trainer who is an hour and a half away.  Going down, I was a little hesitant because she was a little more expensive and she was so far away.  When I met her, though, things clicked.  Like, maybe even clicked better than I had ever clicked with my trainer in Georgia!  She uses an remote electronic collar, and that really scared me even though everyone I've talked to says it's fine.  I just didn't want to hurt my dog!  She placed it on my hand and had me feel it--it's no less intense that the STEM treatments I've received dozens of times!  And Samwise really reacts to it.  He actually seems to enjoy training more with it--I think because it's clear and direct communication.  Plus, he still gets cookies.

I also liked the pace at which the trainer worked.  Right now health wise, my brain moves more slowly than it has in the past, but I'm still motivated and intense at heart.  Annalissa moved fast enough to keep me feeling challenged but not so fast that I wanted to cry when I got home.  (I've done that.)  It feels realistic.  Also, with the PTSD being so intense right now, I have trouble in groups and in situations where I'm being observed.  A regular group class has both.  Annalissa obviously watches me work, but it's really laid back and supportive.  I also think our personalities click, so I'm less nervous working with her than I have been with any other trainer.  Which is good, because training is intense as it is.

Finally, she's goal oriented and realistic.  She realizes that I'm driving a long way, and she doesn't want this to drag on forever.  In fact, she thinks we might be able to do most of the work in as little as four sessions!

So far, I've taught Samwise sit, stay, down, heel, off, stand, come, and place, but things aren't always 100% as sharp as they need to be.  So, this week, we're stepping back and reviewing some of the basics with the new collar to help.  Even tonight, I noticed a huge difference.  I'm so excited to see my dog responding so well!  It's so fun to watch puppy Samwise slowly becoming big-boy-adult Samwise :-)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tornado Post

So first of all, I know my last few post have been really depressing.  Like, the last few months have been depressing.  I promise I'm not miserable all the time.  But I lost my job, and I moved halfway across the country, and I'm really, really sick . . . so I'll be positive soon.  But not tonight.
The tornado's really been weighing on my mind a lot lately.  Because I'm realizing that a lot of my current struggles can be traced back to it, can be traced back to the PTSD.  I actually had a doctor tell me that earlier this year--that some of my problems are magnified because of the untreated PTSD--and it was like a light went off in my brain.

Then, I thought, yay!  All I have to do is deal with the PTSD and my health, my emotions, my life will be SO MUCH BETTER!  But . . . that wasn't the case.

Because PTSD is big.  The tornado was big.  SO.  BIG!  So I can't wave a magic wand and make it all go away.  The tornado has had five and a half years to mess up my life in various ways (and my life has had five and a half years to mess itself up as a result of the tornado), so clean-up duty isn't going to happen overnight.

It's discouraging.  I've been angry.  I've been confused.  How could something that happened five years ago have such a huge affect on my life?  How could one night of trauma slowly undo so much?  Why do so many other people from Union lead normal lives while I live with my parents, working part time, and struggling to hold my health and my sanity together?

But something good has been happening, too.  I've been asking these questions, and God's been listening.  He hasn't always given me clear, concrete answers.  But he's made me very aware of his presence, of his omniscience. 

I know that at the heart of this, the problem is that I felt like I lost control over my life during the tornado, and that scared me to death.  I've known that that control is something I'm not supposed to have--God is.  I've had therapists, even, tell me, "Just give the control over to God!"  I've been trying to do that for five years, I promise you.  But I think at least one new thing has happened.  I now *want* to be in a place where I no longer need that control but am okay surrendering it to God's care.  I gues that's a pretty good first step.