Dead, Bloated Deer Carcass

texasOne morning, on the drive back from dropping off my husband at work, I saw a dead deer on the side of the road. Face down, in the ditch.  Legs stiff and awkwardly angled.  Black blood pooled in the chest. Trauma no doubt from a barreling SUV or car. Probably happened overnight or in the dim twilight of the dawn. The driver and beast equally startled and mangled either emotionally, physically or both. At the same exact time I saw the deer, I was thinking about three years ago. Weird, God. Weird.
I felt like that dead deer.
In May 2012, I started having breathing problems. I couldn’t catch my breath. I thought I was developing asthma. I also developed a dry cough which further supported my asthma self-diagnosis. I hadn’t been taking my blood pressure medicine for a coupla years because it was so expensive and I didn’t think I needed it. I had no idea that congestive heart failure would be on the horizon. Or that my weight would spiral perilously out of control.  Or that I would eventually have surgery to take out my thyroid because I had 4 nodules/tumors.  3 of which were cancerous.
At the same time I was entering heart failure, I was about to suffer through the most tumultuous time of my marriage. Another type of heart trouble. My health, mental and physical, was dangerous and deadly. I couldn’t get a handle on my emotions, my eating or my spirit.
I pushed my husband away, while at the same time claiming to be on fire for God. I lost myself in the problems of our church. I worked and worked on a volunteer basis to try and serve my pain away. And my world came crashing down on top of my head.
I felt like that dead deer, crashed into, abandoned by the side of the road. I felt not just abandoned. FORSAKEN. Not just accidentally hurt and left, but forsaken. There’s no difference in the dictionary, but in my mind, there’s a difference.
Being lost or abandoned could be a mistake. Such as:  I was lost for five minutes at Worlds of Fun when I was less than five years old. My parents left me in the care of my older sister and she totally bailed on me when she was too tall for the ride we were waiting for. She didn’t say, “Hey, I’m going back to Mom and Dad,” or “Come on, we have to find our way back.” She just bolted and I was disoriented, confused and in tears. She didn’t mean to leave me, she was only two years older than me. She had no concept of caring for a toddler. Thankfully, I was found. Or I found Mom and Dad.
Forsaken means, to me, to have been promised something and then betrayed. With intent. This is really only an implied meaning or a personal definition of the word. And, in the end, has only to do with my skewed perspective. I felt my husband, people, friends, leaders, GOD had promised me this awesome life if I just followed HIM, this church, this brand of religion, these RULES. Or at the very least, I would get emotional gifts if I kept my nose clean, made no major mistakes and served others. But after all of that serving, I felt forsaken.
Well, God doesn’t do that.
The problem was me. I wasn’t doing all good things. I was foolish.  I wasn’t taking care of my health. I was forsaking God and all his plans for my own selfish agenda. I was treating the pain with food (what pain? all pain). I was losing myself in tasks. Seeking out glory for myself. Neglecting my family in the process. Hardening my heart toward a long list of people because they weren’t filling me up fast enough. People were just a gas station instead of my home. I had distorted all the lessons I was learning and twisted them into some personal goal for myself.
Funny how you can look back on who you used to be and breathe a sigh of relief, “At least I’m not that person any more.” Well, you just have a whole new set of old problems that haven’t been resolved yet. That’s what we need to realize. We think we’ve made progress and maybe we have, but we trade one set of circumstances for another.
I was talking to my husband the other day about the Holy Spirit.  That was an interesting conversation.  I was telling him about what my brother, Mike, had said.  My brother and I were debating whether someone has to ask for the Holy Spirit on a daily basis and if the Spirit departs due to sinful behavior.  His words were, “The Holy Spirit is a gentleman.”
Basically, Mike was saying that if we act in an unholy way, sinful, that the Holy Spirit will let us have our way.  The Spirit will step aside and allow us to behave in really negative ways and the fruits of the Spirit will wither and die.  That the Spirit doesn’t leave, he just steps aside.
Wow!  This really hit me.  I had thought that the Spirit just zips back up to heaven when we act like a jerk.  That we had to constantly ask to be filled with the Spirit.  I’m not totally convinced that we don’t need to ask to be filled with the Spirit at certain times, but this was a huge eye-opener.
Then, when trying to explain to my husband this amazing conversation, I stumbled upon a really good metaphor for the Spirit.  The Spirit is in your car.  Your car is your life.  And most of the time we are driving around without GPS.  But, at some point, you can start carpooling with the Spirit.  You call Him up and say, “Hey, I think we are headed in the same direction. Wanna ride together?”
At first, you might still want to drive all the time and decide where and how fast the car should go.  You never stop for directions and you just figure it out along the way.  And the Holy Spirit, being ever-so patient and polite, will let you do that.  And at some further spot down the road, you might let him drive.  Well, He IS the best driver and He seems to know what He’s doing.  He has new-fangled GPS and all the bells and whistles.  But any time you want to drive, the Holy Spirit is a gentleman and will sit in the backseat while you swerve all over the road.  THIS is the Holy Spirit: gentleman driver.
And sometimes, God is the big snowplow/salt truck, carving a path for us.  And we can’t see it because we’re off in a ditch of our own making. Sometimes, we are being prepared and that doesn’t look or feel good. We just need to stay humble and not get caught in the headlights.
We aren’t ever really done-done. If we are done-done, then we are dead-dead. LOL We are an ever-evolving work of art that still needs the master’s touch. Sometimes he has to paint over that entire canvas and start again. How often do we try to do life without God and fool ourselves into believing that we are really following Him or doing good things?
Best thing about being a deer carcass on the side of the road? With God, I’m never truly dead.  I’m no carcass.  I’m a canvas!!  And my heart condition is under control, I lost some weight (80 lbs.) and my cancer-ridden thyroid is gone.  PTL!

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