I had some router trouble tonight, and as I recently changed from a Linksys to a D-Link, it took a bit of research to find those settings.  I am used to the Linksys and how it works and where to find the router settings.  After a few minutes of searching I located the information I needed and once again reconnected my remote computer to my router.  

This reminded me much of my life, and how I would prefer it to be like the Linksys setup -- easy, predictable and without effort.  Easy as 1, 2, 3. The D-Link on the other hand, left me not only looking for answers to my questions, but also a bit baffled (albeit a short while), and a little perturbed that it was more difficult than I had anticipated.  (In my opinion, I should be able to conquer any computer-related question in a matter of minutes).    

I would love my life to be easy - predictable - without effort.  When I got married, I thought AHA .. this is it .. the zen.. the end of the struggle.  I now can continue on with my life into happiness and peace and tranquility.  How I was wrong!  I would have to say that the easiest portion of my life was before I was married.  Within our first year of marriage, it revolved around a house fire and a multitude of lung collapses for me.  What a way to start my "fairy tale" dream of happily ever after!   It has been a definite laying down of dreams from that point on.  After numerous lung procedures, I had to learn to cut back on my daily hour-long HARD bike rides.   Hmm.. no more POWER Dawna.   Ok, I can do this.  But could I?  After my first son was born, I was then diagnosed with a myriad of illnesses, from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, to Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia.   Life was definitely getting tougher and not on the happy road I had envisioned.  Marriage was tough too.  No doubt with all the hard times that were happening in our home.  Our newborn son pretty much screamed the first two years of his life and no one told him that napping was something that babies did.  (He was a premature colicky baby).  But I digress too much.

What I am trying to get at is that I've had a slow process of cutting things out of my life over the last 20 years.  It wasn't a harsh 'all of a sudden' paralysis like being placed in a wheel chair, but rather a slow (and sometimes torturous) peeling away of things I hold dear.  Over the years, it seems more and more physical abilities have been taken away.  Little did we know that MS held the key to that so long ago.

Through all those years of pain, both emotional and physical, as well as marital strain, somehow I end up here -- still full of emotional and physical struggle, yet coming out with a stronger marriage.  I am very thankful for that. At least ONE good thing!  But it is a day to day process .. one can never relax and say GOOD .. now I can stop working on that. No, I am learning that in every area of your life (for your entire life) you need to keep working.  There is no "happily every after" -- at least on this earth.

I have recently joined a ladies' prayer group.  This is something that was a huge step for me -- for many reasons.   One, I've always had issues with prayer -- or I probably should say "insecurities".  Two, I always grew up relating to guys much better than girls, and so never really had many female friends.   I knew, when I was asked to join, that this was something I had to press myself to do.  I would not let myself say at the end of my life, that I gave up on something that might have produced in me more character, even though it scared me to death.   I must say, the anxiety that wells up within me before each week we meet is not too pleasant, yet I have lately come to realize the source of this anxiety.

For my entire childhood, I have been very insecure.  I was very skinny as a child and often mocked.  I was often made fun of for many reasons.  I don't remember ever having more than one friend at any given time.  I was more a loner... all the way through high school.   I always knew I was insecure, but lately I've realized that it has become more of a talent, so much so, that I've been believing it is my ONLY talent (to be insecure).  Oh how Satan has lied to me all these years, and I've believed him.  Yet, even as I write that, all the voices in my head still say, "that's because it's true.  You have no value, you are stupid.  You are ugly.  You have nothing to stay.  You do talk too much and no one really wants to listen to you anyway.  You have nothing of value to give to anyone.  If you were gone -- no one would notice." The list goes on and on.  Why have I believed that all these years?  It is amazing the power of those thoughts.  I know they hold power because there are tears as I write this.  I feel like a little child cowering in the corner.  How does one break those thoughts?  I think the first step is to become aware of them.  Once you are aware that they aren't from God, you CAN fight against them .. but it will be a fight.  It's all I know.  It's who I've become.  I am so thankful for this group of women that have accepted me and let me "dump" all my fears and insecurities on them.  It is a big fight for me to not run away and feel like I don't belong -- like I'm the outsider who cannot bring anything of value.  I will fight.  I need to instill in my children that they have value because God made them special, just the way they are... how can I do that if I don't believe it myself.  I WILL FIGHT!

I ran into a few songs today that have spoken to this subject in my heart.  Both are from RED.  (Yes the ROCKER continues to live within me .. I don't think that will ever change)

First .. .  Death of Me and secondly Let Go.

Here is an excerpt on Death of Me and it's meaning:
In “Death of Me,” the band steps inside the throes of conflict as an emotionally wounded Michael Barnes laments, “You tear me down and then you pick me up/You take it all and still it’s not enough.” However, the unexpected twist behind the meaning of the lyrics is that YOU are the ‘you’ in the song. “The song is really a regretful introspective moment, where you realize that your own actions have led you down a path you never wanted to take,” says guitarist Anthony Armstrong. “You are the one who keeps tearing yourself down in some kind of vicious cycle that never seems to end.”
(feel free to MUTE and just read the lyrics .. but honestly? it's just not as good!  tee hee hee)

The song, Let Go was a great expression to me of telling Satan where to go.. and that he cannot hold me. I am the Lord's and I will not listen to Satan's lies..

One day at a time..