Is This Your Best or Worst of Times?

Is This Your Best or Worst of Times?

What crazy questions to ask a person with bipolar syndrome! Best or worst? I never know until I look back. When I do I always learn that God has had MY back all along.

This is the best of times.

We are retired. My husband was a salaried engineer and project manager and now he has a barn big enough to play in and big toys (tractors and 4-wheelers) to manage our 36-acre walnut tree farm. I can sew every blessed day  and write about our life on one of several blogs. I struggled with the inherent stress of three careers (paralegal, journalist, social worker) over a period of 40 years and now I am my own boss. Unfortunately, I’m pretty ruthless to my employee. However, our corporate day begins with prayer and Bible study. After that, me, myself and I get along fairly well. God is in control. We are grateful for our health, our relative wealth, our four children and seven grandchildren, our six-friend dinner group, fifty- member church and our larger community. There is love and concern and joy here. We are profoundly happy.

It is the worst of times.

I had to go on steroids for eye surgery four months ago and as of now I have not been able to come down from the mania caused by the medications. I am haggard, under-slept, mean-mouthed, emotionally cold, endlessly chatty, socially pushy and physically twitchy.

Jerry, me and online Bible teacher Pam Gillaspie. Jerry and Pam are the only people who can really tolerate me at this point. Because, well, he’s stuffed and she doesn’t really know me.

My husband and I are in our twentieth year of marriage and he hasn’t had to live with this girl for more than fourteen years. In 2003 I had my last breakdown and got myself into the extremely clean living and strict routines that keep me healthy.

That is, I’ve been healthy until I had to take steroids to be healthy, apparently.

BUT GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME. He is in the midst of this storm. I have been to the altar to confess, the pulpit to testify and I claim the mission field as well by virtue of publishing here. God will not let me fall, He will make this tough time a diamond in our  crowns; when we lay them at Jesus’ feet, we’ll do that together, too. I will survive, my marriage and friendships will survive. Satan doesn’t get to win this round using a simple chemical imbalance.

However and whenever I go home to God, it will not be by my own hand. And that, brothers and sisters, is victory in the worst of times.

Dear God, In Psalm 51:10 David asks that You create in him a clean heart and to renew a right spirit within him. This, too, is my prayer and that You will forgive me the hurt I cause to others in the high places and the hurt I cause myself in the low.  I ask not for straight paths but only that You will accompany me in all my paths. Because He walked in both, I ask it in Your son’s name, Jesus. Amen


The Home Place, Finally, John 17:24


Can’t wait to see the beautiful windows of my home church on Sunday. After two vacation weeks, we rolled into our driveway late Monday evening, exhausted but refreshed. My husband built our log home to welcome me as his new bride about 15 years ago and I have relished its rustic beauty. It has been my second home…but I never forget that heaven is my first.

So where does that leave those lovely stained glass windows? Some Sunday mornings I  enjoy the dappled colors lighting my husband’s face as he listens intently. On those mornings I’m reminded that we are not home yet and can only “…see through the glass darkly.” as the Apostle Paul said. When shall we see clearly? When we are in our first home.  Some weekday afternoons I seek those windows. I can pray in many places besides the church, as we all can, but the ancient walls mute outside sounds and those windows blur movement leaving an environment rich for meditation. I speak to Him in many places but I often hear His answer here. But still it isn’t home. A gathering place, yes, a worship place, oh, yes, but home? No.

I am the grandmother of seven. Only one lives at home. Consider this last paragraph as the caption to this picture taken on the only day he visited us here in our second home.
Wyatt Matthew005

“Hello, Baby Wyatt. I’m Mamaw Tracy and I’ve been waiting so long to hold you. But you already knew that because you have been fighting so hard to get here. Mommy felt you kicking all the time. We are so proud of you. Between you and me, darling, that’s why I’m smiling. I am so proud of you. I’m so happy to welcome you to this place. Look at all these people: Mamaws, Papaws, aunts, uncles, friends and cousins, neighbors and even your pastor! We want you feel our love and our gratitude for coming to let us hold you. And I’m smiling because I know if you don’t stay here you are going home.  Jesus asked his Father to let him have his own (that’s you and me, sweetheart!) to be with Him where he is so we could see His glory. Glory! Wyatt, you may see that glory before I even see the sun today. I’m smiling because you are so close to that glory. You would never see anything like it here.

Oh, Wyatt, one reason we are all waiting to go there because it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be down here. It’s hard Like now, I know your temperature isn’t getting up where your nurse wants it to be…well, it’s like that here on earth. Sometimes it’s just awfully, awfully cold, even when people who love you hold you close. Even when you have a sister who made you your own very handsome quilt. Even when you have a Mommy and Daddy and Sissy who love you enough to make every day of your life here as good as it could be. Knowing they might lose you, knowing this minute that you may not see the light of day, they love you so much. They rejoiced over every sonogram picture, watching you develop. They framed those pictures because you were, are and always will be a part of our family. They gave your life the joy, music and laughter they know as a family. They allowed us to be your family here.

So, sweetest one, I’m giving you back to Mommy now. I have a feeling you will always be my perfect, favorite grandchild. I am still smiling because I know she has done everything right by you and that she would never let you go from your family here unless she knew you were going to your heavenly family. We will miss you every day. We will live our lives in such as way as to see you again, in your new home place, finally.”