Friday, August 4, 2017

This and that and a whole lot of rambling

I guess the best way to get these thoughts written down is just to write and not over think the flow or if it makes sense. And as always it's a good chance this has been written before - memory she isn't what it used to be - if it ever was good, I can't remember!

A couple or so weekends ago I went walking on some trails this happened to also be a weekend where the heat index was well in the low 100's. To my credit I really didn't know that it was going to be that hot. I found out quick when I started walking except see I'm kind of a weakling at times when it comes to pain and such so I just had a suck it up buttercup and walk. Plus to be honest I don't always have a lot of energy and I've for quite some time not really been physically, emotionally and such able to make myself little alone want to go walking so that day I found enough gumption if you will to go and I was going to make myself walk. Except I pushed myself a little to much. That's kind of got me thinking. I think there is a fine line sometimes with that. In life - it's never a straight path - narrow, curvy, bumpy, mountains and valleys - that I can sell and buy - but I can't the straight and easy path - never trust anyone that tries to sell you that package deal. That day I tried to push myself but I pushed to much. I think there may be a fine line between staying in your comfort zone and pushing yourself to much. And it's that sometimes easy, sometimes road that looks impossible to navigate - that lovely road we call life.

I don't have kids but I've always heard it takes a village to raise a kid - you know what I think - it takes a village to raise us all - adult or child. I had a line from the song Words by Hawk Nelson come to mind today and that was - "Words can build you up, words can break you down. Start a fire or put it out." If I'm honest my words have been breaking me down and putting out the fire. But back to the village thought for a second. My thought process is weird and as fidgety as I often am especially when I am nervous or bored. Close to where I live is Fort Boonesboro and I got thinking about that and how in a fort there is this big wall/fence to protect the people inside. Now generally you got several families in that fort - but see for a long time I built my own little fort and I wouldn't let anyone in. Over the years I have let a few in - at least so far in but I still kept them at a distance. That's not safe though on so many levels. See in a fort you need all the people in the village to help protect and help you survive. When I am in the fort by myself I can't watch out for any attacks of a predator, take care of the garden so I have, make any repairs to the houses or walls, and so many other things. That's to much for one person to do. And then before long the fort and village falls in despair. Now I've had people that will knock on the door and I will or would open the door a little or open the little window in the door so I could talk to them but not let them in. Here's why I say it takes a village no matter how old you are - because one, I believe we meet everyone for a reason and two because those people can help you. Some people we meet and we're just supposed to have that passing meeting with them which can often have a very powerful impact so don't downplay that simple smile, hi or compliment that you feel you need to tell someone in passing. Some people are meant to stay for a season - some a short season and some a long season - a lifetime kind of season - I think those are the people that God knits in your life. All of these people help you, they help make your village stronger and better and they can help make the walk a little bit more bearable on the rough days and more fun on the other days. Because we all have been through something and we all have something to offer. I'm not the best at everything, good at some things and can barely get by on a lot of things. However, in my strengths I can help myself and use that to make the repairs I can in my fort and use it to help make repairs in others forts or villages and in my weaknesses that's when I can go to someone that has been through it or can encourage me. Maybe their one that can till the garden or plant that seed of hope or water that seed of faith that I neglected for so long while I was repairing other things. I don't know if any of this makes sense at all. Maybe you have these kind of people in your life now and maybe you're like me and sometimes keep them at a distance and God bless those ones that still stick around and when you do open that door they are standing there with a smile and open arms. Do you have those people in your life that just talking to them or getting a hug from or just seeing them makes you feel better? Those are awesome people to have in your village. Those ones that will set you straight but will also just be there. And extra bonus if that person is one that knows when it's the right time to do either or both of those.

I guess what I'm trying to say is be careful the words you say to others and to yourself because those words can easily become the predator that is trying to invade and destroy your village. And be careful who you let in your village not everyone will be there to help you but don't let that cause you to never let anyone in. I can tell you from experience that's not a wise decision. Because if you keep everyone out but let that one in that wasn't there to help well now you're in trouble cause you are having to fight your enemy on your own and you have no unknown strategy or battle plan cause the enemy has seen what he is against. However, if you let others in then when the enemy is unmasked well now you got more people behind you that can lift you up when you fall, encourage when those words are being said and trying to tear you down and put the fire and you got more people that can help come up with battle plans. Cause some of them may have had to fight the same enemy. I'm thankful for the people that God has placed in my village because they have and are helping me in so many ways and it's a lot less lonely now. They are helping make this road more fun to travel.

I get random verses and lines from songs stuck in my head so I often come up with an unintentional new song! As previously mentioned I had that line from the song by Hawk Nelson come to mind and then I had the line I'm on the battlefield for my Lord come to mind - I don't know why and I know it is so random. But with some of the things I have been facing I think I need to be more careful with my words to others and myself because sometimes that becomes a battlefield and what words I use and think can easily determine whether I win or lose.

And I'm a winner. I'm an overcomer. All days aren't going to be perfect but I won't let the bad days win and take over.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Where Did I Put That Title At?

If overthinking burned calories, I'd be skinny. That's how I feel right now, okay all of the time. At the moment I am very much over thinking if I should write this and how I should write this. I think I will just write and if anyone reads it them and myself can be surprised.

I recently saw a video on Facebook someone shared and it was of Lisa Harper and she was talking about her adopting her daughter from Haiti. Give you a brief synopsis of it but she was never married, was abused and she never had any biological children but wanted a kid. She had two failed adoptions and then she met a little girl, had a lot of health problems including being HIV+. She started the process of adopting her Missy and it took two years before it was finaled. When she went to get Missy she had been neglected by the people at the orphanage and she was in a corner off to herself. In the video she talks how she was getting frantic cause she couldn't find her daughter and when she did find her she went to her and squatted in front of her and said, Baby, it's Mama and when Missy realized who it was she reached up to her and Lisa picked her up. And she said, my child will never again know what it's like to not have somebody who loves her. Fantastic story, I will share a link at the end that you can watch all of the story if you want. 

I loved thier story, it just was one of those it made my heart happy. I have heard people say they admire people that can adopt a kid that isn't their own or I have heard people say they would never adopt if they couldn't have a child of their own they wouldn't take care of someone else's. Not really a fan of either of these statements - despise the last statement but that has a little personal reasons behind it too I think. Obviously everyone is entitled to their opinion. I have always said I would love to adopt a child one day - I am single, never married, probably never will be married and the biological clock is quickly winning on making sure I don't have any children. And if I never get married, never have kids it's perfectly okay with me. But back to adoption, have you ever thought about that, not if you would or wouldn't and why or why not but what it means to be adopted. In I believe it is Romans 8, somewhere around 14-17 Paul writes to no longer be slaves to fear you have been adopted. And in a commentary I read how in those days a slave could be adopted into a family and they were no longer treated as a slave they carried the family name, they were treated as a son of the family, received an inheritance and all. They belonged. They had a name. They had a family. And that's how it is when you get saved and God adopts you. And you know when someone gets adopted now that's how it is. They get a new last name. They get a family. They have love. They belong. And though I have never been there I in some ways can I think understand just what that means.  I've not been adopted by a family by going through paper work and all that but I feel like I have been adopted in a way by what I call my spiritual parents, my mom and pop. But I am always in awe of how things work out and how they do work out in the best way in the best time. You know Lisa had two failed adoptions she was no doubt very discouraged but in the end she got her baby girl. I say it all of the time I don't believe you ever meet anyone by mistake and I think that for someone who has trouble with relationships of any degree I always wondered if God was even listening but if I would ever know or understand well what it was like to have a mom. And I have. I am. So I haven't been adopted but I have been adopted. And best of all God has adopted me. You know struggling all of my life not feeling like I belonged, unworthy of love, and such to find out God loves me and thinks I am worthy and saved me and adopted me, that's a big deal. 

Anyway, moving on I have also been seeing reminders and just thinking of David and Goliath. And how we all have giants we have to face at one time or another, sometimes several times. I picture the day David went down to the camp like this. He drops off the stuff sees the soldiers around maybe some are sitting some standing and others pacing but none acrig like they are going to face this giant. I imagine David hearing Goliath and looking at this giant looking back at the camp and thinking what are y'all doing. Seriously, no one has faced this guy yet, I don't get it I can take him. Sometimes I think we are David and sometimes I think we are the soldiers in the camp when it comes to facing our giants. Some days we are like the soldiers in that we start out amped up and whoo! I'll take the giant down today and we race to where the giant is only to see him and hear the mocking, the lies and suddenly fear takes over and we are like nope, maybe I should do one more situp get eight hours of sleep tonight and I will so win him tomorrow. Some days we are David though and we just walk into camp and see the giant and think really, you again, let me go pick me out some stones cause I am taking you down today. I ain't listening to you running your mouth anymore. Speaking of the stones there seems to be a big thing about that, why David picked out so many knowing he would only need one. I wonder if maybe he took that time to pray. And it took him finding five perfect stones to get through praying. So now before he even gets to his point David has heard his brother tell him just go on back home shepherd boy, what do you think you can do (paraphrasing, read 1 Samuel 17 for the whole story) then Saul says who are you and then tried to make him wear his armor, which no doubt was the best of the best but David said I can't wear this not cause he wasn't worthy but because he knewthat armor was made for Saul, he had practiced and been to battle in that armor but David hadn't. See David's armor looked a little different. Sometimes the armor we have to wear to battle isn't the fancy armor sometimes it's just a staff, a sling and five smooth stones. So now David is facing the giant and Goliath is running his mouth and says what they have sent a boy to fight me and you know he scoffs and says this isn't even a challenge I won't even break a sweat, will break this kid like a twig. In fact in one translation apparently Goliath didn't even see the sling and stones he just sees David with his staff and he says they have sent a boy with a stick to fight me. So David listens to Goliath and then he says you come against me with a shield and a sword but I come against you in the name of the Lord. And David picks out his sling and that stone and let's it go and it hits Goliath right in the forehead and knocks him to the ground. But David doesn't stop there - see sometimes I think when we fight a giant we get the stone to hit and knock the giant down but we don't finish the job we just celebrate or think we'll that's good enough he won't get back up and bother me anymore. But David completed the job and completed and won the fight.  David defeated the giant with the giants own sword. Sometimes we have to defeat our giants using their own swords if you will. I was told one time that when the lies and stuff start coming back at me to just start speaking the truth and remind the enemy where he is going, fight him with his own sword if you will. I ain't saying it's an easy fight and sometimes we need help, we need encouragement, maybe that's what David was doing when he got the other stones cause he had heard the tone of his brother and no doubt whispers of others, maybe he took that extra time to say Hey God, I know you are going to fight this fight and we're going to win but can you just give me a little encouragement, a little reminder and maybe David remembered the times he fought the animals with his bare hands and God helped him win. Point being it took fourth days for Goliath to fall but he fell by a little shepherd boy, so don't let anyone say you can't do something because of  your age, size or status. Don't focus on the lies the giant spews out if you have to take you a few extra minutes to get your course and just pray and pick up a few extra stones while youbare praying. And on those giants you need help fighting, don't be ashamed to accept the help. 

Lastly, I recently wrote a poem and always try to share them on here so here it is: 

 Once wore a coat of many colors
Betrayed, rejected and abandoned by others
Thrown  in the pit in the dark
It all seemed so bleak and stark

Soon the fears I began to believe
But I was only being deceived
Being consumed by the fire
But fear is a liar

Being rocked to sleep
By a lullaby so sweet
Rockabye baby - it's time
Wake up from these lies and climb

This load was never yours to carry
You will live and not be buried
Though it has tried to cause harm
Those chains have been disarmed

It is time for you to fly
Show the world your smile
From the dark I was rescued
Now the truth is my  new view

https://www1.cbn.com/video/700clubinteractive/2017/07/3/700-club-interactive-july-3-2017

Monday, July 3, 2017

Love Broke Through

"Turtles feel your love when you pet their shells. They can't feel your fingers, but love goes through anything."
~ Andrew Watson (Age 9)

I saw this on a page on Facebook. You know sometimes when we grow up we make things so complicated and spend to much time trying to find the perfect advice, to word it just right, or don't ever even say it cause we're afraid of the reaction. That's when you just so happen to stumble across something a nine year old kid said and you think well there you go. It really is that simple isn't it.

I am not the best at accepting or probably even showing love. And can I be honest, sometimes those old fears of rejection and abandonment pop up and I forget the truth and get busy pushing people away and building walls up. Yes I let my fear become bigger than my faith. I lose hope. I focus on the mistake. I feel like a failure. I feel like Peter in the Bible. That moment when he realized he did indeed deny Christ three times and he as soon as that last denial was spoken he heard the rooster crow.

Can you imagine how Peter felt? I think I know all to well. I imagine if you could go back in time and see Peter's face his eyes got big and you could see the realization spread across his face. You could see the fear of oh no what have I done to the remorse and sincere apologies and repentance for what he did. And Peter was immediately forgiven but I don't think Peter forgave himself that easily. And I love how Jesus specifically takes the time and talks to Peter. He assures him that he still loves him, he has been forgiven and yeah you messed up but you're gonna be restored.

I wonder if after the three times Peter denied him he focused so much on those failings and how he had told Jesus that Lord you know I love you I am ready and willing to go to prison and death with you. And if he beat himself over that so much that he forgot what Jesus said to him...And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren ( Luke 22: 31-32). I wonder this because if I focus on my failures and fears I can't hardly hear or remember the truth and I think Peter would have found great encouragement in remembering what Jesus told him.

Jesus never said well I just wasted my time asking you to follow me. He knew what would happen and He prepared Peter without him even realizing it at the time. Peter was so focused on I'll do anything for you Lord, I would never do these things. Yeah Peter about that, never say never. I always say Peter was the first recorded instance of why you should never say never. But I ain't putting Peter down. I've been right there. Now I love two things specifically that Jesus told Peter. One He said he prayed for Peter. He prayed his faith would not fail - now I imagine after his betrayal Peter felt like a failure - that his faith had failed that Jesus would never love him the same, nothing would be the same again with his relationship with Jesus. But Jesus also told him before he even denied him that Peter would be return. He didn't say if, didn't say well if you do his work and this then maybe I mean I may think about it. Nope. He said when. When you return to Me.

And I find great encouragement in that. I have let down God many times. I have let down others. I have gotten scared and tried to push people away. Because I am convinced I have done to much now. Why in the world would God forgive me again? Why would someone be willing to still let me stick around? Love. God loves me. And God has placed people in my life that love me and He placed people that will encourage me, pray for me and hold me accountable that I think will even help me see things without the distorted view I have for so long seen myself and how to walk - now I have he most responsibility to accomplish this I know but sometimes we need help too.

So in John 21 Peter jumps out of the boat to get to the land when they see Jesus there. And in this chapter (verses 15-19) Jesus asks Peter three times do you love me. Now by the time he asks Peter the third time do you love me Peter is hurt. Here I imagine he is remided of the three times he denied Jesus, perhaps shame is reeking big time and maybe the lies are starting to whisper see Jesus doesn't even believe you was truly repentant, you wasn't sorry, you'll just mess up again, you are such a failure. But Peter also I think has a moment of his pride gets taken down too and sometimes we need that. Our pride can hinder us. And he is humbled. So he doesn't answer Jesus like he may have at one point, Lord I love you more than any other. By this third time he says Lord you know all things - Lord can't you see, surely you can see that I love you. Peter is dying to self and finding a deeper love and reliance, a stronger relationship with the Lord.

So what I find very hopeful in all of this is that yeah I mess up. I push people away, I fail at loving people, I let pride get in the way. I fall. A lot. But sometimes I have to fall to get my pride stripped away. To be humbled. To be reminded I am not perfect but I am still loved.

I had this picture in my head last night as I was struggling to go to sleep because I messed up and was really worried I messed up beyond fixing it. And I don't know why I have this image but I picture this flower in a box, wilted down then the box gets open and the flower gets some light and it lifts its head just a bit. Now it's been planted in new ground and a butterfly comes up to it and it lifts its head a little more. What is this creature talking to a wilted, worthless flower like me but the butterfly reminds the flower it is loved and soon the flower is growing and standing tall and the butterfly is still there and they are friends that help each other and remind each other how they matter.

Some days I am the flower. Some days I am the butterfly. Some days you think you messed up to much but love goes through anything - even a turtles shell.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Living on a Prayer

I recently saw a sign on a church that said something along the lines of Is your prayer well done or rare. Now I'm thinking it means when you pray are you really taking the time to pray and talk to God instead of saying okay God I got a minute before I need to check Facebook again here is what I want, umkay bye. However, my mind also went this route. I have a friend who when he orders meat at a restaurant he gets it rare and he tells them that he wants it as pink as they are allowed to serve it. I saw that because when I think rare in this sense I think raw, when I think raw and prayer I think real and honest. To me a rare prayer is going to God and just laying it out there, having a look God you know the truth you know how I really feel about this so let's just be real, I'm having a hard time forgiving this person, I'm having a hard time understanding why I am having to go through this, or I'm just having a rotten day - one of those type of prayers. And if I'm honest when I have one of those prayers one I feel better and I also never can get through one without crying and usually having a well I feel better moments afterwards - like one of those you sigh and are like okay it's not fixed magically now but I can see there is a bigger picture, I may get some peace or joy or comfort. On the other side of me thinking about this when I thought well done, I almost thought of it as well rehearsed. You know we know what to say - those now I lay me down to sleep I pray the Lord my soul to keep type prayers. Those we spend to much time trying to sound all elegant and dare I say righteous and holy. It can turn into a Pharisee prayer one of those look at me and how well and long I can pray, listen to what words and how many scriptures I can quote in a prayer. I'm not saying there's nothing wrong with this type of well done prayer - okay well it shouldn't ever be about look at me - but there's nothing wrong if you want to use elegant words but I think it becomes bad when it's rehearsed and just going through the motions, a prayer that becomes we are afraid to be real and we think we have to say so many of this and so many of that but we never get to the real issue we never take the time to really spend with God or take the time to listen to God. With that being said I never really knew how to pray or what it really was all about - and that is the honest to goodness truth. I still have my moments where I'm just not sure how to pray or I am afraid to be real with God. And some times I think we all have those moments when we pray when we are like that book by Judy Blume, Are You There God, It's Me Margaret. You have prayed and it just doesn't feel like God is there listening no matter what you say or how you say it - but that isn't true. That's just a lie to try to make you feel more isolated and alone. A good tactic to try to fight and destroy a person and to further make them feel hopeless but it's a tactic that you can destroy. Sometimes you got to step back and rework a strategy to combat an attack from the enemy. And that's okay - it's good to mess the enemy up when he thinks you will get destroyed by something but wait when he goes in for the attack you have thrown in your own trick and are there to attack in a way that he didn't see coming. And sometimes you got to go get help and have others to have your back to help you fight, sometimes you get wounded and you need someone to help nurture, encourage, and help you get back to good health and to watch your back while your recuperating. And don't ever feel bad if you can't give a long elegant drawn out prayer because we all pray different. Some days it doesn't take long to say what you need and some days you need to vent!

I was recently reading in the book of Ephesians and I can't recall the chapter or verse off hand  (Chapter 2, maybe) but in that verse it started out with....But God...and I read the commentary and it said something along the lines of those are the two most welcoming words written together in the bible. And I agree. It kind of talks about how people was then it goes into but God still showed mercy and grace and love and forgiveness. I was selfish, prideful, unforgiving, full of hate and hurts and so much more but God still loved me through it all and was waiting for me. It reminds me of the song Amazing Grace - I once was lost but now I am found ---you could even say I once was lost but God found me (and was like the father to the prodigal son was running and excited to see me even in the mess I was in). I recently saw a cartoon depicting Jesus and this person pushing Him away (I can't find it to copy it on here but I believe Dong Haeng is the artist). In it it shows a person hiding behind a cover and curtain type thing and Jesus is saying I want to see you better, I want to see you closer. I love you. In another frame the person is throwing stones at Jesus but Jesus stands there with his hands behind is back just taking it and then the person hides behind a wall and Jesus says, I want to hug you warmly. I wish you would look at Me again, I love you...to which the person stays hid behind the wall and says leave me alone!! It then shows Jesus placing something on the other side of the wall without saying anything and going back and sits down. It is then he says, When you feel better, just lift our head up a little. I will be there. I want to see you. I love you. The person is still hiding behind the wall, head down and next frame it shows Jesus still there. When the person looks up they look into the mirror and see Jesus is indeed still there after all of that and the last frame has - When life is hard, just lift your head up a little because that is when the Lord is closest to you (and speaking from experience I know sometimes it doesn't feel like this but what comfort it is to know or be reminded of it). That illustration hit a little to close to home because that is me. I have done that not only with God but with people too. I think that is another perfect example though of but God - through all of that He was still there. I guess the point is that no matter what your situation is please don't ever give up and your but God could be just around the corner.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Up, Up and Away

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. - Proverbs 12:25

 Sometimes I feel like my thoughts are getting sent across a bad connection, like trying to talk to someone on the phone with a bad connection so they are cutting in and out and you don't always get to hear the complete sentence....or that I am getting what seems like random frames to what will eventually all be put together and made into a movie. A movie at which one day I will set back and watch and I will realize it is of my life and if you are sitting next to me I'm going to warn you I will hit you and proclaim, "Oh this is a really good part!" (I would daresay I would knock the fire out of you and yes, fire would be pronounced as far but it wouldn't be to purposefully hurt you, I just get excited and I just happen to hit people. Like when you have that good hearty laugh, hit someone and say shut up/get out...what no one else does that?! I am also a fan of the good hearty laugh that doubles you over and you are crying from laughing so much, stomach hurts, can't breath...love that.). That was a long drawn out way of saying I have been having some short random thoughts, images and ideas popping in my head so I thought I would write, I would say write about them but who knows if that will actually happen!

Somehow it is already June which means we're halfway through the year...who finds the skip button for it to already be June but one Monday or the last thirty minutes of work can feel like it is five years long. I've often heard of people finding a word or theme for the new year when it starts, I've never really done that, but I admire that people do that. I have however noticed that quite often throughout the year certain words, phrases or themes seem to pop up a lot. Maybe it's the procrastinator in me and my words just show up at the last minute when I need them! I recently got to take a short trip and see the ocean and I was standing at the edge as the waves and tide would come in and the waves would hit me. Some of the waves would look like they was going to be massive and strong when they was a little further out but by the time they got to me they wasn't bad at all and some took me by surprise and there was some waves that would almost curve and swoop over towards me even though they had started out on the opposite side of where I was standing. At one point I standing and a wave, actually several, took me by surprise and was more stronger than I had planned on, actually I wasn't prepared at all for it and it knocked me back and I was losing my footing. I stumbled around and back as more waves were coming at me but I somehow managed to stay standing and ultimately got my balance back. I say that to say that those waves are kind of like life. As I was standing there watching and listening to the waves sometimes I got caught up and trying to determine how big and strong a wave may be and so focused on a certain wave that I missed another one that almost knocked me down and if I wasn't careful I was so focused on what could go wrong or afraid I would be knocked down I forgot to just be in the moment and enjoy the view and the sounds of the waves. Life is like that sometimes we can get so focused on worrying about what could go wrong or wow that problem looks huge from afar I better run back to shore only to find out it was barely a ripple by the time it got to you. Or we get so focused on how many waves or problems or how far you have to go that you don't enjoy the beautiful surroundings and the people that are in your life. To use a phrase that someone has been telling me a lot don't worry, be happy. Because when I just took the time and looked at all of the waves and just let the sound calm me instead of intimidate or worry me I realized I was actually not only better prepared for the waves, I was enjoying all of it. I was living and that's what I want to do. I want to have fun, be joyful and live. Be happy.

Earlier I mentioned words and themes and sometimes I think I have the same words and themes play and I don't necessarily think that is a bad thing and to be honest sometimes it just takes me awhile to get it. If I was to make a current list of those words or themes I think mine would be: Trust, Do Not Fear, Be Strong and Courageous, Patience, and It's Your Time. And I think this may be my most favorite list so far in my life. This is the part of the movie that if you are sitting next to me I would probably hit you! I'm fairly certain I have wrote several times that trust does not come easy to me, I have and to some degree still struggle with trusting God, others and even myself but I am doing better. I struggle with asking for help too and I am learning to do that but see when I'm going through things I many times try to fight it all by myself. Recently I had a bit of a battle going on in my head with some lies and doubts and fears and I am fortunate to have a few people that I can go to and talk and a couple that I feel comfortable enough to go to and just be honest. Well during this particular little battle I thought I needed to talk but I had this thought that no, you can't tell them that, they'll think you are crazy and they are getting tired of dealing with you if you keep going to them they are going to leave. Some days I believe this and just try to hide away but I'm getting better at thinking one yes this could be true and how it ends up or this is just a lie that is trying to isolate me from others and I will fight it and have my well let's just see which one is right and I will talk to the person/people. Thus far can I just tell you the record is that thought is a lie. Every. Single. Time. Big ol' lie. Do not fear and be strong and courageous kind of go together. I struggle to have any kind of confidence in myself little alone God and others. And I have a lot of fears but I have and am conquering them. I recently got a letter and in it the person mentioned a hot air balloon. Now all of my life I would dream of flying to escape, growing up and even well into my adult life I would hide within myself and I would wish I could just fly away, to soar above it all for that brief moment of peace. So I find it kind of funny because in the last couple of years it started out as someone telling me that God was saying it was time to move forward and though I may be like a train with a heavy load starting out it's slow moving forward but it's moving and I feel like that's me. Then in the past year a butterfly and now a hot air balloon has been mentioned. I think it's time to fly. The person that mentioned the hot air balloon, one knows nothing at all about my story and in part they mentioned that it was time to dump the sand bags that hold the balloon down and it's time to soar above the circumstances that have basically been holding me back. And I hope this doesn't come across as arrogant cause I don't mean it that way at all but I think in many ways I am stronger than I have ever given myself credit for and I also feel the themes of, well actually all of the phrases ties in to relying on God - always trust God, do not fear cause God is always with me, Be strong and courageous cause God is by my side, Be patient because God is working everything out and it's time to take back what was stolen and live. And I guess that basically covers all of my words because I am not always the most patient person but I am learning and I really feel that it's my time. It's time for this quiet rambling girl to discard the sandbags of lies so I can soar in my hot air balloon and take back what I for so long believed I never ever deserved or would get. And not only that but to stop worrying and be in the moment and love and just have those fun times with the people that God has placed in my life. I again struggle with that...I can't quite grasp or maybe even accept fully that God would care enough to put these people in my life - I tend to always say God is playing a cruel joke on them but am learning and realizing that's not true. I can tell you what is true - that God has placed some amazing people in my life and they not only are great friends but many knowingly or not are like family and some have stepped up in major ways and are more like a parent or some I feel like they are more like a sibling. And I'm grateful for each of them and for the patience they have to deal with me! A couple years or so ago I wrote a poem that I called Goodbye Fear, Hello Hope and so often it seems when one conquers a lie, doubt or fear that there is that moment of celebration but the fear, lie and doubt of you really didn't win this, it's going to come back is right there whispering. I'm finally learning I have the power to fight back and I can win that fight. It might not be an easily won fight or a fight I win in one day or the first round but I'm not going to quit fighting because I'm going to soar. And it's okay and way past time to let others in and not be afraid to love them and let them love me and be there for me and just to have those days where we can laugh and have fun as well as those days where we can just be there for each other. I am still a somewhat work in progress on how to do that but I am getting there, because I've spent enough time worrying about those waves, it's time to be happy.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

 Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. - Proverbs 3: 5-6

But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. - Isaiah 40"31
 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Kindness

I saw a video today that was made back in the fall of 2016 - or that's when it was originally posted on Facebook - but it was of this guy that set out to do anything nice or helpful for anyone he saw. The video showed people just ignoring him, getting away from him as fast as they could, saying no, hesitantly saying yes and questioning why he wanted to help. There was one that said to do something for the next person (pay the bus fare for that person) and one said they needed help with something but it would take longer than they had and he said no I have time. This got me thinking about some things. I have no doubt from the beginning of time to some degree there has always been that distance or hesitance when confronted with something like this but sometimes it feels like in a time where we have so many ways to be in touch with people and be there for people we are further away if that makes sense. Like we are literally beside someone or we have so many ways to contact people with that little phone in our hands yet it feels like people feel more alone and isolated now than maybe ever. I'm hesitant to write that because I don't want to get all nostalgic because that is a very, very tricky path. I don't want to glamorize the past and especially so much that I just add to the maybe not so positive things that we face today and further isolate and get to the point where I can't appreciate the good in the now. Nostalgia can be good but I don't want to focus so much on the past that I'm not in the now and I don't live and appreciate the now. But as I was watching that video I got the impression that it feels like somehow we fall in one or more of the category of wondering what the persons ulterior motive is to help us in the first place - that you aren't helping me just to help me, what do you want in return...or pride - that one can trip you up real good...or we seem to be afraid that it will make us look selfish or weak or even a bother if we ask or accept help and perhaps that's just the culture here in America - none of those are true, we're human and this life is difficult not only do we need help sometimes even it's just help carrying groceries in but we need that connection...we think we're wasting people's time, the being a bother - all of the best gifts I have ever received have been when people have taken their time and helped me by listening or helping with something. To me time is the most precious gift to give or receive. I don't think I am writing this like I want to to say what I really want to. In the video he wasn't going to be able to celebrate his friends birthday the following week so he made a little cake and went when he could go and celebrated her and her birthday early and her reaction to that was one of you could see that she was appreciative and someone in awe that someone cared and she was moved to tears. I like to think that there are more people out there that are showing these acts of kindness and it's just that the bad unfortunately gets more attention - it's not that there is more bad but it some how gets glamorized and more attention. Also not sure what that says. But it does seem like that there is a bit of a look of shock when someone has something nice done for them even if it's just holding the door open for someone. I guess if there was to be some kind of point to this is that you don't have to set out to do so many acts of random kindness to so many strangers, you don't have to have a degree, well known name or loads of money to make a difference. Some how it seems that it has even become a competition of how to up the acts of kindness - never should it be about that. There's studies that show social media has made people feel more alone and isolated than ever before. First don't ever compare your life to others - at all - but also for sure not on those few words and a snap shot. You know when I take pictures and share them the people aren't seeing all the ones I deleted and the ones that didn't turn out like I envisioned or wanted. One may be blurry, or it just didn't show the idea I had in my head like I thought it would, or another reason. Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't post them too because though they aren't what I and many others would say is the perfect picture there is still something to be seen and learned from that picture. Same with life. Same goes for that book of how life is supposed to go that people refer to so often - which I think hinders and causes more harm than anything. Because to me that would be so boring if we all lived a life where at a certain age we graduate school, another age we get a dream job and another age get married have the 2.5 kids dream house and picket fence. That's awesome if that happens for you or you are working toward that. To be honest I think to many get lost in that and they think that's their dream and that they are a nobody if they don't have that and it's so far from the truth. You can make fun of me and I may be wrong in this but I think we all have something to offer and it's not all of the same thing, we each have something unique in some way and we all have different paths that we have walked and will walk. And part of that is so we can help each other out along the way. If we all walk the same path again that would be so boring, I hate repetition and stuff, like for me I want to see and do as much as I can there is so much out there. My path has and is different than yours and we each have something to offer and help each other along the way. I'm a firm believer you never meet or have anyone come into your life on accident and sometimes you're really fortunate to have those people that God knits into your life. And we need those passing strangers that offer to hold the door open or that stranger that paid for your coffee or just smiled and/or gave you a compliment but those are so important just like having those constant people that God knits into our lives. I'm so thankful for both. Sometimes life does get dark and lonely and you just feel crushed by the weight of the bad and you try to focus on the good but some days, oh some days you need that assurance. That one little act of kindness that sparks a light in the midst of your darkness and that little ember hits the wick to the light and it lights up the room or the path. I also like to think that those moments that someone comes to your mind and you want to call them or give them a gift or just let them know you were thinking of them, or that stranger that you feel this urge to help in whatever way, or so many other examples I think there is a reason for that and though it may seem silly to you, one should always just go with it because that just may be the thing that someone needed. You know I've had times where I just felt so alone and I thought God are you there, do I even matter and someone would send me a text or I would see someone and they gave me a hug, I had a stranger one time I was at Logan's eating by myself and was really struggling with some lies and just anxiety in general and there was a lady sitting at the table in front of me also eating by herself and I'll never see that lady again, she didn't know me but she paid for my meal that day and I'll never forget that. To me that was nothing small and I still can't believe that she did that but it meant so much. One she spent her money on me but also that for whatever reason she saw me that day and again for whatever reason decided to pay for my meal. But I've also encountered someone that just smiled and it encouraged me. They say you don't know the battle that someone you're standing next to may be going through and that is so true and I think that's why the best gift you can give someone is your time - the time to smile, ask how are you, just listen or give advice, give that shoulder to cry on. Or whatever is something that you are good at to help people cause again I think we all have some way that we are good at and best able to help. Cause there are so many different ways that the bad can attack and if we work together good wins. Good always wins and I'll believe that until I die. So don't ever get so focused on how many people you can or have helped or that you don't have the means to help. I appreciate all of the gifts and material things I have gotten from people and I may could repay them back in some way for that but I can never truly show my appreciation or pay them back for the time that they have given. There never has been or never will be a small act of kindness because showing kindness tears down walls, lifts people out of pits and helps us all take another step on our path in this life.

I love this song The One He Speaks Through by Mandisa (if you haven't yet you should definitely get the whole album Out of The Dark - it is amazing, such impactful, honest and uplifting songs). I've heard people say that when something happens to confirm or remind them of something that it's a God wink, which I love, and I love how this song makes you think what if those random moments of when someone comes to mind or you want to help that stranger or say something nice to them that what if it's God and what if that is that persons God wink.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Just Be

I have a feeling this post is about to be brought to you by lots of random thoughts, or that's at least what I call them, so if you are about to take this ride, well buckle up butter cup cause I have no idea where it's going or what kind of drive it's going to be. If I'm driving you'll probably want to throw up a prayer or two also. Haha!!

I think this first random thought has occurred to me before but it decided to pay another visit yesterday and that was have you ever been driving and see a house that the outside looked perfect. Beautiful landscape, fresh mowed yard, inviting little front porch with the chairs and the table just waiting for you to sit down with your glass of tea, and you just can't help but say well that is just the cutest little house. And as you see the outside and how perfect it looks you imagine how it looks inside and think it has to be just as cute and perfect. But what if the inside of that house was a complete disaster, the layout was no where close to what you imagine, it's cluttered and worn, it's a mess. This can't be the same house. Sometimes I think people can be like that first part of this random thought. See I think oftentimes we spend so much time making the outside look good, look perfect but inside, oh inside we have got a mess but we think if we make sure the outside looks good we can fool everyone. I've never even really had the outside looking to terribly good but good enough to maybe fool people and what I would do is keep the outside looking okay and anyone that came by to visit well how about we just sit out here on the porch. Can't let anyone in. And I have spent most of my life like that.

 Now little detour before I try to finish this thought but you generally don't have to drive far to see a road work ahead sign and many times when I drive through a work zone I try to imagine why they have done what they did just to make an extra lane or whatever they may be doing in that particular work zone. I usually can't even picture out how it's going to look in the end. It just looks like a bunch of piles of dirt placed randomly, places dug up, detours that make no sense, and just a mess that doesn't seem worth it to make an extra lane or whatever they may be doing. Fast forward to a later date and the road work may be finished or finished enough that you can see why or at least better understand why they made the cuts, detours, and excavated what they did. Maybe all the delays and such was worth it after all.

On my road I am currently at mile marker 2017 and have drove 33 miles and my goodness has there ever been some serious road work, detours and delays - or what I thought was delays on this journey so far. It occurs to me that I may have wrote something similar to this before but if I have please bear with me because I just may open a door that I didn't open before or we may find out that a part of the road just got finished. And I'm just buying time because I can't believe I may be about to write parts of my story that I think may be time to write.

Picture it, early 90's Kentucky and a six year old me. Because you see six miles in my journey of this called life I had some major road work that was started. My parents divorced around this time and thus began a journey that has been interesting to say the least. So as it would be I would come to live with my dad. Somewhere around 8 years old I decided two things and I decided them I suppose in part because it's the only way I could make things make sense and because it was a way to protect myself. I decided that I would never let anyone else inside my house if you will and give them a chance to hurt me again and I thought that though I wasn't sure what I done I must have done something for God to hate me so much. This is also the part of my journey that I will now dub the detour of lies. So growing up I've never really understood or known a mother's love or what it is to have a relationship with your mom or a mom. I am thankful that God allowed me to be around and spend time with my grandma because she was a motherly influence growing up and bless her for putting up with me because I didn't make it easy. Not much worth going into detail through these miles of the journey just that more seeds of lies was planted and boy how those things grow and they grow fast with some seriously deep roots. Fast forward to 2002, my senior year of high school, and what also proved to be one of the most difficult years of my life thus far. My grandma was in her last year of checkups from her larynx cancer that she had battled five years earlier and what ended up taking her voice away. In the summer/fall of 2001 my grandma found out she had lung cancer and there was nothing they could do about it, she was to small to handle any kind of radiation or chemo - that would have killed her. So from around October '01 until January '02 my grandma fought a good fight against cancer and though she was stuck laying in a hospital bed at her house she never once complained. She'd wince and have a grimaced look of pain but you ask her if she was hurting and she'd smile and say she was okay. Though she was tiny in size the woman had willpower and strength so big it would have made Goliath look like an ant. On January 30th some may say cancer won but I say my grandma won the fight and she got the ultimate prize for all she went through here on earth, my grandma got to make her journey to heaven that day. Me on the other hand started my journey to rock bottom. I am not proud that I said what I'm about to tell you I said, in fact I have great regret over it but when my grandma died, one it hit me and it hit me hard. Because not only was she forever gone but I felt cheated cause I didn't get to tell her goodbye. So it was at this time that I once again realized or thought this was more proof that yup, God really hates me and I remember thinking God, I have no idea what I have done to you to make you hate me so much but that's it, I'm done. And I really at that point and for quite some time after that did not want to hear, talk or think about God, he hated me. And to be honest with you I hit a very deep depression after my grandma died and it stayed for a really long time but I didn't fully understand what it was at the time. Now I was done with God and was convinced that he hated me - that lie had grown and the roots was so very, very deep that it would take me years to fully grasp the truth.  Because you see God didn't hate me and He was already working out ways to help me see this truth...or He had been all along. Because around 2003-04 I got to meet some cousins, under unfortunate circumstances but it started a relationship with them and they quickly came to felt more like siblings than cousins and I love them dearly. One of those cousins in particular helped me more than she will ever know and she allowed me to come spend many nights over the years, and didn't say anything when I would stop by late in the evening for what was meant to be a five minute visit just to see her but often ended up me not leaving until 10 or later that night. It was these cousins that started talking to me about God and I never said I didn't want to hear about him but I have no doubt there was times I only half listened hoping they'd move on quickly but following them listening to them sing and what they would say planted another seed, this one full of truth. I started occasionally going to church with one of my cousins on Sunday mornings and on one particular drive back home in the middle of this depression that I didn't know I was fighting but I knew I was sick and tired of being sick and tired because you see during this time I would have times where I would think of how I could die and I remember driving and the thought came to mind why not just drive into this tree or cliff or whatever because everyone would be better off without me anyway, why didn't I just go ahead and get out of the way and on this one particular Sunday morning on my way home while fighting this I thought, no I said out loud something along the lines of God if you really are real and if you're there and I've not gone to far either let me kill myself or you save me. I don't care which but something has got to end I can't go on I'm sick and tired of being this sick and tired. Nothing happened that day. Before I go on I guess I should say I always heard about God growing up but we never went to church from the time I was maybe 8 or 9 until my cousin let me go with her and I guess I was 19 or 20 at this point. So I really didn't understand praying or anything. Now I don't know how long it was between my little ultimatum with God until another Sunday morning I went to church but on my own this time and just so happened my cousin wasnt there that day, I was in the pew by myself. When I left church that day, oh and this brings us up to 2005, I didn't want to go home yet so I went the really, really long way home and I can't explain it but I can tell you exactly where I was on my drive that I felt I needed to pray and I thought but I don't know how to pray and I thought well I'll just start talking and I did and I had been holding in a lot! Now if you haven't already shaken your head a lot or laughed here may be where you do but at this point I asked God to forgive me and well to save me and I felt a weight lift that I knew I had been carrying but didn't realize how much it had been weighing me down. I will not tell you it was a bed of roses after that day and everything was perfect, far from it actually. In fact there was times before where I thought the road was rough and several times through my life I'd dare to say I felt like I was on a road that was right in the middle of hell and I didn't think I'd make it through but it started me on my way to the road we can call the voice of truth. So I had kind of sort of mostly got that God didn't hate me after all but we're still on that house that looks perfect on the outside but don't you dare come in. However, over the years God placed some great people in my life that have become more like family than friends and a couple years ago God decided to let me meet another person that would quickly become like that to me. Over the years I'm not sure how much I still try to make sure the outside looks perfect while the inside is a mess, more than I should but I have let some people in and realized it's not that bad to do so. I was always afraid to open the doors that were in my house to be safe had them all boarded up but someone once told me something along the lines of that it's not all bad, some of those doors well it's okay to open them and I've been trying to open more of them and when I realize they are the ones that have lies well I board them up and try to go on to the next door. Is it easy? Nope. Some days I feel like I'm surrounded by those flames and those lies screaming at me but I'm learning ways to drown out those things with the truth. I'm learning to fight. I'm learning to let people in and let them see and know me. Further more, I'm realizing and am so very thankful because I can look back and see and better understand all those delays and detours and massive pits because there's no telling what I was saved from having to go through or deal with and perhaps best of all because of all of it I have got to meet some of the best people, who have and are helping me in ways they'll never know, who I love dearly and am so thankful to have in my life. And I can say thank you to every person that had a part, good or bad in this journey and I can honestly say I am thankful and so very glad things happened the way they did. I don't really have a relationship with my birth mom - and that's nothing against her, there truly is no hard feelings, hate or unforgiveness there just to let that be known. And I am also thankful because God is showing me so much and He chose to place certain people in my life and they are showing me and helping me understand what a mother's love is and stuff. And one day the road may lead to where I not only have those women in my life that have been more of a mom to me but I may have a relationship with my birth mom but until then I wish nothing but the best for her and I'm going to keep working on me. Many times people say if I knew then what I know now I'd change a lot of things. I wouldn't. If I could go back I'd just tell myself to keep on because I promise you it's worth it. It's proving to be worth every lie I have had to fight to destroy, worth every single one of the many, many tears I have cried, worth fighting through the doubts and fears. So now if we just sit on the porch for awhile it may just be I like to sit on the porch and drink a glass of tea but please know that some days I may try to keep you out and some days when I let you in the house may be very messy, cluttered and worn you can leave if you want or if you so choose to stay well thank you and if you even choose to try to help me make sense of the mess please know that I appreciate it even when those days are you just sitting with me.

Now you may be wondering why I titled this thing Just Be and if so it would be because today I had an a-ha moment and decided today I am going to just be. I'll just be thankful for the amazing people God has chosen to place in my life, to be thankful I have survived every single bad day so far and for how far I have made it on this journey, and I will be proud of the person I am and continue to become and realize more and more truths and destroy more and more lies.

And that's my story - so far - for those that have been part and continue to be a part of it, I most sincerely thank you for all you have done and am so glad to have each of you be a part of it.