Monday, February 20, 2017

Carrying Each Others Burdens

Perhaps it's a personal conviction that I need to improve on helping others carry their burdens or perhaps it's a personal conviction that I need to let others help me carry my burdens. Perhaps it's both. Either way I cannot shake this thought of carrying each others burdens. I'm going to stick with the analogy I used in a recent status on my Facebook because it's just one that makes it all make a bit more sense to me. I don't watch a lot of TV but I do like nature shows which is a bit ironic I suppose because I will get teary-eyed just seeing a dog limping (true story) and yes I have cried watching Bambi, Fox and the Hound, Land Before Time, those commercials for St. Jude, seeing people I care about go through stuff etc. Not sure what label to put on it but it would seem I am emotional, tender hearted, sensitive, have a dysfunctional feeling setting (haha!) etc and/or all of the above. Now that I told that one on myself moving on to the fact that I was recently thinking about burdens and how heavy they can get. My brain being what it is (whatever that mess is) suddenly went to the thought of elephants...yes you read that correctly, elephants. My most favorite animal of the wild is a tiger but elephant is close. I have in particular had a fascination with the dynamics of how they work together. In particular for this thought when a predator is out to get a baby elephant.  The other elephants watch out for the baby elephant when the mom is eating or whatever and they are known as allomothers. Now if you have ever seen footage of the predator stalking a baby elephant, of course the predator knows that will be a fantastic meal and it in theory should be an easy meal to get. The baby elephant is defenseless for all purposes it doesn't even realize that there is a predator after it or the danger that it is in. It has a target on its back. But when the mother elephant and the allomothers realize what is going on they know the danger they know what is about to happen and they will do everything they can to protect that baby elephant. So they make themselves a barrier between the predator and the baby elephant. They do whatever is necessary to chase away the predator and protect the young elephant. It hit me when I was thinking about this, actually a few things came to mind, and sometimes we are the young elephant and sometimes we are the ones that make up the barrier to protect. We all have burdens at some point and to some degree. We all have a predator that tries its best to take us down and attacks for the kill when it gets us down. That predator can come in many different ways but however it comes at you its sole purpose is to destroy you. When we are carrying those heavy burdens and just spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally distracted and drained from these burdens the target on our back for the predator to see gets bigger and bigger. And here's why I think it is so very important for us to carry each others burdens because if you have those people then they become your allomtohers if you will and they can become that barrier. That barrier may be to pray for you, to listen, to simply say I understand I have been there, or a number of other ways. Shoot just a simple hug can make a world of difference. I apparently have a reputation of people thinking I don't like hugs it's false. There is even a couple of people that well just getting to see them makes it the best day ever but to get a hug just helps. Because you see I think at the core of all burdens is that tactic of the predator to make you feel fear and to feel alone, to isolate you from those allomothers and let the load get so heavy that you want to give up and you at the very least feel completely and utterly destroyed. As a Christian of course I know that I need to take my cares and such to God and I know that God is always there for me and He will bring me through. I also believe that God places people in your life to be those allomothers for you and He places people for you to be like the allomother. Now that is weird for me to write because I am single and have no children but I still always want to have empathy and also help them carry their burdens even if it is something that I haven't been through. Yes it is absolutely great when you can find someone that can say I understand I have been there here's what I did but at the same time you know not all of those elephants that are in that barrier to protect that baby elephant have had a baby of their own yet they still have that love, that want to protect and help carry the burden of what the momma elephant is going through and to be there for that baby elephant. I guess my point is you don't have to be a certain age, you don't have to have a certain label or a certain amount of labels to carry anothers burdens. You just have to be there. Simple as that. You know you may tell me something that you're going through and I may have never had to deal with that but I pray you never hear me say that I don't have time or that I don't care. Now you may hear me say I'm sorry you are having to go through this I can't even imagine but you have my prayers, you got my shoulder to cry on, my time to listen to you and such. We may not have the same burdens but I can understand that heaviness, that feeling of fear, despair, loneliness, discouragement, etc. And thankfully I can also say I can understand having those allomothers show up in my life and have the patience to stick around and help me by making those barriers of taking the time to I think its safe to say pray for me, listen to me, give me that simple hug and even just by doing things with me even if it is just sitting and talking. So as I put in the status a most sincere thank you to those that have been there to help be a barrier when the predator has tried its best to attack and utterly destroy me and I hope that in some way some how I have and will always be there to carry anothers burdens. I will end this with a couple of verses from Galatians that really hit me when I last read them...

     Galatians 6:2-3: Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Priceless

This is one of those posts that I either am supposed to write or just keep in my own thoughts swimming around. I'm going to go for now that I need to write it, fair warning I am about to reference a lot of songs if this gets written like I think it may. Starting with Priceless by For King & Country....

Mirror, mirror. Mirror on the wall telling those lies, pointing out your flaws, that isn't who you are. That isn't who you are. It might be hard to hear, but let me tell you dear, if you could see what I can see I know you would believe that isn't who you are, there's more to who you are. So when it's late, you're wide awake, too much to take, don't you dare forget that in the pain, you can be brave, and safe.I see you dressed in white, every wrong made right, I see a rose in bloom, at the sight of you, oh so priceless, irreplaceable, unmistakable, incomparable...

First, love this song from the very first time I heard it. Second, if you don't know it inspired or was inspired by the movie of the same name (Priceless ---to save you a glance at the beginning of the post). The movie Priceless deals with human trafficking. Can I be honest? I think that is a very real and serious issue that does not get addressed or the attention that it very much should get. When I went to the theater to watch the movie and we was leaving my friend asked me if it made me uncomfortable and I said no but it does bother me that this is very much a real thing that happens more than I think people want to admit or think about. It's funny isn't it how we pick and choose what cause is worthy and who is worthy or not but I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. This song brings out a lot for me personally. Because you see I could be wrong but I think to many of us are currently or have had our houses (ourselves) built on the wrong foundation. Might not seem important but build on the wrong foundation and sooner or later what is a beautiful house (that'd be you) is lackluster, kind of hidden behind the grass and vines and stuff that have built up (the lies). I think all to often in ways that often times are of no fault of our own lies become our foundation and we believe those lies, sometimes can't those lies look so pretty wrapped up in what just has to be true. We build on societies lies that we have to be a certain size, wear certain clothes and in a certain way, think a certain way or you are wrong, have to be popular to be someone. Then to further add stability to the foundation of lies we're often told or over hear things about ourselves that just has to be true cause so and so said it. It all adds up to build a sturdy foundation that we was never meant to be standing on. Then our house gets full of mirrors that tell nothing but lies. Now I personally will avoid looking in a mirror, hate it, will not look at one if I can avoid it. But point is to many have heard and believed those lies now the amazing person that you are is hidden in this house that is built on nothing but lies and it's blocked all the windows, cracked and peeled the paint, and made the door to the truth seem impossible to open. Can I tell you something though, that is nothing but a mirage that the lies have built up and made you see, or made you think that is all there is. Because as the song says you are a rose in bloom. See your house is really built on the truth you just got to break a few mirrors and such to see it. The truth is you are priceless, irreplaceable, beautiful inside and out. To steal part of a quote from the movie The Help....You is important.

Now kind of back to that thought that it's funny how often we pick and choose what cause is worthy and even who is worthy. Don't get me wrong I think we all have a particular cause or person that resonates with maybe something we went through and have an area that we are better prepared and meant to help in. That's not what I'm trying to say, I'm hopefully getting across that it seems that to often people will say this group of people brought this on themselves they deserve to be where they are they could help themselves if they wanted to. To be honest I feel like we get so focused on arguing about what cause or who is more worth fighting for that we all lose. We lose focus on what really does matter, we let fear and hate further divide us, we start to lose hope and no one wins. But that's not where it should be or where it should end. Song reference #2 is Speak Life by TobyMac particularly this part of the song: Look into the eyes of the broken hearted. Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope, you speak love, you speak, you speak life...Lift your head a little higher, spread the love like fire. Hope will fall like rain when you speak life with the words you say. Raise your thoughts a little higher, use your words to inspire. Joy will fall like rain when you speak life with the things you say.....See we somehow think, or I think, that one has to have a lot of money, speak eloquently, have influence and such to make a difference. Not true. You know the words we use can be weapons of destruction or help build and lift up others. That is even true with the words we use and hear concerning our house. We can easily rip someone to shreds or help them up just by the words we use alone. In a world that seems more than ready to tear you down, well it really may not make a difference to a lot of people, but I'm going to choose to speak life, speak hope, and speak love. Don't let fear, hate and division keep you so focused on the wrong thing that you end up I don't know discouraged and hopeless because there's always hope. Tiniest bit of shred sometimes, or it feels that way, but there is always hope. Obviously you should do what you feel you need to do. For me that is to not tear anyone down because everyone is a story and everyone's story deserves to be heard and their story matters and they deserve help. My help may be nothing more than trying to be an encourager, to help them up when they have fallen, etc. To often we'll see the the person that is on drugs on the streets or the homeless veteran, the prostitute on the street and say they don't deserve help they could help themselves but they do, they very much deserve help, they deserve to have their story heard.

I am one that always wonders if I am doing all that I can, am I making a difference, what is my purpose to do with the time that I am here type thing. Song reference #3 is a song I stumbled across called In The Time You Gave Me (I've heard it sung by Bradley Walker featuring Joey from Joey + Rory). In the time that you gave me Did I give all I could give? Did I love all I could love? Did I live all I could live? Was my faith in your grace strong enough to save me? Did I do all I could do in the time that you gave me? In the time that you gave me Did I face the devil down? Did I make him turn away every time I stood my ground? If today is the day you should decide to take me Did I do all I could do in the time that you gave?...I'm going to go with I could always improve on how and what I do with the time that I am given in how I help others and such. I realize I get stuck in my comfort zone a lot but I don't ever want to become complacent with anything I may accomplish but I also don't want to get so comfortable that I don't think I ever have room for improvement or could do better. Because I'm not perfect but I want to strive continuously to be not only a good person but to treat people the way they should be and to do all that I can to better me but to help those that I will be around in the time that I am given. This part really I guess has nothing to do with the song or anything but I got thinking about a butterfly today. I have always loved butterflies and have always been amazed by their transformation. I think a lot of people are like butterflies. They go through this world seemingly unnoticed, some think they are a nuisance (or they themselves think they are and that they are a bother and such). Some go through things that about destroys them, often times they believe it will destroy them. Time comes they build the cocoon (I daresay some build the cocoon and hide in it before they are supposed to and stay in it longer than they should). Cocoon starts to break (sometimes we need help in breaking the cocoon or realizing that it is okay to come out) and would you look at what emerges! It always amazes me that the butterfly never sees or knows just how amazingly beautiful it is. People are like that. Some don't see the wings they have, they don't see the beauty that is them - not just in their looks or what they have- but the beauty that is them that makes the designs on their wings one of a kind and this world is a little - no a lot better because they are in it. Sometimes we need help seeing our wings and getting out of the cocoon and well this world is difficult we just need to know we aren't alone and got someone with us in our corner and we'll be in their corner. Thank God for those people that help like that. I don't know but maybe it is time for me to fly. 

Last song quote and to end this post is A Little Closer by Group 1 Crew - 

 If you opened my heart you'd see I don't have it all together. If you took me apart you'd see the worst of me wants to get better but You're changing me, piece by piece into who You're really callin me to be. There's a beauty and beast inside of me who I am fighting who I wanna be but through the rise and falls the roller coaster I get a little closer.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Thank you for being a friend

Sometimes I have what I like to refer to as my song for the day/moment. Ever have that happen, just a line from a song just pop in your head and you sing it throughout the day whether you want to or not, or you just have to find the song to listen to the whole thing on repeat throughout the day? Today's song and this particular post is brought to you in part by Dottie Rambo and her song Tears Will Never Stain the Streets of That City. Additional points will also be brought to you thanks to the movie War Room and Jason Crabb and his song Home and shall we continue reading to find out who else! You know the disclaimer I've probably wrote about this in some way before but I'll write it again.

There's a video on YouTube of Dottie Rambo and Gerald Crabb singing the song Tears Will Never Stain... and I love what Dottie says before she starts singing just as much as the song itself. I got a couple of direct quotes from that video of what Dottie said that I want to share. First one she tells Gerald, 'Everybody that God ever did use in a great way the devil slapped in a great way.' Then she tells him, 'If you ever have a rough day you know how to get a hold of Dottie Rambo and we'll fight the fight out together. If I have a bad day I'll call you. Will that be alright?'  I love that one because as you watch that you can tell that she honest to goodness means that with every ounce of her being. Anyone can say they'll be there for you but to not only genuinely see it in their eyes that they mean it but for them to also genuinely show it. To me that means more than anything in this world. If you believe in God then you know God has got your back and He is in your corner. But if I can be honest with you sometimes circumstances happen and the noise of the lies and stuff can get so loud it can drown that truth out. Sometimes as weird as it may be and sound there are just sounds and even the volume of how loud people may be talking and it literally hurts me to hear. I'm fairly certain I have unintentionally cringed cause it is causing me pain. It's dumb I know. But in the same aspect so often in life the doubts, fears and lies have gotten so loud I forgot the truth and just sometimes in life I just need to talk. Of course I pray and talk to God but again some days it's just difficult to get that prayer out or you just need the assurance that yup God is still there and He's got your back and you know what so do I. Do you have those kind of people in your life? I hope you do, at least one person like that. I know a lot of people say and/or think I don't like to talk or talk a lot and stuff but contrary to that there are times that I can and do want to talk about all kinds of stuff but there are also moments where I just need to talk to someone and let them help me fight the fight that I may be going through. And I hope and try my best to be there to help anyone to fight the fight they may be going through.

There's also a video on YouTube of Jason Crabb singing a song called Home which is about someone passing away and going to heaven, or going home. And in a particular video he is talking, because the song is about his grandma who passed away, and he was talking about he was just having one of those days where you have maybe that one person that you just need to hear their voice. So he called his grandma and she said Jace is that you and he said yeah I just needed to hear your voice and she asked him what was wrong. Do you also have those kinds of people in your life? Again I hope you do. But those people that some how just hearing their voice, going to visit them if that's an option or in my case so often sending them a message on Facebook will calm you down and/or just say the truth that you have been repeating to yourself but it just is not sinking in but they say it and it like breaks the wall. I also have those people that see through the I'm fine and somehow know that I'm not entirely fine and so often in the simplest of ways just help me. I remember one time I was having a I am most definitely not fine moment but will try to act like I am and a friend called me. I was trying to hide and she calls me. But you know that phone call helped me so very much cause it got my mind off what was going on and helped me not focus on the lies and where I would so easily get lost in my head.

Lastly, I think, I don't know if you have ever seen the movie War Room or not but I absolutely adore the character Miss Clara. Seriously just watch the movie for her if you haven't seen it. Everyone needs a Miss Clara or two in their life. You know the motherly type figure that is there to help keep and get you back in line if need be but is also there to help guide you too when you need it. Who they may also threaten to use the mom card on you if you don't listen to them (I may or may not have had that happen). A few days ago I was texting a friend and the subject of hiding came up, in particular me trying to hide. And I went on to send a text that said to be honest I don't think (insert three particular people's names here) would let me get by with that. She sent a text back that said no and be glad we love you enough to care. To which I replied back with believe me I am forever grateful and appreciative of that. And I am. Perhaps more than they will ever know.

Sometimes maybe in the rush of this ride called life we maybe find ourselves taking for granted the people God has placed in our lives that are just there for us. That is that calming voice of reason that helps us remember the truth or that will just help us fight the fight. Or perhaps is that motherly (or fatherly) figure in your life. May we all know such people and appreciate them and may we all be that kind of person to someone.

To those people in my life I most sincerely appreciate and thank you for all you have done and do for me and helping me fight the fight.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hurt by Hurt

First if you haven't realized by now I am a quote fanatic as well as music and will often reference both...a lot. The title of this post is actually a song, it's Hurt by Hurt by Sonya Isaacs Yeary. Fantastic song, will add a video of it at the end if you so choose to listen to it. I actually found the song by accident on YouTube and it really resonated with me. I say it quite often but I love it when I can find a song that just speaks what you may be going through, or gives you that bit of hope that circumstances tried its best to steal and those words encouraged you and reminded you that it's all going to be okay. Maybe it's the listener and observer in me or maybe I'm just really weird I don't know. But words are powerful. They can build you up and they can tear you down others words as well as your own. However, that's kind of getting off point for what I want to write about. Bare with me cause this is going to start out sounding hopeless but it's not going to end that way. Actually at the time it. or should I say I, was hopeless. There's a line in the song that goes like this: Wounds that were silent wordless and cruel tore me apart and nobody saw how I died. Died inch by inch on the inside. Hurt by hurt the painful memories waiting in line. Hurt by hurt I built a wall one hurt at a time....that was me, word for word it was me. I'm a crier try my best not to cry in front of people but I most definitely am a crier, happy, sad, mad I'll cry. Which is what I did when I heard this song and it got to that line and I thought oh my word that's it, dear God that's exactly what I have felt for well over half of my life. And I remember thinking, hoping, praying that someway somehow all these hurts could be taken away. The load I had been carrying from the hurts to be lifted because I'm not in good shape literally and figuratively and carrying hurts and loads can wear a body and spirit down and wear it down quickly if you ain't mighty careful. Even more so when you try to do it all on your own. Trust me I know I do it way to often. Now we got the let's be honest part about these hurts part from the song shall we go to another part of the song. This line goes like this: Gentle as raindrops, welcome as morning after the darkness. Without a warning love broke right through invading my hurt. You watered my heart through my past and melted the barriers at last. Hurt by hurt the painful memories waiting in line. Hurt by hurt you healed them all one hurt at a time...So first time I heard the song and you know how I felt with the first verse and then it gets to this verse and I remember thinking Lord if that's possible how very much I would love for that to happen. Because you know after you carry a burden or hurt for so long at least the way I carried it one starts to wonder if the barriers can be crossed. Now can I tell you about this morning. I happened to be listening to some music on my phone on shuffle and this song was the one that was ready to play. Was listening to it and it got to that second verse and it just hit me and I thought wow my life is more in the second verse now I'm no longer stuck in that first verse. I still have hurts and problems I'm dealing with sure but to go from where I was when I first heard this song and all that I was carrying all the walls I had built up to now it's a 180 degree turn or well on my way to being a 180. You remember those commercials with the Kool-Aid man breaking through the walls and stuff it's almost felt like that. This morning when I heard the song especially that verse I laughed not in a mocking or just heard a funny joke laugh but a joyful laugh if that makes sense. Odd how there are so many different kinds of laughs and tears isn't it? I know a person that sometimes will laugh what I guess would be called a spirit filled laugh. Oh I love to hear her laugh in those moments, well anytime but something about that kind of laugh you can't help but smile. Kind of like those people that has a laugh that you may have no idea what is going on but when you hear their laugh you can't help but smile. Then of course there are those times that you see someone that has gone through so much and they still have a smile on their face and then one day you see them with a laugh, a real laugh that reaches their eyes and comes from the belly and oh how happy you are for them. You laugh with them and you smile and are just so happy for them. Sometimes they get that laugh and they still have the hurt, still have the problem but they were given that laugh, maybe that reminder or hope that they needed. Songs aren't the only things that seem to help be a reminder and say what I need to but can't say or just need to hear but books do that to and stories. And good old Joseph and his story keeps popping up and boy am I glad it does. Each time I read or am sent something about his story I learn something new or am reminded of something. I recently decided to read it again and can I point out a few verses from his story. As I've said before I spent a good part of my life thinking God hated me and wondering where He was if He cared. Won't go into it again of how I figured out how that was a lie and stuff but I will share these verses that if one reads the story of Joseph you can easily read right past it and not get. I do that often just get reading and just kind of skim over some sentences and such. So while reading the story of Joseph he has now been sold into slavery by his brothers can you imagine what all was going through Joseph's mind and how he was feeling - I would guess hurt, betrayed and rejected. Then I got to this verse Genesis 39:2 -- The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian....then little later on in the chapter Joseph gets lied on and accused of something he didn't do and something that didn't even happen at least not the way it was told to Potiphar who in turn threw him in prison. Then you get to this verse: Genesis 39:21 -- But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison....maybe it was just me but reading those verses again and being reminded that just like with Joseph and during his times of betrayal, rejection, lies all of his hurts and setbacks God was with him. I know for me many times I have felt like God wasn't there but He was and after making it through I can look back and think oh yeah I can definitely see now how you was there God and how it's all worked or continuing to work out to take me somewhere (still not sure where all the stops and places I will go or things I will do but there's plenty of each for me to do I think). Last little thing about Joseph have you ever read to the part of his sons names? Actually if you have or haven't read the story you should just read the whole story of Joseph. If not or even if you have here's a reminder of those verses: Genesis 41:51-52 -- Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh:“For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house.” 52 And the name of the second he called Ephraim: “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.”....I'm probably weird but I always find it fascinating the meanings of names and such and I just love the meanings of these names. I ain't a preacher, teacher or speaker but just reading those verses if someone was there is some messages in that that would make the church mouse say amen! Again maybe it's just me but reading the meanings of the names, there's just something powerful about the meanings and no doubt the reminders for Joseph. He was shown and could finally see how God was putting all the pieces of his puzzle together all along. In all the set backs, rejections, lies and hurts all of it worked together and in all that time God hadn't forgotten Joseph or left him. God even made a way that Joseph was fruitful in the land of his affliction. I may be wrong in this but that's a wow how awesome moment to me because even in our afflictions good can come from it and many times in ways we can't even begin to fathom if we was writing the story and saw the big picture. So I'm not down playing any and all hurts you or I have or may be going through.But can I just say it may feel like there is no hope and God is no where in sight or maybe you feel like you're dying inside and those walls are impossible to be torn down or crossed. I sincerely mean this and hope if you are feeling like this that you know that you matter, there is hope and God is there and He cares no matter if you can't feel Him or whatever just hang on to the hope and truth that He will not leave or forsake you. I can't tell you how many times I have just had to repeat that line/verse to try to drown out the lies that God didn't care or wasn't there. I also hope that you remember that though there may be a storm right now or remnants of hurts there will be sun and growth and things that you or I can't even begin to imagine that will be in your story and in mine. 

Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark - George Iles


Monday, January 2, 2017

Encouragers - may we all know one and be one...

I think I have about twenty tabs open in my brain with eight that has something I need to do or a handy dandy good reminder, four are not responding and the rest I wish would close or not respond. Hello, did you actually make it through that first sentence with just maybe a chuckle or SALT (smiled a little then stopped!). So here we are the first post for 2017. There really won't be anything new, I have probably wrote about this before but sometimes I just need reminding of things because I don't always read through the instructions the first time and get so far and realize that wasn't a good idea. Other times I just need to sit for a spell, drop the heavy load and rest. It is at this moment I realize I am carrying a load that isn't mine to carry. And finally there are just times you just need to visit with certain people, those people that you just smile as soon as you see them or have a memory of them randomly pop in your head. Onto what I meant to already be writing about. Yesterday as I was walking in to church an older lady was also walking in and she saw me and said 'I was praying for you this morning having to drive on those wet roads.' And I thanked her and said I could use all the prayers anyone wants to say for me. But you know that really did make me smile, I mean she gave a priceless gift of her time and consideration for me. I don't know maybe it's just me but it means more than words can convey when someone says that they have or will pray for you. Even at a time when I really wasn't sure I believed prayer did any good it still meant a lot that someone would pray for me. Because for me at least for someone to take the time to be there for me be it praying for me, listening to me or just getting to visit and make memories together, it means so much and are the best gifts you could give and/or receive. But it makes me wonder how many times does someone think of you or pray for you and you not even realize it. Have you ever had a moment where someone just came to mind seemingly no reason? I have, sometimes with a sense of urgency that I needed to talk to them, it's weird but I have started to say a prayer for that person and if possible send a text or message too. I've also had people say they had me on their mind so guess I am not the only one that happens to. It fascinates me though how or even why that happens. But point of all that is for me the best gifts I have ever gotten is those moments someone has prayed for me (whether I know it or not) and taking the time to just be there. And you know those encouragers you (hopefully) have in your life God bless y'all for real. I think maybe the encouragers go unappreciated or people just don't truly see what an important role they play. I don't think the encouragers are out for that pat on the back really but still sometimes maybe I need to make sure they know just how much I appreciate them and how much they have helped me. I have fortunately got some people in my life that not only encourage me but help me in so many ways but most importantly just knowing them and having them in my life has been a blessing. Funny isn't it sometimes people get a material item and say God blessed them (and not saying He didn't) but honestly I have to say I am blessed not by the material things I have (though I am truly grateful for them) but my biggest blessings are the people God placed in my life who have helped in ways they may never truly realize. I was reading the Bible the other day and it had a overview of Barnabas, which means Son of Encouragement. In the article it states a couple things that I thought I'd share. That is the value of encouragement is often missed but we all need it at one time or another. Because really encouragement is one of the most effective ways to help someone. I am a big actions speak louder than words person but in ways I think those encouragers do both because they are showing they care by taking time out to help you and I think it's safe to say if you have an encourager in your life they 100% mean what they say to you. Well I think that's enough of that quick someone make a joke! But seriously a huge thank you to the encouragers and people that take the time to just be there.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

(Almost) Goodbye 2016, (Almost) Hello 2017

I know I said I wasn't going to do a year in review type post but it's been a pretty interesting year and those don't happen to often for me so I guess why not go ahead and write a little. Plus I just want to write. As usual part of this post is I guess inspired by a status I recently wrote on Facebook. To recap that, I recently had a memory pop up quite randomly of a teacher back in sixth grade who when practicing for an awards ceremony she came up to me and asked if I would do something for her at the ceremony and of course I panicked thinking I was in trouble but she said when you go to get your award will you walk with your head held up. I honestly couldn't tell if you if I really did walk with my head held up that day or not, I think it would be safe to say I at least tried my best to. Some twenty or so years later and I have had many times where I have literally and figuratively walked with my head down and I was also reminded to walk in a room with my head held up - that is quite difficult to do, just saying. And that all actually does have something to do with my year in review. The beginning of the year, well to be honest it was the same ol' same as far as my personal walk. I however early on had deemed 2016 the year of concerts because I was very fortunate to get to go to some of the best concerts ever this year and some dream concerts that I never, ever thought would happen. Kind of silly to have dream and never, ever thought would happen in the same sentence isn't it? I guess that's kind of how 2016 and so many other years honestly had started and usually ended for me. I'd start the year so hopeful and thinking this will be the year I move forward and I find out who I am and such but somewhere along the road I would get lost in that never, ever section. I am not one to make resolutions because I never complete them, kudos to those of you that do, but had a resolution at the beginning of this year one of them would be just to survive the year (!) but it would have been wanting to move forward. As I said the first half of the year, nothing to brag about personally, I actually found myself lost in my head and stuck in that never, ever section. But I remember several times praying and more honestly and sincerely than possibly ever just asking for help. And again as I say you don't meet anyone by accident and I think oftentimes God uses people and He places people in your life to help you and helps show you and remind you of just who God is. See I'm the worst at asking for help from God and people, I am great at listening to others and hopefully good at being there for them but reverse that and it's a big fail on my part. So the first half of 2016, awesome concerts (that continued throughout the whole year), some random road trips, just trudging along. Then comes the second half of the year. Have you ever prayed for something or just wanted something (if you ain't the praying type) so long and so much but you honestly begin to wonder if it will ever happen and dare I say you even wonder if God heard any of the prayers you said? I had one of those moments, well truthfully it is one of those things that has been carried over year after year. Now this may be one of those times people would be like see that's why I don't believe in God or whatever but even in that I have learned something because I think over the years I know God heard me and I think He was maturing me and getting me to the place I needed to be spiritually, emotionally and stuff and to ultimately meet the people I needed to. And I don't really know how or why it came about or why I sent whatever I wrote in a particular message the day I sent it. But I remember getting a reply not at all what I was expecting but they said they would meet with me and talk and try to help work through these things. Not gonna lie I had a major wait, what moment again and thought God are you really answering a prayer, you were really listening (of course He was, He always does). So I finally came to the right time for me to really truly have the opportunity to figure out how to take the time and work on me because I have neglected taking care of me and I've spent most of my life wearing masks and just going through the motions. But thank God that this last half of 2016 has found me tearing walls down, figuring out and accepting who I am (in God and because of God which has helped me figure out who I am in general), and I have just grown all the way around. Funny to say that I'm thirty two and saying I have grown but I hope to never stop growing and improving and always striving to be who I am. Because ultimately I think my story has helped prepare me for such a time as this and I'm not saying the last half of 2016 has been completely perfect. In fact, if I'm honest I just found myself lost in that never, ever section of my head but again thank God that He is always there and I can go to Him anytime and I have to thank Him for some people that He placed in my life that have been there to help remind me when I get to far in that forest of lies and God uses them to help me. So here's to all the walls that have been torn down, the lessons learned, the tears and laughter, to all the friends and people that have walked the journey through the year with me ( a most sincere thank you to each of you), and here's a big thank you to God for all you have done and continue to do. May yours and mine last couple of weeks of 2016 be good and I pray each of you all that read this have an amazing 2017. Can't wait to see what ramblings I get to write about next year.

But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.
-Genesis 50: 19-20 (NLT)

(I read this in a devotional earlier today and it just hit home a bit. When I get to heaven I want to meet Joseph, his story has helped me a great deal, more than I ever imagined how it could truthfully.)

Friday, December 2, 2016

From Rejected to Accepted

So it's officially December which means it really finally is okay to get by with listening to Christmas music, watch the movies and cartoons and the like without getting to many looks that if possible would cause serious harm Hopefully this time of year is filled more with fun times and making traditions but it is also a difficult time that I think amplifies some feelings and things people deal with including loneliness, abandonment and rejection.I can't remember if I wrote about the book or not but earlier this year I found and read a book titled,Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst and I highly recommend it. That and several other things that has occurred this year has really helped me. Now I'm just typing cause I don't want to tell you what I'm still not sure I am supposed to write in these next few sentences. Like I'm feeling a bit nauseous, biting my fingernails (have had a bit of a slip up with that nervous habit), leg shaking kind of not wanting to type this. Deep breath and let's go....In the book Lysa Terkeurst in part writes about her dad leaving and not having a relationship with him and feeling rejected. And maybe it's just me but it seems quite difficult to find Christian based books that talk about a parent leaving, not even sure it's really talked about so this reading about this really helped. For my story it wasn't my dad that wasn't around it was my mom. I'll leave it at I did hear from her from time to time and I'm not playing the blame game, no hard feelings toward her and ultimately it happened for a reason it's all good. But with that I don't really know what it is to have a mom or those things that is done with mom's but thankfully I had my grandma and I always looked at her as my mom, always will really. That's not to take anything from my mom or meaning to be rude or disrespectful towards her. So I've dealt with the lies of feeling abandoned and rejected, again I am not laying blame on anyone because it's just lies. But if I continue to be honest I have also dealt with believing the lie that God hated me and I must have been a terrible person because of things that happened. Now that I have shared way more than I am comfortable sharing I told that little bit to get from there to the truth. As I always say everything happens for a reason and you meet everyone for a reason. I believe what I went through 1) was no fault of my own and ultimately it was the best thing that could have happened and 2) because of it I believe I will be able to help and/or encourage others that have went through similar situations. To be honest as recent as last year I still struggled with the abandonment and rejection and trying to keep people at a distance and the walls up. Here's why I think everything happens for a reason and you meet people for a reason (and if you read to the end there's a few more of those moments that have recently happened to me that I'll share). But last year at the church I go to there was a retreat thing and as I was sitting there listening  I was also thinking I just needed to leave, I had the it's going to be late when you get home, you don't need to be here, you're not going to hear anything to help, etc. In the midst of just about to go ahead and leave I hear something along the lines of (they were talking about Joseph, coat of many colors Joseph), 'He grew up without a mom, didn't have a mom influence.' and I had a major boy I wish it was possible to ask if she said what I think she just said and then I thought well now I have to stay cause maybe they'll repeat that and I had a did he really, well I guess so I never thought of that, that's odd one never really thinks of that. Well God loved Joseph and he grew up without a mom so maybe, just maybe all this time I've believed a lie that God hated me. I'm doing a really bad job at making my point but my point is we all have felt rejected and maybe even abandoned by someone be it a parent, friend, loved one, significant other we've unfortunately at some point been there. And for me when I felt that sometimes it felt strongest during the holidays and there would be the lies that it was my fault, I'm a terrible person, I'm not worthy, etc. So if you are struggling with that as sound and true as what is going through your mind please know you did nothing wrong it's not your fault or even if you did it's okay because sometimes what we may think looks like rejection is actually the path to being accepted. Accepted for all and who we are, flaws and all. Accepted to a greater calling. In the book Uninvited Lysa TerKeurst writes this:  To be set aside is to be rejected.To be set apart is to be given an assignment that requires preparation...For me that fateful April evening I think I got reminded of something and that is I am so much more of what happened to me. See sometimes if people find out certain things happen to you they label you, which I hate labels, but if we get that label we get stuck and thinking that's all we are all we'll ever be. And I think I did that with the labels of abandoned and rejected I thought that's who I was and all I would ever be. But that was just a chapter, part of my story. Because God didn't let anything happen, it wasn't cause He wasn't there ( because He was there or trust me I wouldn't be here) or because He didn't care or because He hated me. That was a lie that kept me stuck for so long on a chapter that wasn't even really mine to be in to begin with. No longer rejected I am now accepted. Accepted by everyone probably not, will I still face a time I am rejected by someone, possibly but I'll face that when and if it happens because right now I have walls that have been torn down and I know that I went from feeling rejected to without a doubt accepted (and forgiven) by God and He has placed people in my life that have helped me not saying I'm putting them on a pedestal or trying to have them take place of other people not at all. One they're human too and have their own things going on and such and I have no idea how long anyone in my life will be there but however long it is I'll forever be appreciative of what they have shown me and how they have helped me. So to end this part of what I'm writing I'll end with this part from the book Uninvited: "I lay down my need to understand why things happen the way they do. I lay down my fears about others walking away and taking their love with them. I lay down my desire to prove my worth. I lay down my resistance to fully trust Your thoughts, Your ways, and Your plans, Lord. I lay down being so self-consumed in an attempt to protect myself. I lay down my anger, unforgiveness, and stubborn ways that beg me to build walls when I sense hints of rejection. I lay all these things down with my broken boards and ask that Your holy fire consume them until they become weightless ashes. And as I walk away, my soul feels safe. Held. And truly free to finally be me.”
― Lysa TerKeurst, Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely

Now normally I write a post of my year in review but I think I'm going to combine it with this. Earlier I wrote how we meet everyone for a reason. This year strangers and oddly enough two Christian singers inadvertently have shown me so much. I've written about the two strangers I met while on vacation one being a little boy that very much made an impact when he told me that I shouldn't be walking alone and another being an elderly lady that is/was battling breast cancer and she still found the strength and courage to climb a lot of steps to the top of a lighthouse and even when she had to stop and rest she found something to laugh about and just be thankful for. Recently I was at a Logan's restaurant and was waiting on the bill when the server told me that the lady that was sitting in the booth in front of me actually paid for my bill. Dork that I am said, 'Get out!' and I got a bit teary eyed because that has never happened, definitely not a stranger paying for a meal and somewhere like Logan's. I felt bad cause I was like why would she spend that much money on a stranger and wished I could pay her back but if it was even possible I suppose that would be taking away from her blessing so I will try to pay it forward the best ways I know how. And speaking of paying it forward I think we sometimes think we have to pay it forward monetarily but I don't think we always do, sometimes just being there for someone, helping them in some way listening maybe, I think that can be paying it forward. Then in my many fortunate times of getting to go to concerts I was able to be reminded or hear actually on three occasions very encouraging things and twice specifically I heard talk of tearing walls down. So even though there are a few weeks left I am quite thankful for what all has happened this year, how I've gotten to be closer to some people, things I've let go of and things I've picked up that have long needed picked up and accepted. I'm thankful for the good and the bad and though I have no idea what the rest of 2016 or any of 2017 has in store I'm hoping for the best and will do my utmost to keep moving forward.

We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”

― C.S. Lewis