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What’s Your Number?

God has a plan for my life. But I think it was seriously derailed when I was 13 years old.

My Bubi (Hebrew for grandmother) died. Up until that point, I didn’t know life without her, she lived right beside my family.  It never occurred to me that she wouldn’t always be with me. No one told me that grieving was a natural and healthy thing to do when someone dies. I kept playing scenarios in my head of how life would’ve been if she was still alive. I resisted the idea that she wasn’t coming back. All of those what ifs.

A year later my parents separated

This wasn’t what I expected. I expected my parents to stay together despite I knew things weren’t going well. They didn’t have loud arguments or anything that led me to believe they were going to separate. But they did.

For a long time have I was in this oasis of denial because the life I had in my head just didn’t look anything like in my real, real life. Sometimes the one that lives in your head is much easier to take. God had a plan for my life, and I kept thinking that I was waiting for it to take form, not that I was in it right now, living it out day to day. To be honest there was a lot of it that I didn’t like. Like a better earning job, my prince charming, etc.

A year ago, I stopped being friends with someone who on the surface seem like a keeper in terms of friendships. But appearances aren’t a good indicator of who they are on the inside. I was very hurt and disappointed at the turn of events over a year ago. So I started asking the question of why He would let this happen to me. I mean I’ve gone through a lot of people who I thought were friends only to realize that they didn’t really want to get to know me. It sucks. Another reminder that this life we live is unfair and hard.

Nine months later after losing this friend, the Lord brought up my reaction to losing my Bubi. After her death, I kept asking him how my life would’ve looked like had my Bubi still been alive and my parents separated. Would I see her much, would I make the effort to call her? When I was growing up it was easy to see her. I continued this kind of living in my perceived expectations into my adulthood. Why was I looking in on the life I thought I should be living?

He helped me to see that when my Bubi died, it was simply her time. It wasn’t a mistake that she passed away, her toe tag number had come up. People mourn when babies, children, teenagers or young adults die. We expect that they’ll live longer. Not all of us are guaranteed to live past our first birthday, much less your 25th birthday. We expect everyone to grow old, but that’s not what His plan always allows. I thought about how I had peace about my Bubi’s death, and how I had finally come to accept that it was her time.

I pray every day that the doors that are closed stay that way, so it allows the news windows of opportunity and the doors of consolation to open and breathe new life into our cobwebbed lives. I was truly blessed to know Muriel Petigorsky Flesher, my Bubi and to be so close to her. I didn’t really lose anything that I won’t gain again. As for my former friend, my best description of that period of time is it was a time of learning. I learned a lot about myself about what I need, and who I am, and what I am not willing to give up for a friend. True friends are hard to come by, but I have learned that I do have one, and she is a treasure.

I have lost many clients due to death

I have a client who celebrated her 90th birthday last month. Her parents and all of her sibling are gone, and I know she doesn’t want stick around any longer than she has to. She is in pain every day partly due to her age, but also because when she was in her 30’s, she was in a car accident and she suffered devastating effects. Some of her pain today is the result of that accident. She was literally crushed, but she has never given up. Neither her husband or the driver of the truck that caused the accident was affected such as she was. Despite all her sufferings, she has always persisted in anything she has done. She was the one who told me that her Dad would always talk about how everyone had a toe tag, and when their time was up, it just meant that it was their toe tag that was being called. Death is a natural progression of life. Just like the different seasons of life that we experience. We might not know just when we exit one season only to enter another.

A few weeks ago, I called one of my more quiet clients the night before I was to see him the next day. However, the next day when I went to go knock on his door he didn’t answer. I tried a couple more times. This man kept to himself, and I was probably the only person he would see in a whole week. It was weird because I knew for a fact, that if I didn’t call the night before he wouldn’t answer his door, but if I did call him and he was expecting me and then he would come to the door. So a couple weeks had gone by and still nothing. I told my program manager and she checked around and found nothing.

I found out early last week that he had passed. I realized that quite possibly that I was the last person to speak to him before he died. I wasn’t upset but God had thought to include me in his life. I always have the choice whether or not to accept the client that I am given. This man was a heavy smoker, and I am a non-smoker so I could’ve chosen not to keep him, but I continued because he let me do my work and he always showed me respect.

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React or Respond

 

When you can’t put your prayer into words, God hears your heart.

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On Wednesday of this week, I got an email from Eddie Bauer, informing that they were giving me a gift card for $30 since it’s been a while since I’ve bought from them. They claim to miss me! I haven’t bought any clothes in over a year, I like clothes, but I always buy way more books and food than I do clothes. For Christmas, my Mom gave me a $40 gift card for a local and very popular second-hand store, St. Vincent du Paul. Most people would probably agree with me when I say their selection and prices are better than Value Village. I am at the point where I really don’t like the clothes I wear. Maybe, I should go to the trouble of printing off this coupon at the library because I don’t have a printer or a mobile phone.

I haven’t found a perfect way to express what may burst into my life, but I’m realizing this is somehow linked to who I am. I am taking off the layers that cover the core of who I am.

Learning who I am

Just when it seems that I am doing pretty good, Lent and spring allergies pop up, like I haven’t experienced in years.

I want to be who I am all the time, but by not eating refined sugar it’s brought up anger that I didn’t think were still there and a situation I tried to push away. Even though I know that life isn’t perfect, I think I expected it to be, and I feel as I am waiting for it to happen. My invisible feathers get all huffed up when someone isn’t as kind or respectful as I would like, but who I am to determine whether I get kindness or respect. Instead, I am being nudged to be the one to show kindness and smiling when I am all out of playing nice with other people.

All of my struggles all of a sudden are magnified a hundred times. This isn’t what living an authentic life is supposed to be. – right?

The Real Deal

I want the real, unrefined, not going to slip through my fingers kind of life. I don’t want a processed life, so instead of a cheap version, it will be filled with the wholeness of who I am. I have this image of me running in an open field but I don’t know my destination. Becoming who I was created to be will not happen overnight. I grew up believing that I would know everything when I was in my twenties, but I don’t know where that belief came from. Becoming an adult hasn’t given me all of the freedom I sought as a little girl. Instead, I think I am realizing that it’s possible, but it may take some time, probably my entire life! But if I can get glimpses of what it looks like, I can keep going back to the map that’s imprinted on my heart.

 

 

 

 

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Passion

 

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We all have it.

It just depends on how you choose to expand your potential.

At some point, I realized that I didn’t have a detailed plan in my head when I answered the Lord’s call to follow Him. I thought it meant completely giving up any and all writing. I believed I needed to give up everything I thought that was important to me. Wrong, wrong, wrong. All the attempts to not write, only seem to intensify my desire to write. I didn’t think I had a single thread of talent when it came to writing. I didn’t even think in my wildest dreams that He would want me to write. I assumed that God, in the beginning, was a punishing God, so that anything that I wanted would be something that He would probably take away from me.

Yes, I am speaking about that hidden talent or gifting that you think is stupid or someone else years ago made fun of. So you tuck it away and pretend that it doesn’t matter.

But you know it does

It comes out when you don’t want it to. That hidden desire that streaks across your eyes and ignites a firestorm in your heart. A burn that you can’t make up even if you wanted to. It’s different for each of, and unfortunately, most of us aren’t aware of what were fervent about. How can you tell what it is that you’re passionate about, well for the one you don’t talk about it.

Let’s say you love animals, and as a child, you spent more time with them than humans. It wasn’t just interesting, it was your ability to connect with them, and understand them. People could see how awesome you were with animals. It just happens that one of your friend’s parents was a veterinarian, and she let you volunteer at the animal hospital where she worked. It was what helped you decide that you wanted to be a vet. It made so much sense to you, and it brought a joy and peace to your entire being.

Passion isn’t enough

No one told me how it would feel to be an adult, mostly because there are no instructions on how to grow up. It’s a hit and miss. Largely made up of what I like to call experience. Sometimes we use our experiences well, and sometimes we stay stuck in our mistakes. Our mistakes can convince us that our passion isn’t worth it, and what we felt wasn’t real or had no substance to it. In general, everyday living gets in the way, and you don’t take the route you always intended. You had a plan, and it’s not the unfolding way it did in your head. So what’s the point of spending time with what you’re passionate about? Doubt strips away courage that you built up before you were hit with the reality that the choices you make do have consequences in your life. You can’t bottle up your passions, or they’ll disappear if you don’t fight for what remains in your heart.

I believe more people would walk into the unknown parts of their hearts if fear didn’t hold them back.

 

 

 

 

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Listen to What People Don’t Say

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That can be a hard one, to listen in the spaces that exist and to catch the words that aren’t spoken. Emotions that roll through the unsaid words and still do damage to all the persons involved.

       We are all broken, that’s how the light gets in. Ernest Hemingway

Water leaks out of the pipes and no one sees. The hard edges of rust sit until they are discovered, and with silent gasps of horror and disgust, fear spiraling out of your eyes. The smell of a campfire surrounds the air, burning wood sends out smoke signals. The heat of the fire can’t hide the dampness and the cold wind that dips down onto the ground.

Listen to what they don’t speak, or when their heart breaks

Walking through a shopping mall amidst the older people who sit on the cushions with long faces. They come here every day hoping to fill a hole in their heart. Others are just passing by on their lunch break too busy to look up as they speak with a colleague.

                                                                       Courage, dear heart. C. S. Lewis

What if I failed like I did last time? Already I can hear his voice, saying, “I told you this isn’t your thing.” But he doesn’t understand the desire that lives inside of me. It’s like if I don’t keep trying a part of me will wilt to nothing. There’s no way I can put it into words, I don’t think God has created a way that describes how free and wonderful I feel when I am able to get it right. I want to fly. I want to run away from home, but if I do, will they let me come back? But if I’m truthful, it’s not home anymore. I wish my eyes were able to take pictures of what I see now, and what I am entering into.

She understood that the hardest times in life to go through were when you were transitioning from one version of yourself to another.  Sarah Addison Allen

This transitions part really sucks because I feel like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, it’s so painful. There are people who mean the world to me, but I don’t see their purpose in my life anymore.  I am not the same person anymore, and if I am truthful about the situation, I don’t want to go back. All around me, people are hurting. Not in the same way but sins are overflowing, and there is nowhere to keep the tide from exposing more grief.

A lot of people are afraid to say what they want, that’s why they don’t get what they want.  Madonna

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Hindsight is Perfect

 

Michael stood in the last row on the very end in my kindergarten class picture with the biggest teddy bear. He had chocolate brown eyes, black hair that never seemed to be in place with his cow’s lick and a proverbial runny nose courtesy of his all season allergies.

He was this paradox in my life from the time I was five until I was 24 years old. He was a constant in my life. Being with Michael was always fun, especially on P.D. days. I learned how gross boys could be, but I chalked it up to boys just being weird, always dirty and entertaining. He didn’t like it when I was sick, and he would attempt to kiss me when I was feeling better. Even though I would pretend indifference as he attempted to kiss me when I felt better. I would never admit it ,but I liked that he missefile000202384719d me. I could just look at him, and that would send me into fits of laughter

In high school, we kept in touch mostly by calling each other once a week, and I think I believed everything would stay the same. But it was then that I saw changes taking place in him. Nothing concrete, but like bread crumbs being laid down, I saw, heard and sensed the confusion that slowly developed in him.

The entire time I was friends with Michael, I wanted him to notice me, but I was always in conflict with myself because I didn’t know where I stood with him. I had this bad habit of mixing his name up with my Dad’s name, and I would call my Dad; Michael. I knew something wasn’t right, but I didn’t know I was looking at Michael for what I really needed from my Dad. I knew psychology would probably explain why I kept mixing the names up. Communicating well was not in my vocabulary at this time. I kept everything locked up tight inside my head. I was quiet, shy and very observant but Michael was able to see beyond that. He would always remember me.

It wasn’t until he moved away for University that I began seeing a side of him emerge that I had never met before. He had purposely chosen a program that would take him away from home. The home was not the oasis that most would assume about his family. His parents were both teachers, and while it made for great appearance sake, things were fraying at the edges in his family.

I remember one year when Michael had come home a few days before Christmas, and of course, he hadn’t even started his Christmas shopping.   It was probably my only chance to really spend time with him. One such year, I remember as he met up with some friends and he started talking to them. It was like he pretended that he didn’t know I was standing right beside him. I had started becoming invisible to him. On reflection, I realize it had been happening longer than I wanted to admit to. I had him on such a high pedestal, I could only see his good side. There were some other situations that showed me that we weren’t little anymore. I began to doubt his loyalty and friendship to me. I even wrote him a letter at one point, about our friendship, and his solution a bouquet of a dozen red roses. At some point, I started hearing a silent voice, and I believe it was God, who spoke. “Michael is not the marrying kind.” I ignored this, but it was the truth.

Around the time of my initial conversion to Christ(1999) when it seems like God simply picked me up, and everything that I was avoiding and had suppressed was unearthed from me.  For me, that meant acknowledging my feelings. Every single one I hid from because they scared the crap out of me. It was around this time that I noticed that Michael had this friend that didn’t seem like the kind of friend Michael would normally hang with. Michael always had to work hard for his grades in school, and was in no way a nerd, but this ‘friend’ was very much a nerd. These bread crumbs that I saw while he was in high school had never disappeared.  He never stopped trying to tell me what he feared I think the most, at the time, was his sexuality.

I don’t remember the exact circumstances but I remember the age that we were when I last pexels-photo-105041saw him; he was 24 years old, and I was 23. He was four months older than me. My mom had heard the news on the radio, and a neighbour confirmed hearing his name as well. Michael had been charged with sexual assault of two young boys. I wish I could remember exactly what he wearing and looking the last time I saw him but I don’t. In fact, I don’t have a single picture of him as an adult, and I don’t think that’s an accident. I don’t remember my thoughts, but in the weeks and months ahead I experienced so much anger towards him. He had stopped being that person I thought I knew.

I don’t know where my decision to break off contact with him came from, but I knew couldn’t deal with his stuff and my stuff at the same time.  I did what I thought was healthy at the time. I told him I couldn’t be his friend anymore. I wrote him a letter. He never tried to contact me, he respected my wishes. The innocence of our friendship had faded a long time ago, but I had just assumed I would be his friend in some way for the rest of our lives. But he has never left my heart.

I always believed my heart was burning for him. I wanted a friend who would always be with me, always listen, always want and love me, but it wasn’t Michael; he was badly chipped. I wanted him to be what I needed, and if only he would truly ‘see’ me everything would be better. I pinned all of the solutions to my problems to Michael noticing me. It took a long time before I realized he was just a boy, who just wanted to be loved and accepted by those around him. Yes, he’s an adult now, but there are parts of us that never truly grow up, and stand tall to be that man or woman that we were created to be.

Published previously in 2014

Luke~24:30-32

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Puttin’ on the Ritz

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One of the things that I love to do during the summer is paint my toe nails. When I was younger I would paint my finger nails too, but it would never stay chip free. Usually I would choose a shade of red until my nails started to turn yellowish, which I found out meant that I wasn’t allowing my nails to breathe. So I gave nail polish up for a while, but eventually I went back to having coloured toe nails as I love wearing sandals with my coloured toes nails in the summer!

Blue and Borrowed

It’s not a cheap bottle of nail polish, but it has captured the exact shade of blue that I wanted to paint my toe nails this summer. It all started last year when I saw a woman with this beautiful shade of light baby blue on her toe nails. My search began in earnest. And I wanted to share it with someone who I thought might enjoy it as well, but I had no idea that the nail polish would spurred on its own battle.

The Other Side of the Coin

So I have been asking myself, is the battle that was spurred on by nail polish worth my time and effort? At one point, I didn’t see the choices that I had, and yes I could believe those lies I told myself, but instead of putting on airs, I kept pulling back the layers that I had collected over the years. I didn’t want to be that person who kept doing it over and over before I caught myself in the act, but…

Believing the lie that I wasn’t deserving of what I desired when it was God, who had given me these desires in the first place. So when I decided to step back, it afforded me the luxury of seeing what was really in front of me. Being single and being friends with someone who is married isn’t easy, but it has allowed me to see that my needs being met in a relationship is just as important as the other person who is married. Singleness seems like a plague, but it’s just a station of life that I’m in now. Being exactly as how God wants me to be and act is sometimes hard when you become aware of what the other person is asking of you. Do you bend to their expectations or let your hair stick out at odd angles?

Cultivating a Value System

So many times I have turned around and looked the other way, so I didn’t have to deal with the conflict, the fear and the rejection I’m expecting. When I take the time to reflect on what made me feel uncomfortable or angry, it’s only then that I start to see a clearer picture emerge. I am big on quality, and it’s what I am looking for in just about everything that I seek. But especially in people who are in my life. Often it’s lacking, but then it can turn up where you least expect it. I am learning that I love it when someone  unexpectantly shows me what they love or like about me. It’s not what I can do for them, but just for being who I am. There are no pretenses, no masks to be put on. These people are the ones that love me just as I am. No strings attached. I love that they can see who I am and be able to put it into something solid. Validation just flows out of their mouths and I take in like sunbathing on the beach.

Are you part of a community where you feel you can just be who you were made to be?

They take you whatever way you present yourself to them? I don’t know about you but it allows me to truly be who I am without fear that they don’t ‘getsomething about me. Whether we admit or not, we all want to be valued by those we love, but it doesn’t always happen in a nice and neat way. Sometimes were not understood as we would like to be. My high sensitivity has led me to experience these kind of situations. It’s frustrating to speak as clearly as you can, and still be misunderstood, like you’re speaking foreign language, but also not feel the support you were hoping from this particular circumstance.

Neither did these circumstances boost my low self-esteem, and my lack of value in myself, never mind receiving value from other people. I have learnt it is easy to see the value others show you, when you come to truly value yourself. Arriving at a place where whatever happens your confidence in yourself isn’t blown off into the the gutter.

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In Search of the Great Wide Open – Part 1

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Matthew ~7:7-8

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks find, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Matthew ~7:7-8

Based on reading Matthew 7:7, it’s just the process that I have been going through the last few months. I feel as if I haven’t prayed in this way before. Some days it’s like I am standing in front of a deep and dark forest, and I don’t know how I will make my way through. The branches are tangled and entwined with each other that I’m at a loss to how to trample through this place.

I have been studying Matthew 7:7, and I have taken some ideas of what is happening here. First, there is the foundation to all of our prayers: asking. You ask Him for something, and then you move into seeking, which in my estimation is where you get down to the nitty-gritty: prayer, a.k.a; having a personal relationship with the creator of the Universe. The last part is knocking, and right now I haven’t arrived at that point. Seeking can take a while.

One thing that is important I think is to be specific. If we know exactly what are our desires are, it’s better than having free rein at the local toy store. Besides most of what we crave can’t be bought. Be not afraid to ask for what you want because he might want to know how much you want it. This is a dicey one for me. So he provides the situation for the tickle that will encourage you to seek Him with your petition. To dig underneath this desire he has planted in you. To really want what He wants for you. To me it doesn’t make sense. It’s a desire that God has given to you, but first he wants to know just how much you really want it. In the meantime, you keep asking the same question or telling him what it is; that your heart desires. Again and again and again.

This is where being specific comes in handy.

Sometimes we bury the desires of our heart. Digging deep into our hearts can be hard. The majority of people don’t linger in the dark alleys or recesses of our memories. Going deeper isn’t clean or without pain.

Keep saying the words over and over.  He hasn’t given you a timeline, or a deadline to as when he will answer your question, so until then, keep seeking even when it makes no sense. Starting to ask is only the beginning because he wants to answer us. He wants us to know that we will receive, and He wants us to believe He hears us. Seeking always leads me to think I am searching for a treasure, and knocking can bring us into a whole new arrival in our lives. Our treasure is knowing his Heart for us, knowing it, and believing it.

Praying is trusting

A few months ago, I got praying is trusting while I was journaling. It was out of the ordinary because I would’ve never put the two together. We trust in Him when we are praying, as we speak to Him asking questions, and scavenging for treasure and knocking on doors that open us to new life. When I pray I don’t consciously think about what is changing in or around me, but I keep reading that it does exactly that – change us. The more I thought about praying is trusting, the more I realized, yeah it is. To tell someone of the desires of your heart indicates trust in this particular person. Most of us probably don’t truly understand what our hearts really craves, or if we do, we’ll deny ourselves this one thing because of the shame factor. When we tell someone, it brings our heart out of the darkness and into the light.IMG_8863

Some days, I avoid journaling, but it doesn’t mean I don’t want to. There is life and spirit, and there is this constant friction in which we live in.  We live in a world of entitlement, but there’s also an undercurrent of belief of unworthiness. You can base your value on just because you are worth it, and that is what the world tells us to do. However, I’ve found it hard to do that. I don’t know about you but it’s hard to trust in myself. I have failed myself too many times to believe I alone can act to change in my life without His help.