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Stuff You Didn’t Mention

 

Some people walk into your lives and the blessings they leave behind seem to still shine even though there are a thousand miles in between.

The picture above is from my friend Catherine in an email that gave me the title for this post. Whenever I need prayers, I will send out an email to pretty much everyone on my contact list. Some respond and some don’t, but hopefully, all of them pray for me. The first email she sent me contained a photo of two (of four) of her children eating noodles off the floor, and of course, she added a cute explanation for what transpired for them to be eating off the ground.

A bit of honesty here, I didn’t think I would still be in contact with Catherine on any kind of basis. It’s been my experience most people – women in particular – disappear when they marry. I expected no less with Catherine, and yes for a year or two, she did, but she’s the only friend (who is married) who has maintained any kind of connection with me. Her eldest daughter just turned 9 years old. I remember her visiting me when she was pregnant with Lucia, who is just as beautiful just as her mother is.

Catherine is one of those people whose kindness and generosity shines through her heart in everything she does. We first met in 1999, she is from Saskatchewan, one of the prairies provinces in Canada. She moved to the city I live in because she going to university there, and wanted to experience life away from home.

When Catherine graduated from school she spent a year in Taiwan teaching to pay off her student loan, and I think it was a couple of years after she married. A lot has happened for both of us since we first met. She lives in a town called Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, and has two girls and two boys. I don’t see much or phone/email to her much, but when we do connect it doesn’t really matter that so much is in between us

Months earlier this year, Catherine emailed me and asked if it was possible to get together. She was going to a wedding at the beginning of June. Of course, I said yes! She has a wonderful spirit of persistence for people such as myself, who wondered in the beginning – why me?

I don’t take the role of friendship lightly. Even though five years may span between each time we see each other. Catherine still takes the time to include me in life as much as you can when she lives at one end of the country, and I am on the other end. I haven’t been able to visit her as I would like, but there’s a standing invitation that I hope I will be able to take her up on in the future.

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

4

Connecting

 

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We’re all connected in some way.

I spoke about isolating myself in my last post, and how easy it is for me to do.  Obviously, that’s the opposite of connecting. It’s in the relationships in our lives that we heal and grow, and connecting is just a link to that. I was scared of having it all wrong. I didn’t see how I fit into the equation. I wanted to be liked for who I was, but I felt awkward. All the girls in my junior high-class had it all together. They wore clothes from stores like Ralph Lauren, Roots, Esprit and Benetton. Their fashion style seemed so effortless, and the best I could hope for was finding a knock-off, or a hand me down from one of these stores.

I know now that they were likely just as scared as I was, but appearances can play all kinds of mind games. I believed that it was easier not to connect, easier to push away relationships because that meant being real but this scared me. Pain can do funny things to you, and out of that pain, you operate differently. So I choose isolation and the loneliness that comes with it.

Just the symptoms

Some of us are better than others at connecting the dots, starting up social clubs, starting up relationships, and allowing ourselves to be seen rather than run away. Being social is a part of who we are as humans, it feeds something that is needed by all of us. Instead of finding a connection, we hide from being relational because at some point it was just easier to not show your heart.

These are all these starting points that block our way that leads the way to our potential, our worth, the beauty struggles inside of us, and trembles at the glimpse of His light. Instinctively, I knew I wasn’t supposed to hide, but fear is very good at pretending to be the problem. Distressed at the thought of being social limits everything that you are.

I still think you need to unearth the memories that your heart holds because we may want the same thing, but that desire will be expressed differently, accordingly to our uniqueness. As long as I isolated myself, I never allowed myself to dream, to wonder out loud about what I would love to do. I kept it inside, but I don’t know if I even knew how to connect with others. There were a couple of things that I think blocked me:

  • I felt rejected because I had first rejected myself
  • I didn’t believe I had anything to give
  • Belief of lies fed through the lack of connection and communication with others

I wanted to give because we all have something to give, but too often the lies from childhood and adolescence take a grip in our hearts. It’s easier than the truth because we’ve told ourselves that we aren’t worth the time, but we give willingly to others who steal what was never theirs in the first place. Don’t ever give up on making the kind of connection that you know you need. Healing can come in many forms.

When you realize that pieces of you are lying on the ground, it is then that connecting becomes a real possibility. When the pieces of your brokenness leave you feeling raw, it becomes more than just a piece of something you hold in the palm of your hand. Connecting with others will always be a fragile process, and it becomes harder as you get older, but it never becomes impossible.

 

 

 

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Unlimited Rest

 

 

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For five days, I had no Internet access.

I thought about pulling my hair out my roots or screaming bloody murder to express my frustration, hurling something hard across the room. My work timetable for this week and the rest of the month is on my email account. My Internet service provider (ISP) took an extra-long New Year’s week off, so what’s a girl to do? Whatever happened to being reliable?

I don’t know if they (my ISP) have an advanced knowledge of the future, but you can’t know when or if the Internet is going to stop working for one or a group of people. If I had known that I would be able to access anything online, I would’ve planned ahead. Not having the Internet is not the end of the world, but some of my world is on the online, and I kind of feel as if my life has been put on hold.

I get that everyone needs time off, to rest, to take a break from work and stress. Spending time with people you love and doing things you enjoy. That is not hard to understand, but when you have clients who may or may not have good connections…

Solid Relationships

It’s easy in this online world to forget on what is really needed, and what is just a candy coated WANT.  I’ve spoken on how it’s so easy to close ourselves off from initiating and maintaining relationships that aren’t online, in fact, it’s easier to form a relationship than when you are physically face to face.

I remember signing up my with my ISP having some bumps in the beginning. The Lord taught me a few lessons on trusting in Him using the Internet. Whenever I would have problems, I would first stop and ask the Lord what is his prayer for my Internet connection. It’s hard to remember that He is in control of even your ISP, and that again He is asking for your trust in him. I have incorporated so much of my writing with being online that it’s a real step back for me. I am part of the Gen X, so I grew up without being online, but I wonder how it might affect those don’t know life without the Internet.

In the short-term, I have been spending more time journaling, and reading the last few days, I can see how much busier we’ve become with the Internet in our lives. I am in this competition against myself to see if I can win this impossible race.

Recalling my relationship to Him, helps me to ask what is really important, and the only answer is Him. It helps me to know what exactly I need to do, not should, could, but need to do. Without realizing it, being online is like us breathing, but when it’s taken away, I would then liken the withdrawal symptoms similar to how are we to breathe?

Be Still and Know that I am God ~ Psalm 47:10

Praying, journaling, silence and solitude.

Closing my eyes, and taking a deep breath, and remembering I don’t need to have it all. Just where I am, and who I am is enough. Trusting comes with believing that He wants the best, and maybe that includes your Internet connection.

2

Parts of a Whole

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I saw my doctor earlier in the week for an unrelated situation, but he always likes to read what we discussed when I last in, by way of the notes, he has made. He asks all these questions that he knows the answers to, but he’s like that. Yep, I just want to zip in and zip out.

Questions

It’s the questions about being social that has me fidgeting, and it’s because well, I’m not big on the socializing thing, and there’s good reason, I’m an introvert. But instead of calling me an introvert, he called me a loner. There’s just something about the word loner that has me squirming on the inside of me. I feel as if he thinks I should be more social, but that’s not me. My doctor asks how often I socialize during the month, and to be honest being at work, really is my social hour five days a week. Then at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is socialize again.

The loner really gets a bad rap because it’s the loner who ends up killing innocent bystanders as  the crazed gunman who opens fire on unsuspecting victims riding the bus home. It turns out the gunman didn’t have many friends, in fact, he spent a lot of time by himself. Most of his neighbours would go for months without seeing, but when they did, he would yell obscenities at them. He was estranged from his family, and that’s when everyone starts judging why he went on this rampage of terror…

Sounding familiar

Sure I know other people who are introverts, but in no way would they or I become violent. I can’t even watch movies with a lot of violence, and even if I’m forced I close my eyes. I want the HEA, and feel that good feeling that goes with it. Yes, most people who kill others in disregard aren’t healthy, and obviously, these individuals probably have serious emotional and/or mental health concerns. But that’s one of the reasons I don’t like the word loner.

It’s hard to get to know me and people don’t come running up to get to know me, I’ll admit it here that I  would rather observe you and the situation before I really open myself up to anyone I haven’t met before. Yes, I spend a lot of time alone, and yes I love it! But I also enjoy spending time with people, and enjoy being around other people and a small amount of socializing hasn’t yet harmed me! For most people, being around other people is something that is fun to do. Being by myself has really helped me to get to know myself, but it has also has helped me to know when I need others and step out into my community and seek others out.

When my Doctor used the word ‘loner’ I realize now that he didn’t mean to put me off. Yes, introverts are part of a minority, so yes I am to a point misunderstood, but sometimes extroverts need to try to understand what the minority is all about. I know growing up before I really knew what introversion was all about, I tried being like everyone else which, if you read this blog on any kind of regularity – you’ll know it didn’t work for me. I just knew that I couldn’t fit the shape of who I was through anyone else’s cookie cutter.

And that is exactly what my direction is.

It is the labeling of names, words that somehow start to define how we and others see us. We become part of this mold, and we try to live up to that impression or appearance. There are certain words and labels that would definitely show others who I am, but I believe that there are all parts of the whole and that unless they are shown just the parts they will never know the whole of who I am. I am convinced that people are only seeing parts of my whole, but maybe they are able to see the whole of who I am. It’s not all about being an introvert to know who I am. It’s in the knowing, in the confidence that I have from staying true to my beliefs, expressing myself in ways that attest to this belief. It’s a mixture of a lot of things, but in the end, my parts are essential to my whole. So I’ll continue to go along with this label annoyance!

A challenge to all extroverts!

Calling all extroverts I encourage you to go up to someone you know is for sure an introvert, and befriend them.  Make the extra effort to talk to them on a regular basis if this possible. If you preserve in attempting to speak to them, I promise you great things will happen! Let me know in the comments if do take the challenge and how it goes.

4

Hearer of the Heart

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He knows  this place better than I do. I am fearful of truly knowing what’s in my heart…why? I’ve convinced myself that what my heart says and holds isn’t really what I want. Kind of crazy. If He’s in my heart there is no reason to fear. But I’ve had years to stock up the lies that are louder than the whispers coming from my heart. You have heard the cries, and  you know my heart so much better than I do.

Blessed is she, who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises. Luke ~1:45

Instead of letting the worry or anxiety fill up inside of your head, and crowd out the goodness that does exist. I have forgotten that He is my heart that each time it beats, it is a reminder. Does your heart burn with yearning when you are doing the exact opposite of where you want the direction of your life to go?

Keeper of my Heart

If I was left to my own devices, I would have a heart that would be smashed to pieces. I am not kind or gentle with this place where He abides. For if I was to push away all that I determined wasn’t good, I would never know His mercy. He makes sure that I am aware of what he wants for me, and He is teaching me to savour the moments when He makes himself known with his love swelling inside of me. The image that appears in my mind, is one of a volcano, and the lava spilling out is his love. Something as simple as cleaning a toilet, but staying in that moment, we are we able to visit and treasure one another. Remembering to stay close to him as we journey through the morning to mid-day, then the afternoon, which rolls into the evening. We can always be attentive and accepting of his desire teeming inside of us, or we can ignore this grace that He offers us.

When we are blessed with the knowledge of where he resides , we are blessed in fact by His constant vigil. Never does he leaves us, his nearby presence is not there to bother us but to assure us of His everlasting love for his children.

Not many of us are passionate about what we love or what we do. Were all too busy trying to get things done, to be bothered with being passionate about our lives, and in turn serving others through this passion.

For me, life is Christ.  Philippians~1:21

Giving up could be an option, but there are already too many things that have been left aside in favour of something much sweeter.

This mystery of Christ which lives in us has us wandering not knowing exactly where we are headed, except that we know He tugs at our heart, and it is He who is leading us down this path called life.

 

 

3

Colour Blind

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Squeaky wheels always get the most attention.

I‘m the one who is quiet and sits in the back so I won’t be called on. Curiosity crawls inside of me, but often the questions remained inside my head. Inside, the high tides of anxiety overwhelm me and any thoughts or ideas were washed off in the waves of fear.

Value thy self

As I was reflecting back to growing up, I resembled a mixed up Rubik’s cube. All that was needed was someone to turn all the cubes back to what it looked like in the store. In many ways, I am to blame to how and what I believe about myself now. Instead of acting out, drinking, taking drugs, I isolated myself from everyone and thing. It wasn’t the greatest self-care.

I wanted to be valued but I had zero value to for myself, but to be honest, I didn’t know how to value who I am and was as a little girl.

Lately, the Lord has bringing been up how I don’t value myself, and he’s been showing me through my love languages. Even when you don’t love yourself, He continues to love and show me that I am deserving and worthy of all of his gifts that he has given me. I am priceless to Him.

People come from all over the world to see famous paintings such as Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, or the Prodigal Son at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. But most of us don’t put much work into ourselves because we’ve been taught not to value who we are. Trying to find your value in what you are or to others, will never satisfy the thirst to be all that you were made to be, and what is that? When we start to see ourselves through God’s eyes, the labels we attach to ourselves aren’t what we once thought they once were.

I don’t want to be confined to what I am, defined by what clothes I wear, or who I associate with.

Some of my clients call me their cleaning lady, and if I was a kettle you would see me boiling over with anger. I don’t consider myself just a cleaning lady, but it is a huge aspect of what I do every day. A lot of the seniors I work with want and need to make a connection – we all do – and sometimes I am the only person they will see all day. I have been doing this job for over five years, and every day I am working to do a better job. By putting value into my work maybe they will know they are valuable. Maybe they won’t feel the sting of being forgotten by their family or long for things to be the way they used to be.

Where we are now is to know how much God values us. He doesn’t give us what we can’t handle, or so were told. I am learning that this might hold true when we surrender what isn’t ours to hold onto, and put value into what He is giving us right now.

The value of our life does not depend on the place we occupy, it depends on the way we occupy that place.

St. Therese