2

Walking Through Fire

 

 

 

I do not like numbers. I can add and subtract, I have my multiplication tables memorized, and I can get by doing long division. There is nothing about numbers that I find funny or interesting. Instead, they bring out all my insecurities – all of them in full colour. All I do is cry, well when no one is looking. For a long time, it was something that I tried to hide from. Normally, I tell people up front that I am not a numbers girl. I don’t see any kind of life with them.

On Saturday, I did some online banking, paid some bills, and moved some money into some of my other accounts. Items I’ve done plenty times before, except I couldn’t figure out why I was $ 45 in the hole. I ended up going to my bank and asking the teller to articulate to me what was going on.

Sometimes a situation that doesn’t seem all that bad to you can in a flash turn on you.

Next thing I know I am experiencing so many emotions that I just want to run. I don’t want to explain why I did what I did because when you’re like this you feel like an idiot. Why do you feel the need to expand on this one situation that has completely humiliated you? Cause no one likes to feel like a fool. No one likes being reminded that we’re not perfect, that none of us have it all together. It was a mini-melt down for me. I haven’t experienced one in quite some time, in fact, it’s been years. When I started using antidepressants and I was trying to figure out which one worked the best that’s when I would experience them. I would be out of commission for 2-5 days. I literally could not function because I wasn’t used to feeling all these emotions. I had gotten really good at pushing them away.

I’m exhausted, but not defeated because even though I can’t see it, I know there is still more. I might be just a girl, a woman in a process with her stuff but I am still so much more. I’ve told myself that for years, it was easy to be forgotten, easy to hide and blend in with the background because I am really good at doing that. I need to remember in the process of all things that who I am doesn’t change even though I may not feel the confidence that is placed inside of me.

The emotions that erupted in me last Saturday are still having far-reaching effects on me. Namely, I think the emotions of my past are in effect ghosting on my present and my future. I can sit back and twiddle my thumbs and think there isn’t anything for me to do, or I can decide that I don’t want to be a spectator while my emotions take over what little common sense and intelligence inhabit inside of me.

Like fear, I think God is asking me if I will make a trek through the anger. After all, I am in the right place, I been residing in the desert to walk and hope that these dead bones will come back to life.

 

0

Still Waiting

Good at waiting?

Nope. That’s not something I have mastered in my short life here on Earth. It drives me crazy, to know how incredibly calm and patient God is. Immediately, shining the light on my inability to have that kind of supernatural patience, calmness, and respect for each of our unique needs. I don’t care if I’m not ready, I just want to jump right into the middle of it all. My theory is as I run around in the circles of the chaos, I’ll eventually find where I’m supposed to be going. Sounds great eh? Not really, because I have learned through trials (ironically!) that it would overwhelm me and shut me down. It’s too easy for me to withdraw socially, and isolate myself and let myself descend into depression. I don’t want it to be an option for me anymore.  I am attempting to take the refined sugar out of my diet, which hasn’t happened yet…I am learning to fall, but to get back up and try again and again.

This story actually started in earnest probably when I was little, like so much of my story, it has a base in what I lacked. You can read about my foundational issues here.  Since my conversion in 2000, I have been waiting for 17 years to meet the man who would be my husband.

In a few months, I will be celebrating my 42nd birthday, but I never thought I would still be single in my forties. I had it all planned out in my head that I would be married long before I reached my fortieth birthday. On the brighter side, my sister arrived to surprise me for my 40th birthday. She did, and I didn’t even have any time to think because my sister knows how to keep me laughing, smiling and rolling my eyes.

Are you good at waiting?

Probably in some way you are. There’s an ebb and flow to the waiting process. Sometimes it’s hard, I mean it physically hurts and other times a peace flows because remaining in the present moment is exactly that: a present to be aware of what is going on in and around yourself. Getting orientated with your surroundings. Don’t shove me into something I’m not sure about. Just don’t do it. Waiting allows for the slow peeling of who you really are. It shows you the unpredictability of life – doesn’t it? I haven’t always made the best decisions or choices or had the best attitude about living. But I don’t want something like a lack of a husband to stop me from reaching my goal of becoming a published Christian author.

The other thing I have experienced through waiting is that I feel as if I am being punished for something I might’ve done, but it remains invisible to my knowledge. I’m not like everyone else because I am waiting for something that should’ve happened years ago. Anything can and will trigger the brokenness that I carry around in my heart with the belief that I’ve done something wrong. He won’t tell me anything except to remind me to trust and stay quiet, instead of doing what I would normally do, which is be angry and bitter. I’d rather not be constantly tossed into an unending circle of anger because that is what it ends up being.

Yes, we are all waiting for something, it might be a spouse or a healing and you don’t get the reasoning for this season of disappointment and birthdays passing by. Waiting is something that we are familiar with whether or not we believe in something greater than ourselves. But that doesn’t make it easier or does it explain the why’s. It’s this mysterious way of life that some of us have the privilege of going through. There is always the struggle between your desires and His desire in a revolving door of choices that through no fault of your own (sometimes) that can drag you down.

In the end, I am learning that not knowing the mysterious side of life isn’t a bad thing. It depends on my ability to hone the gifts He has given me and concentrate my time on who I am, in spite of what I am not in the eyes of those who put more value in appearance. It’s a token of time that I will not get back, and a place where I can decide what it will look like to me in retrospect.

 

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,

in quietness and trust is your strength,

but you would have none of it.

Isaiah~30:15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Give Me That!

 

 

For a few years, my sister and Mom have been praying a novena to surrender, but I didn’t see any reason to pray it too

I started noticing when I was off the refined sugar and when I was in certain situations, my emotions would kick in and my first reaction was to eat sugar.  I would use sugar to satisfy the emotion bubbling inside of me. The emotions that I was experiencing were anger and anxiety, and I had started reading this book all about control. Underneath the anger and anxiety is a lot of…

Control

I can see why I wanted control because when I was younger, I didn’t have any at least to my knowledge. I wanted to be able to control something in my environment because I didn’t think I was getting what I needed. I don’t know about you, but being able to control others is a power that supposedly gives you satisfaction. I don’t know about that because I was still pulling in sewage and not treasure. I felt angry because I felt so powerless growing up.

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Genesis ~3:6-7

If someone offered you fruit from a tree and it looked pleasing to you, wouldn’t you take it? Even if you knew the fruit would play havoc with your life, but you didn’t know that yet. If you were told or promise it would do great things for you wouldn’t you want to at least try it out? Maybe your street smarts, or your manners you learned while growing up, or with your beauty, you can manipulate your destiny.

Admitting that I have difficulties with anger or anxiety isn’t always easy for me, but having a long history with depression tends to put it into perspective. What is it that I am trying to control is the question that I’ve started asking myself. Maybe there is a possibility that I will learn to respond instead of reacting.

Starting the novena to surrender, it never occurred to me that I had an issue with control. I mean every minute of every day, were trying to wrench back our control over our lives because it’s just not fair. I was of the mind for years that my idea of how my life should’ve gone was way better, but anger and anxiety didn’t change my situation. Everything has remained relatively the same.

I have always been a keen enthusiast of observing others while they are in a flutter of activity. I listen to everything, colours may blend into the background, and words may skirt inside of my head. I want to know what is it that I am doing wrong?

Anger and anxiety didn’t change my desires or has it brought them any faster into my life-like I thought it would. God values my free will and yet I still choose to certain situations that aren’t really good for me.  You see we think we’re all better than each other but were really clueless as to how to achieve peace and love in our lives

 

2

Restless Hearts Anonymous

Like a pendulum, the heart swings from calm to joyful to doubtful.

When I started this blog, its purpose was to build a platform for myself as an author, and that hasn’t changed. But I also want to use what I have experienced to help current and future readers to find a place here at The Broken Tea Cup Blog. In the last year, I have felt the Lord wanting me to speak more about living authentically. Not following the tide of the trends, but truly searching for the uniqueness of who I am, and who you are. Stripping away all that is fake, and coming to terms with you. For all of us to dare to take this road, it is not for the weary, for it will take us down paths we never thought possible.

So each post, I have tried to show I am living authentically, though I know I am still questioning what does that really mean to me. How can I best bring you on my journey, so that you will keep coming back?

So I tried to write a post ALL this week, and nothing was working. I did word association, I journaled, and I talked it out (in my head) as I cleaned my client homes. NOT A THING came to mind that would help. Ugh.

It wasn’t until yesterday that it hit me that I am feeling restless – well my heart is feeling restless. I honestly don’t know what this means. Is my heart bored? Is it needing a holiday? I am in a spot where I don’t really know where to turn to next. Yes, this is the time for prayer, but what happens when I don’t hear Him? Do I fill in the answer in the empty spaces in front of me?

I think I am needing a bit of honesty here.

Maybe I could start Restless Hearts Anonymous….

Maybe they’ll give me my own Wikipedia page about how the Restless Hearts Anonymous started, about its steps, how successful it’s gone on to be. I will be famous. Wow. But I am simply the girl who likes to stay hidden in the background so this could be a problem.

Would you join me in this new movement? I know I am not the only one who has a restless heart.

And I promise pulling the roots of your hair out will not be part of 12 steps to a restful heart.

2

Love My Dad

Who you were, who you are and who you will be are three different people –  Author Unknown

 

Your identity is the most valuable part of you, but most of us, some of us have no idea what it is. Knowing who you are minus all the titles we play day in and day out can blur out the truth of your identity. Confusion is a big deterrent and a likely suspect in losing ourselves to the constant swirl of life.

~

As a little girl, I loved the feel of the cool green grass under my bare feet. I believe at the time that I had the biggest backyard than anyone I knew. I could hide in our tree house that existed out of weirdly shaped trees that bordered our property. In the summer, I would walk over the cracks in the cement in our backyard because I never knew for sure if stepping on them would break my Mothers back. Clothes hung on the clothesline overhead. I could go visit my (Hebrew for grandmother) Bubi anytime I wanted. I remember the sand stuck between my toes and ants crawling over the big peony buds right before they would bloom.

Fear that no one wanted me

Ever since I started this blog, I have used each post as a place for my healing. It has become a place where I have been able to share who I am without fear of rebuff of any kind. Finding my identity and claiming it has been a long process. From an early age, I have been shy, preferring to stay close to my Mom.  When I met Jesus, I became more aware of myself, and at times it was extremely painful. Slowly, I would surprise myself at how well I would speak to others. Over time, the shyness that I assumed was a part of me disappeared, as I would go to reach for it. It was my protection over what I felt I couldn’t control. From the world that I had a hard time processing through.

Shyness is a reaction to feeling rejection. This was at first confusing because as that little girl with the ash blonde hair I thought knew who I was. I believed that the shyness was a part of the package of my personality.

If we lived in a perfect world, I would be living my dream. I wanted to be loved. I didn’t know if I deserved it but it was this silent, persistent need that over time gave my credence of what I didn’t see as acceptance. You see I wanted my Dad to see me as a lovable little girl, but what I didn’t know at the time was he didn’t have the skills on how to fill my emotional needs.

It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I learned that daughters’ need their fathers love as much as we need oxygen to breathe. The extreme anxiety and depression that I struggled throughout my childhood through to my early 30’s. spoke volumes of how I tried to teach myself on how to handle my emotions.  I can’t breathe unless I know my father loves me unconditionally. It was the root. I really believed I was a terrible person.  Desperate, I was for my Dad to notice me. To take an active interest in who I was.

Before I go on, this is not a post to bash fathers because they are hurting too. Too many men are being pushed down, or believe it’s not good to be masculine and to be as they have been created.

As I have learned about all my parts, or at least the ones He has chosen to show me, I have had many aha moments. He has brought clarity into my being, and a peace that is everlasting. And get this! People really do like me.

Knowing who I am, the peace can flow into every part of my being

As a little girl, I desired for my Dad to notice me, to see me and pursue me. I wanted him to be interested in who I was, but as time went by, he did none of what of what was in my heart. So I did the only thing I knew and I began shutting down emotionally, mentally and physically. Instead, I sought out my Dad, I asked him about the rules of Canadian football, what and why he washed his car. Nothing I did got the attention I was desperate to have from him.

It took me a long time to realize I couldn’t change him, no matter how many times I initiated something with him. I had finally got it, that it had never been my job in first place. It was his job as my father to delight in me – as his daughter. To show me his love, protection, values, and everything that was important to him. I wanted to know who he was and is, but that part of his heart to me has never been opened to me.

My Dad is without the skills I need. I believe his own father didn’t give him what he needed as a boy growing up. His own feelings about his Dad (my grandfather) aren’t the memories that you hold close to your heart. Rather they are the kind that you push away, and you let everyone else teach you how to be a man. Yes, we need our parents, a mother and a father to show us how to be a man or woman –  learned from their parents. A family is about love, trust and passing it down because it is good to know that there is a place where all of us can truly belong and be accepted. There is no cost to join, we simply need to be the product of our parents love that is between them. I believe how we are brought up determines a lot of who we become. It guides our perception of the world, it certainly leads mine.

I speak with my Dad once a month, we chat for about 15 minutes on the usual things. I would love to go to visit him but that just doesn’t seem to be his thing.  Does my Dad love me? Yes. I have no doubt that he does, he kind of gives it away in the way his eyes shine and sparkle when he first sees me. This could be a whole other post because I know my heavenly father has and is filling me with what I lack.

I’m not the shy, scared, self-hating little girl with ash blond hair anymore. Nor am I am the girl who hid from her peers. I am not the awkward adult who didn’t feel that she was a full-grown adult and just a child in disguise. Don’t get me wrong there are still times, the child in me comes out and gives a sly smile at those around her, and allows some of them into her heart so that they can see for themselves that God still saves.

0

Discovering the Real Value in Christmas

 

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Christmas always left me feeling sad and empty when I was a little girl.

After all, the presents had been opened, and the wrapping paper was in the garbage, the whole idea of Christmas always seemed to be a waste – at least – to me it was. It was a race against time to get all those presents, and then a few hours later it was done. I wondered what the point of all of the gifts was. I was focused on a tree strung with bright sparkling lights, a man in a red suit who travelled with reindeer flying all over the world to give out gifts.

Forget the actual day of Christmas, the magic of Christmas Eve struck a chord in my young heart because I knew whatever was happening was special. Everyone leaves work early to go home and be with their families and close friends. Part of the problem I think was, I didn’t even know that we were celebrating and remembering a baby being born.

It’s a few days after Christmas, and it is still about hope, and though the majority of us have already been out to pick up a bargain from the leftover sales from Christmas, we make-up excuses for more stuff. Just another day to spend time buying stuff. And the question is: do you even need it?

Everything and nothing leads us to pause about what has gone wrong, except we don’t know what it’s all about. It’s a season of where paradoxes’ emerge. It’s a time to be wowed by the hope given to us by a baby born in a barn – in a complete lack of luxury, the complete opposite of what most people think of when they speak of Christmas. This is a time when it’s easy to overeat, over-shop, just plain over the top consumption! Another chance to fill the emptiness inside of their souls, but sometimes you need to empty yourself to feel the poverty of the situation.

It refuses to be extinguished

A small flame of hope lingers hidden underneath anger, shame, depression, and anxiety, etc., with all the gems that are the sum of our desires. Christmas doesn’t seem to be enough but it is, with the simple gift of hope in a birth of a baby in a manger. The problem is most of us equal Christmas with more stuff, more doing than waiting as we are called to do so during the season of Advent. Taking time to enjoy the Christmas lights on front porches, for example, this can help remind us of the hope that is in the waiting. Instead of holding onto negative emotions, make an effort to seek out the good that Christmas does offer, and even the opportunities that are given to us the time in between Christmas and New Years. For myself, I have found I need fewer activities and more time reflecting to appreciate what is going on.

The time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is usually a chaotic time for me. It’s hard to put into words how I feel in this time of undetermined celebrating. It’s mostly an emotional and spiritual battle, but this year, I decided I was going to do something more concrete. I started with Advent:

  • This year I made the plan not to go into a mall once December came, I didn’t want to see the busyness when it should be a time of waiting, not rushing around. I start my Christmas shopping in March/April so that around November I can tie up loose ends.
  • I bought a devotional from Magnificat specifically for the season of Advent. I don’t normally read devotionals, but I figured reading something about Advent might help.
  • During Advent, there were times that I felt little reminders of joy and hope. I let the Lord fill me with these emotions, and they led me to anticipate(joy) the coming of His arrival.
  • I make a point each year to work 2-3 days to help with confusion of days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve

 

I hope you all had a safe and happy Christmas and all the best for coming year of 2017!

2

How Not to Become Selfish

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I was shocked at first by his accusation, and it was out of this shock that kept me quiet.  Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean I am not screaming back at the person inside of my head. I have the greatest comebacks, sarcasm drips off my lips and I say it all with confidence. Anxiety invades my peace and spreads like a poison through my body.

What’s his deal? Why do people all of a sudden believe that just because they can see a dirty look on your face that they assume it’s about them? I don’t know how else to say it, but I feel ambushed by a lack of respect that I keep encountering. It’s sharp, hides behind corners and hits hard and fast.

It went without saying that whenever my sister and I (growing up) received anything that we were either to give a verbal thank-you, a phone call, or we got out the fancy stationary.

We were taught to share the sidewalk with other foot-travelers, strollers. We learned to ride our bicycles on the road and learn the signals. Always be on time for your job, and anything else that was worth of showing our respect. We were taught what our parents thought and believed were no-brainers to be bringing up young girls. It still makes sense to my sister and me after all these years,

It’s not the same

Of course, it isn’t, I haven’t been a child for over 25 years (scary thought) but a lot of things have changed, and most of it isn’t for good. Yes, I had a hard childhood, but I have good memories, considering that I wasn’t kidnapped, abused by a family member, raised in a cult, or abandoned to become a feral child. I remember dancing in the rain with my sister in the summer, going camping, walking in the grass in bare feet.

In case you live in an underground bunker, most of what is considered respect towards others have disappeared.  Somehow, when certain people come together, the idea of working together isn’t prized most. Being selfish wins hands down. It’s in my blood I think to move over so that other person can get by, or if I step on someone’s foot by accident, I apologize, and I acknowledge them.

The values that I was raised with like respect, courtesy, politeness has gone the way of the boars. Simply being kind and going out of your way is disappearing. There’s a lethargy that is spreading all around us.

Part of what has been happening at my work is the lack of respect that is being shown towards me by upper management. I work for a small organization, and up until October, I felt no real reason to not be proud of who I represented in my workplace. As of January 2017, I will get a new supervisor. None of my managers made the point of telling me what was going on. I found out from one of my clients that my supervisor had been removed from her position. In the handbook for employees, it states that employees should expect support from their managers, but from my perspective, no respect or even professionalism was used to deal with the situation.

My transition has been slow

I seem to keep running into heads first in the department of lack of respect that I am deserving as an employee. I could say that I feel I am not receiving the support that I need from management. Meanwhile, as I attempt to muddle through the transition I am accused of having an attitude. Many people work in environments that aren’t safe, nor are they being paid a salary they can survive or raise a family. It’s like the noose around our necks is being pulled tighter and tighter.

For the last few months, I have been depending on the Foodbank because even though I am paid more than my province’s minimum wage, it’s not enough to get by on. If we were all treated with dignity, kindness, and mercy we wouldn’t have this problem. We need community, we each other, but we would rather retreat inside of ourselves, partly due to the widespread availability of computers, and usage of social media. It’s supposedly our new way of relating to others, but how can you really get to know someone when a screen separates you, and it allows, and encourages the ability to remain anonymous.  A vulnerability is still required. We build high fences so we don’t have to see our next-door neighbour’s backyard. New houses aren’t built with front porches anymore. Condos are built in rezoned areas that used to be residential thus destroying the area that used to inspire other families to move in and build lasting memories. Building a true and vibrant community isn’t about squeezing as many people in an area. Is this how not to be selfish? No, but I have learned that all you need to do is plant the seed of kindness with a smile.