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.

 

Advertisements
0

One More Time

Forgiving other is probably one of the most important things you can do.  Jesus tells us to forgive seventy-seven times seven, so it’s big on his list.

Last week, I went to Madonna House.  For two hours, I spent some time with two of the staff members. For the last few months, I shared with the two ladies about what issues in my life that I was struggling with. I wasn’t surprised to realize that I needed to forgive my Dad again.

I wasn’t shocked that it was him that came up because my healing from the beginning has been what I have lacked from him. Granted no earthly father is perfect.

For those of you have seen the movie, The Shack you’ll know that it is about forgiveness, I won’t go into anything else if you haven’t seen it, but six days later I still felt raw(from going through from the process)  the revelation that I still needed to forgive my Dad. I know we are like layers of an onion, and it was just one more level to be peeled off, but in some ways, I felt discouraged after so many years that it was still there.

Honestly, I don’t know if forgiveness is just a way of reminding ourselves of how much we are loved, or I really just need to let go. I can’t go on judging someone or thing that I have no control over. Or maybe just another of a deeper understanding.

 

2

new hallelijah

When I was younger, I gave up easily, the world all around me seemed impossible to penetrate, and I couldn’t see any possibilities. My attitude towards believing in myself was empty. So much was going on that there was a thick fog wrapped around my mind, and I wasn’t able to see through it.  Instead of moving forward like I wanted, I kept taking steps backward. There is this spirit of persistence that has steadily grown inside of me with time. My understanding of my younger self is fuller and more forgiving.  Every day, He fills me with a new song, some of them are loud and some are whispered. Each time I run to the desert, he comes looking for me. He knows where all of his children are. His mercy goes on forever.

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.

4

Connecting

 

connecting

 

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.

 

 

 

0

Discovering the Real Value in Christmas

 

pexels-photo-243221

 

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

how-not-to-be-selfish-3

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.