2

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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4

Get Me Out of Here

When things got so overwhelming for me in junior high during the time I was being bullied, I would grab the washroom key and leave the classroom. Most of the time, I just would choose a stall and inhale the quiet, and read the messages that were scribbled on the cubicle walls. I would describe it as a time of desperation. Just being able to get out of the four walls of the classroom was freedom in a world that constantly had me on guard. I just wanted it to stop, the constant picking on, the constant ribbing, the constant negative voices that had taken residence in my head.

A few weeks ago, there was a parish mission, and the retreat speaker spoke of a quote that Henry David Thoreau so eloquently expressed during his time spent on Walden Pond:

‘The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation’

The retreat leader likens it to the kind of world that we live in now. There was this awareness inside of me when I heard him speak about quiet desperation. I identified with the word, desperation to describe a time of my life when it seemed out of control. It feels like you literally holding onto this rope that you are convinced is the only way to keep going. A quick sand way of living. I believed that there was nothing I could do, but as time continues to show me that I was wrong in my assessment. I did have a choice, but I wasn’t aware of my choice at the time. And the Lord has shown me that I wasn’t alone as I had initially believed.

I had never heard this quote until last week, and it was really impressed upon me of and how hidden this quiet desperation is among us because no one talks about it. No one talks about loneliness, shame, fear or anger because these are the emotions that lead us to live lives of quiet desperation.  We are desperate to get things in order in our lives. We want to be what others expect of us so there is no peace in our hearts, but instead, it is filled with deadlines from work, relationship woes and dreams put on hold.

What Can Be Done?

Yes, there are tons of quotes that encourage you to follow your dreams. Have courage, be brave and walk a path that no else has. All very noble things. But life keeps disturbing your plan. Obligations like family, work, friends, and of course procrastination. Anxiety creeps into all of these situations. I could tell you that things will get better, but desperation comes from a deep-seated fear that nothing will change. The good news is that change is always happening. Desperation largely comes from our belief systems and the world around us, which also dictates our beliefs systems.  But there are also things which we have no control over, systems which enslave people despite what they believe in, and some of these very beliefs are what causes others to rage against them.

I don’t know when I stopped living in desperation and when I stopped holding on for dear life, leaving marks on people who weren’t supposed to be my life preservers. The more I went to Jesus, the more he just came in and started putting things right. It’s a blur but a big part of it was prayer and trying to live as I desired to be in Him. I allowed for the change that I needed in order to be filled with His spirit. Our culture demands more of us every day, week, month and year. It’s exhausting and part of what kills our spirit, but the more I learned what the Lord expected of me, the more my desire became to not follow the lies of desperation.

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

Keeping Calm

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He’s in the eye of my storm. It was one of those weeks when everything seems to come colliding down like waves in an ocean. Every weakness I thought that had been healed had pushed itself back into my life. At least it seemed that way.

And wondering where God is in all of this?

I know it would be easy to say, and I have in the past thought, believed, and pouted about how God isn’t here statement. I work in a low-income housing building(s), I know not only my clients but also quite a few of the tenants that live in the building as well. It’s the perfect place to love others as Jesus teaches us to do, but the actual  act can actually look like something else sometimes.

Over the summer, both of the elevators were replaced, and we’re is still waiting for the second elevator to be inspected before it can put into service. In the waiting, there is one small elevator in service. It is here that you see some of what lacks in everyday living, namely kindness, courtesy and generosity being extended to those who need it. There were some factors that didn’t help as I was tired and peeved that I hadn’t seen my supervisor in a couple of weeks, and I was assuming that she was hiding from the clients. I was feeling frustrated at the fact the people in front of me were filling the small elevator with two grocery carts to move in. I wanted to scream, but I knew that wouldn’t accomplish anything. So I scowled at the two people who really didn’t seem to understand.

Changes coming

I don’t love my job nor do I hate it. But I have learned how important support from management is to a low-level employee, which is what I am. Nothing is all about you, and sometimes when you learn that it either perplexes you or you sigh with relief. At first, the anger I experienced when waiting to use the elevator surprised me, its intensity trembling inside of me.

He helped me to remember that he was still the eye of my storm, and he still had the power to bring the waves of contention to a stillness that most of us have never experienced. By that Friday, I finally saw [in person] and spoke with my supervisor who I had not seen in over two weeks. I don’t like just communicating by text and phone, for me, it’s not real enough. There’s this invisible screen that separates us that isn’t enough for me. As she spoke, I listened, there was no anger, in fact, and I started to understand why the state of my anger rose to such a high pitch inside of me.

Previously, my mom had reminded me that triggers that appear out of nowhere, can mean it’s just a burden for me to carry, a burden for someone else. That’s right, I was carrying someone else’s burden, but in the beginning, I didn’t realize this because it feels like mine. It’s a reminder that nothing I have or want to pocesses is mine, to begin with, and especially when something comes hurtling out of nowhere that you need to pay care.

Paying Attention

It wasn’t until I left the building with my schedule for next week that I realized that I felt free. I didn’t have the heaviness that I had carried. I could fill my lungs with fresh air and just remain little in all of this big, confused world.

0

Reconstructed

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Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for you I entrust my life. Ps ~143:8

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Broken in pieces.

That’s what I am, and that’s what I am trying to get across with all these posts. Each time I notice another crack in myself, a part of me gets a little excited because that means I can write another post! So even though I might view my life as sedentary and boring, I am hoping each newly discovered crack is another way to glorify the Lord.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty back together again.

Not your friendliest nursery rhyme.

I always wanted to know why Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, did someone push him, or was it just back luck? And no one was able to put him back together again? I guess the King was unwilling to find all of his pieces, and help him back up to the wall where he sat. Obviously, we don’t know the same King, but the one I know is all about restoration.

My life is built on the kind of relationships I have sought out, and though they may be gnarled and twisted, everything in its time has its glory. I have spoken about the lack of what I thought was a prayer time with the Lord. In the last year, I have been experiencing a confidence that was lacking when I had the ground pulled out from me. This web of relationships either hinders or propels me to gather more of His graces. But it’s also the desire that wells up from inside of me that encourages me to want more than what I currently possess. In turn,their prayers help me get through what maybe a day that feels like I am dragging my feet through thick mud.

It’s been five years since the Lord changed how I hear him. No, it hasn’t flipped back when I wasn’t looking, though I do admit I looked for it. I begged for it to return and wished things could just return to my normal. Along the way, when I stopped being stubborn I heard him assure me, not in that physical way, but deeper. In his reassurance that He won’t leave me and he’ll always provide for me, even in my barrenness. When I wasn’t looking an awareness of an ability to trust in Him happen upon me.. An easy delight to know that He leads me. I trust when I don’t think I hear anything, and I step out in a seemingly dark path before me. Hearing and trust I think are cousins, in fact, I suspect He has introduced me to another of their cousin; persistence. I have no physical sense to guide me to discern except His Spirit, and that it can sometimes feels like I am trying to jaywalk  across a highly congested highway. He wants me to rely fully on Him, and I am resisting that part less, standing up taller and experiencing a glow that starts from the inside. Tenacity of a faith lived out in action and words

Why?

Questions are always at the forefront of my brain, but I have come to realize that most of my questions will remain just that – questions. I grew up devouring Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie books, so the  mysteries in my life were originally only found in books, but as time goes on, I am further convinced that my life is made up of  His mysteries, not always to be solved – at least – not here on earth. Becoming.  That’s what is happening, I am becoming more aware that His mysteries are part of what make Him God, and not I, a mere mortal with a disposition to take control and regularly make mistakes. Not truly knowing how the consequences will affect me in the future. His understanding of the intricacies of how my life affects those living in South America is mind boggling. So maybe my life doesn’t affect anyone in Columbia, but as he has been reminding me; anything is possible with Him. Keep your eyes open

So, here I sit and I would like to say that I’m more prayerful and, my cup of abundance flows over is astounding me, but it’s quite the opposite.  In the morning I pray. Not always my greatest moment as most mornings I struggle with the lack. It is prayer that mostly consists of listening, journaling and asking one question at a time. Does it annoy me? In the beginning, I kept waiting for it to get better, and that was until I decided it was best to accept it  as it is. I’ve learned along the way that surrendering is my best option because what I thought was best doesn’t mean it is.  When God is the one who changes something in my life, is not without the graces that only he can bestow. When my thirst has become my norm for living, and my silent plea for more seems to hear more silence than answers, I am surprised when drops of water and blood gush from His heart. It is in those moments that I remember with delight that He can take away, but His return is beyond our wildest imagination.

 

6

A Heart Pursued

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Hope has two daughters; their names are Anger and Courage.Anger at the way things are, and the Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.

St. Augustine of Hippo

This is my third or fourth attempt at starting this post. I know what I want to say, but I don’t really. I know how I have been feeling the last week, I want to convey that but  my internal editor walks in and crosses it out. I want perfection, but I know that wanting it will not solve a single thing, and besides I do not like the word, perfect. Okay, let’s go for clarity.

Sabotage

The slow burn of remembering and feeling the unworthiness of my being keeps coming up. Somehow, it has slipped into little

crevices and cracks in me. Instead of allowing blessings and light, I pushed them aside, convinced that I don’t deserve what I want. So why does He grants this same desire to others when I know I am not the only who has deemed herself otherwise.

The only hold out is my permanent vocation. Maybe this isn’t important, but I don’t have peace about where I am. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been single so I am not saying it is the worst thing in the world – that it is not. It’s hard, at least for me, to truly find firm footing in this world as a single. I think there’s this under current that doesn’t know how to truly embrace the notion of singleness because it doesn’t include having flings with that friend who is armed with benefits. Maybe it is the hope of something more, the dance inside of me that though fades with time leaves its lingering aroma. A calling card of sorts from the Holy Spirit.

Ever since I can remember I have loved words, and I would space providing would write anywhere. It’s been a long road, and I don’t see it coming to an end anytime soon, as I’ve only started writing my novel. It’s not my first attempt at writing a novel, but this time I know it’s different because I plan on finishing this novel, no, it won’t go to the bestsellers, but I am going to write novels until I believe I am ready to approach my way to publication, and in the process realizing a long-held dream. Here’s a perfect example of where for years, I didn’t think I was worthy enough to write and pursue my heart desire. It’s taken a while to believe that yes, I  do have a talent for writing!

Yes, being single is easy because you don’t have the all pressures of being in a relationship that is til death do you part. I don’t know all the pro’s and con’s. All I do know is I expected to get married like everyone else, but the reality is the Lord has never allowed me to part of the ‘popular group’. I can stomp my feet all I want but it won’t help me. I have tried different avenues in my desire to be married, and all it does is frustrate me.

Or maybe I am attached to the idea of my happily ever after?

Maybe I don’t even believe that the Lord has someone for me, maybe I’ve just gotten tired of waiting on something that I don’t know will ever materialize. I don’t know how to pray for something that seems impossible. All I want to do is let go and move on, but what happened to the happily ever after, and is it still possible despite trying to push that nagging hope that is locked inside of me.

The quote that starts out this post comes from a book that I have yet to start, but this quote really intrigues me. I have the anger, but I don’t yet have the courage. It could be as simple as having that courage to keep praying for my heart’s desire to be filled.

 

 

 

 

 

2

Beggars of His Heart

 

There was this guy named Peter in High School, who would consistently end the majority of his conversations with, “You know … beggars can’t be choosers.” Somehow, he would or could always link it with what was said and it was annoying. I didn’t want to be or think of myself as a beggar. In reality, it would put me alongside the homeless who beg for money on the street. At that point, I firmly believed that there was no way that I could stand beside the homeless who beg, and have anything in common with them.

We are dust, and without a Creator, we are nothing. (Genesis 2:7 – paraphrased)photo-1414637104192-f9ab9a0ee249

Somewhere along the line, we’ve forgotten our roots, our very foundation. We have become a society of puppets believing we are entitled. We will lie, cheat, brag, be prideful just to garner what we believe is rightfully ours, but most of  us don’t remember that Adam and Eve had everything they needed, but it took a snake – a talking snake – to convince them to take a bite of the apple.

Poverty is a gift that most shun because it seen as degrading. The one with the most money always wins. What if I told you that God sees the beauty in poverty – not in the materialistic sense – but a poverty that begins and ends  with him. The person lives with knowledge of providence, and because of that he/she lives simply. They are not possessed by their things, and they would willingly give everything away if it meant they could be closer to their Lord. They long to be who they are in Him. Beauty isn’t the diamond ring on a finger, though, yes it is beautiful, or the house where those who you love most reside. It’s something profound inside of you that He has personally placed in these individuals. They delight in their Lord and the life that He represents to them. A reality of a personal relationship with the Lord God of the Universe is so palatable and their enthusiasm for life and God is contagious.

Most of us think poverty is something that we can get rid of, but the poor, as Jesus reminds us, will always be with us. Trying to eliminate the materially poor population is like trying to get rid of mildew. Jesus lived in poverty while on earth. In simple obscurity in Nazareth, He learned the trade of carpentry from his foster father Joseph. For 30 years, we don’t have any records of what exactly Jesus was doing in that period, but we can be certain he was learning what it meant to live and be in poverty. His heart was and still [is] poor, but he was, and is open and full of the Spirits leading. Our attachments to the stuff in our life hold us back to receive. The more we let Him in, the more we can and will experience to live in His poverty, which is all of His magnificence.