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.

2

Hide and Seek

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Hiding used to be my M.O.

Something was missing, but that missing part of me lurches in rebellion and out of reach.

Showing any sign of emotion is weak; at least that’s what I have told myself when I was still going to school. If I showed my emotions then I show them my vulnerability and that is a big faux pas. I was convinced that my feelings would lead me down the dark alley and I wanted to avoid that path.

I was bullied from grades 4 to 8. During this time, I became restrictive with my emotional expression. There were no obvious reasons for this bullying, so I started looking for some kind of explanation, any understanding, but I couldn’t find anything to satisfy why it was happening. At one point, my Dad even asked, if I had done something to provoke this kind of taunting. This upset me that a parent would ask this kind of question or even raise the possibility. Already, I  had been over whether this problem was my doing. If I was doing something wrong, and if I was, I was clueless as to what the solution could be.

Being bullied wasn’t the kind of attention that I went looking for, my aim was to stay below the radar. It was impossible for me to excel in school, or even contemplate the idea. Sunday is a day I dread, even though I’m no longer in school. It is the beginning of the week for some, but for me it is the day before Monday. The day I would have to go to school, and face the unknown in the wilderness where the jackals roamed aimlessly. Their teeth puncturing at the tender spots. Survival was the only thing that concerned me and that meant pushing away those annoying emotions that would pop up.

People would give me advice, of course they did.

I tried telling them off, but they(classmates) always had a better and cleverer retorts that would fill me with anger. I wanted to reply, but I would squashed any courage to do so.

Hiding from what my heart craved. I began to create a reality that did not  match the desire that stirred inside of me. Love moved within me, but I refused to believe that I could really have what I wanted or that I would ever find it.

The more they bothered me, the further I retreated inside of myself. Curiosity usually gets the best of me, and I wanted to know why they were mean to me. What had I done? There was nothing from my perception that would cause this kind of pain. In the end, I put the blame on myself – no, I heaped the blame.

If time travel were possible, I would travel back to when school was good. I loved imaginative play because of the endless possibilities. I loved being by myself, and just doing what I enjoyed.

Withdrawing from the pain, I believed helped me to endure the unknown that always lurked at every comment and the small effort to be like them. I convinced myself that I didn’t deserve goodness in my life, that’s was how I handled the hurt. Low self-esteem ran through my blood poisoning all the thoughts that could’ve been turned around and squashed. I built a wall of protection,so that no one could touch or see me.

For the longest time, I didn’t even know what I was doing was hiding, it was just this trick that I was convinced protected me. Eventually, I reached the point that the constructed protection I had provided for myself was getting in the way, but it had become a habit, so to speak.

Seek, I did, but my ability was slight and was struck down my anger and fear in the beginning. We all hide from things we are afraid of, but it became a way of life for me. The only way I found was to stay in the emotion, and then I understood what I was hiding from. The edgiest of the feelings somehow led me to what had been my undoing.

Everyone knows when you play hide and seek as children, it’s not all about hiding, which is only the introduction, it is the seeking that takes up most of the game. Yes, choose a good hiding place, but don’t be shy to be found because it is what we all want in the end. Everyone wants to be found.  It was all I wanted; to be seen by others, but in the light of His love.