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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Living as You Believe

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One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying. St. Joan of Arc

As I first read this quote, it is easy to see that Joan of Arc didn’t see it as a sacrifice the way God had called her to live as she believed. Most if not everyone thought she was a little bit loopy, admitting to hearing God speak to her. She was just a poor peasant girl and nothing was expected of her.

Would you be able to recognize it in yourself if you were truly living as you believe?

The first roadblock to that is I don’t know if I even know everything I believe. We are made of up of beliefs, and a lot of those thoughts are toxic. Some have been able to capture what they believe and not let fear get in their way of living. Is that why God takes some people so early in their lives, who in our opinion have just started living. Is it a tragedy or a victory because they didn’t experience the fear to be who they are, and they just expressed themselves as they were called, and with that God was pleased.

If life were that simple, and for some it is that simple. They don’t see the barriers that the majority of us have mounted up in front us. We keep ourselves back from our potential with all our baggage. We all have a dream, and no dream is the same. It might not seem like a vision like you would expect it, but it is because it’s part of your potential. We weren’t given life to be restless, He brought us here on Earth for a purpose.

Joan of Arc

Joan was a peasant girl living in medieval France and believed God had chosen her to lead France into battle and to victory against England. Born around 1412, she was 13 years old, when she first began hearing the voice of God. She had not been taught to read or write, but her pious Mother had instilled in her a love for the Catholic Church and its teachings. Her father a tenant farmer had arranged for Joan to be married at the age of sixteen, but she had already taken a vow of chastity.  Later, she able to convince a local court she should not be forced to accept the match, and successfully won her case. Unfortunately, she was betrayed by her country that she fought to have Charles VII installed in the rightful position as the King of France. She was held in captivity for over a year before she was burned at the stake for false accusations of witchery. She was only 19.

It’s hard to know what Joan was thinking, but from the quote, living as she felt God had told her was all she was interested in doing. Dying for what she believed in was worth the betrayal, by those she had hoped would support her.  Martyrdom is a spiritual gift, but you obviously won’t know if you have it until you actually die for your faith. Joan wasn’t deterred from how Charles VII ultimately deceived her. She believed and lived in the belief God was speaking and directing her actions.

Patriotic flair for God

The majority of us will from die a natural death, and not necessarily for our faith, but it would do us well to consider and remember, what an illiterate teenager in medieval France was willing to do for God. It wasn’t the popular thing to do, no she was expected to marry. Instead of settling for what everyone expected of her, she stood up and rose to grab her potential.

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Hindsight is Perfect

 

Michael stood in the last row on the very end in my kindergarten class picture with the biggest teddy bear. He had chocolate brown eyes, black hair that never seemed to be in place with his cow’s lick and a proverbial runny nose courtesy of his all season allergies.

He was this paradox in my life from the time I was five until I was 24 years old. He was a constant in my life. Being with Michael was always fun, especially on P.D. days. I learned how gross boys could be, but I chalked it up to boys just being weird, always dirty and entertaining. He didn’t like it when I was sick, and he would attempt to kiss me when I was feeling better. Even though I would pretend indifference as he attempted to kiss me when I felt better. I would never admit it ,but I liked that he missefile000202384719d me. I could just look at him, and that would send me into fits of laughter

In high school, we kept in touch mostly by calling each other once a week, and I think I believed everything would stay the same. But it was then that I saw changes taking place in him. Nothing concrete, but like bread crumbs being laid down, I saw, heard and sensed the confusion that slowly developed in him.

The entire time I was friends with Michael, I wanted him to notice me, but I was always in conflict with myself because I didn’t know where I stood with him. I had this bad habit of mixing his name up with my Dad’s name, and I would call my Dad; Michael. I knew something wasn’t right, but I didn’t know I was looking at Michael for what I really needed from my Dad. I knew psychology would probably explain why I kept mixing the names up. Communicating well was not in my vocabulary at this time. I kept everything locked up tight inside my head. I was quiet, shy and very observant but Michael was able to see beyond that. He would always remember me.

It wasn’t until he moved away for University that I began seeing a side of him emerge that I had never met before. He had purposely chosen a program that would take him away from home. The home was not the oasis that most would assume about his family. His parents were both teachers, and while it made for great appearance sake, things were fraying at the edges in his family.

I remember one year when Michael had come home a few days before Christmas, and of course, he hadn’t even started his Christmas shopping.   It was probably my only chance to really spend time with him. One such year, I remember as he met up with some friends and he started talking to them. It was like he pretended that he didn’t know I was standing right beside him. I had started becoming invisible to him. On reflection, I realize it had been happening longer than I wanted to admit to. I had him on such a high pedestal, I could only see his good side. There were some other situations that showed me that we weren’t little anymore. I began to doubt his loyalty and friendship to me. I even wrote him a letter at one point, about our friendship, and his solution a bouquet of a dozen red roses. At some point, I started hearing a silent voice, and I believe it was God, who spoke. “Michael is not the marrying kind.” I ignored this, but it was the truth.

Around the time of my initial conversion to Christ(1999) when it seems like God simply picked me up, and everything that I was avoiding and had suppressed was unearthed from me.  For me, that meant acknowledging my feelings. Every single one I hid from because they scared the crap out of me. It was around this time that I noticed that Michael had this friend that didn’t seem like the kind of friend Michael would normally hang with. Michael always had to work hard for his grades in school, and was in no way a nerd, but this ‘friend’ was very much a nerd. These bread crumbs that I saw while he was in high school had never disappeared.  He never stopped trying to tell me what he feared I think the most, at the time, was his sexuality.

I don’t remember the exact circumstances but I remember the age that we were when I last pexels-photo-105041saw him; he was 24 years old, and I was 23. He was four months older than me. My mom had heard the news on the radio, and a neighbour confirmed hearing his name as well. Michael had been charged with sexual assault of two young boys. I wish I could remember exactly what he wearing and looking the last time I saw him but I don’t. In fact, I don’t have a single picture of him as an adult, and I don’t think that’s an accident. I don’t remember my thoughts, but in the weeks and months ahead I experienced so much anger towards him. He had stopped being that person I thought I knew.

I don’t know where my decision to break off contact with him came from, but I knew couldn’t deal with his stuff and my stuff at the same time.  I did what I thought was healthy at the time. I told him I couldn’t be his friend anymore. I wrote him a letter. He never tried to contact me, he respected my wishes. The innocence of our friendship had faded a long time ago, but I had just assumed I would be his friend in some way for the rest of our lives. But he has never left my heart.

I always believed my heart was burning for him. I wanted a friend who would always be with me, always listen, always want and love me, but it wasn’t Michael; he was badly chipped. I wanted him to be what I needed, and if only he would truly ‘see’ me everything would be better. I pinned all of the solutions to my problems to Michael noticing me. It took a long time before I realized he was just a boy, who just wanted to be loved and accepted by those around him. Yes, he’s an adult now, but there are parts of us that never truly grow up, and stand tall to be that man or woman that we were created to be.

Published previously in 2014

Luke~24:30-32

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Au Revior

 

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In my last post, I incorporated some words that had been on my prayer radar (in my journal) for some time. In my daily ongoing stuff, there are words that stay with me as I wearily walk through life. I might be wary in my path, but I keep thanking Him for the things which bump against me. Sometimes it’s the hard surfaces that ribbed us in the wrong way.

Over two weeks ago, I received email which will remain unanswered. Numerous times I have tried to explain without the anger, disappointment and hurt that I was feeling. I’m not trying to push my emotions to the situation aside, but I thought and wanted to defend what I had perceived to be wrong.

So I set off to pray about this email and ask Him how he wanted me to respond.  All I wanted to do was back off, have some time to be quiet and just be with him. Did I mention quiet? Did I mention way too many emotions to list here? No, but please be assured they all showed up.

I may have in my last post mention something about thanksgiving. As I struggled to hear the Lord, I thanked him for all that seems to be going wrong. I keep thanking him for all the things I do not like, and the funny thing is, he shows me how it is a part of his plan. I can’t see this plan, but nor do these situations seem to languish in pity anymore. My anger, disappointment and hurt remain, but of it become clearer to me, but he hasn’t provided me with any answers. Thanksgiving isn’t me being brilliant, it’s the Lord who reminded me. He’s clever enough to suggest something that yes, will benefit me but more likely in the long run glorify him. Soon in the near future, I will think back fondly to the time when my answered prayers were simply struggles. that I couldn’t  see the answer was just waiting to stand up and introduce itself.

Delighting in everything He allows to cross your path. I am seeing in my struggles that His love for me remains. It is easy to think through that we must walk through these hard times with the world’s burdens heavy on your shoulders, and yes, I will admit to having many of those days. But taking the time to stop and thanking Him for these ‘unbearable’ has increased my ability to continue on with the knowledge I am not alone. He is in charge, and my troubles don’t change that. It is why I can trust in Him, or at least start.

Of course, I am thank-full for what is good in my life and grateful for what he continues to be faithful in my life. Saying words out loud instead of letting the words bounce around in your closed mind, opens the heart to His side of things, if of course you are open to receive these blessings.

It used to be that when I wrote, it was best done when I was depressed. I don’t know why, but as an adult it has completely reversed that I am better to write when I am not down. Hindsight is great. It allows for a greater space in all the places where the hurt and sadness, the joy and peace, to converge together and I have the clarity that didn’t exist before.

 

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Not Yet

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In the beginning, when I began working in my current job, most clients would ask me if I was married, did I have children…but as time passed, it happened less. Just this past week, I gained a new client and she asked the question of the hour:  Was I married?

I told her no.

“Good for you!”  This answer shocked me because I wasn’t expecting from it her. She is Muslim, so it really mystified me. I have never had a client be happy that I was still single. It threw me off for a minute.

Before I continued the conversation, I choose my words carefully, “Did you choose your husband?” I asked this question gingerly because she is Muslim, and I didn’t know what might be the custom. She is originally from Iraq

“No, I was in love with my husband for four years before we married.” She paused and then continued. “When l married I died.”

She didn’t offer anything else, and I didn’t ask since this was my first time meeting her, and I thought  curbing my curiosity would serve me well.

I must admit I don’t know much about the Muslim religion except what I hear from media, online resources and acquaintances

Usually my clients want to know if I’m married, or when I am getting married. If I knew God’s whole plan for me, I would be planning ahead, but I don’t so…I wait and persist.

I am not really that good at being persistent or persisting in an activity, or situation, but I have also learned that God is not in a hurry, at least not in my life. Maybe in yours He speeds through all the red lights, but in mine, He stops when he sees the green light turn to the yellow caution. If I was in charge, God would only get green lights, and there would be no reason or thought to stop. So I am trying to take pleasure in all things, even the not so good because this time won’t ever return to me.

From outside appearances, everyone looks polished and great in their spiffy new outfit, but I am still wearing the same tops that I had last year. Truly, I shop at second-hand shop which is by necessity and choice. I love scoring a deal. Last Saturday, I bought three tops, one skort and one pair of slacks for $18.75! Yes, living below the poverty line does have its advantages. It allows one to live simply without out all the deemed ‘extras.’ And right beside me is a list of all the things I need when the Lord deems to give me my very own money tree.

As I wait for the Lord, he reminds me to thank him for everything, even the things I  do not like or want. I am thankful for what he has done in my life. For all the things I didn’t think of, like him healing my heart that needed a lot more attention than I was willing to give it. For over ten years, God hasn’t been idle in my life, not that I can say the same thing about myself, in my trust in Him and to see how He can truly make the broken pieces in my life to appear better than they were.

I am starting to see why I need to trust, why I need to wait because whateverHhe has planned, it will take my trust and His strength to bring everything together in His timing.

 

 

 

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Twist and Shake

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My room was my quiet oasis growing up when I felt all kinds of emotions that I didn’t know how to identify. I would pretend it was my apartment (minus paying rent to my parents) and I had an invisible key to lock and unlock it. I read a lot of mysteries when I was younger, so maybe that was some kind of precursor.

The more I ponder on it, the more I am convinced that prayer isn’t just words, it’s your imagination because what you want, the desire that stems from your heart isn’t made up of words. Love translated into emotions, images and parts. I wasn’t baptized until I was in my early 20’s, and even then I wasn’t fully realized in the decision that I made. I was so sure that I was going to become Jewish, but it was simply to be the stepping stone to something that is even greater than what I could imagine, and well beyond words to describe it. I loved the idea of being part of group of people who have suffered simply for their faith.

I seek without knowing my destination, and at times it bothers me, but this zigzag of living has also helped me to understand who I am, and continue to seek who I am. It has taught me to wait; all this seeking.

If I give up because I have convinced myself that my ideas, and preconceived notions aren’t in line with the Lord’s. It’s to lament that He isn’t listening to me or He doesn’t hear me. But he speaks in the quietest of voices that doesn’t need to shout to be heard above the noise that we listen to everyday.

Lies tangled up with His truth and love make for an odd combination. A struggle to clear the way to know, to discern what exactly He is saying to you. Or maybe he isn’t saying anything at all because we haven’t yet stopped talking. He hears you without listening because he created the desire in you. The desire that lies on in the inside of me wants to be seen and acknowledged.

For some, prayer is a formula to be made.

For me it’s a time set aside, but it’s also waiting for the bus, walking through the puddles in the spring, and looking up as the snowflakes melt on the tip of your nose. It’s being present when staying in the past and making up the future that rob you of spending time in his presence because that’s what it is – being in His presence. Taking a deep breath and remembering that He deems you worthy of his blessings, even if you don’t.

Life doesn’t unfold as we believed, it falls into our hands and from there hopefully we will do the right thing for that moment. Prayer isn’t answered right away, and this is frustrating because we think it should be. This is where the stretching of faith is tested and perfected. Having faith in the unseen is seen as foolish, and knocking on doors just because you sense His leading – but what if you don’t?

Prayers aren’t just words that plead for peace in the world. It’s time spent in His care of you, reminding you that He has made you worthy, to stop doing what you don’t like and start doing what you do like. Returning you to a sense of purpose and passion in your life, and filling you afresh with hope that continues to burn in your heart. I am learning to let His hope simmer in me.

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Who Has Seen Him?

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Lately, I have been restless.

Disappointed

Frustrated

Angry

Confused

Tired.

Waiting for …

I want to see how Jesus sees this world. A world filled with suffering, poverty, greed, dis-ease, hate and hearts filled with longing. Unfilled desires of acceptance and love without fear.

Where is there is space for His love to be spread, to be received into their hearts. To hear his calm voice speak into their fears, and their secrets that threatened to swallow them whole. Inside they burn from guilt that hides from the light – it always stays in the dark.

Thomas wanted to see Jesus’ wounds or he wouldn’t believe.

It is hard to believe with your eyes, to see what doesn’t physically exist that cannot be touched or smelled. So how can I believe He is alive when all evidence is disappearing. His presence. I understand the reluctance to embrace the Gospel, but nothing is truly as it seems, except when you see it through His love. It’s not a hillbilly vibe, a groove, or love that exists on a chemically based high.

So much anger exists that very little room is left for love to survive because it has to. Sometimes I wonder if I can love, can I allow His Spirit to work through me, to move in me, so that others will glimpse what love is all about. We react without thinking, planning or speaking. All these emotions are caught up with our selfishness, pride and an inability to understand what it means to live, and love as He did. I want to share the same love that He has given me, and seared into me and branding me.

Simple living leads to a strength that most of us can only hope to attain. Less stuff means we leave ourselves open to receive what is truly important. The ability to have compassion with those who lack the insight of who they really are.

Stay clear of worldly, idle talk and the contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge.  In laying claim to such knowledge, some men have missed the goal of faith.’  (1Timothy 6:20-21)

To be like Jesus, to know what he saw, felt, and how he loved, requires a grace that most of us shrug our shoulders at in failure. Yes, it would be easier to assume that we couldn’t possibly do what he did, but very little has changed. In the past, powerful kingdoms thrived and feasted on people’s weaknesses and not their strengths. They striped them of their dignity.  It’s something as individuals and as a culture obsessed with having rights for just about everything that moves that I think has allowed the circumstances to have gotten a way out of hand. It’s about what’s inside of us, never mind the rights, what about who you are and who I am. My identity as a person is not defined by the amount of rights that are handed to me, but that I would be able to live in the beauty and light of my God-given dignity – and that no one can take from me.