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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.

 

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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.

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Uncharted Land

 

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More people would walk into the unknown parts of their hearts if fear didn’t hold them back. But most of us don’t even know what holds us back.

What part of your heart have you not yet acknowledged?

The heart could be likened to an uncharted area or a territory of land waiting to be discovered. It’s a barren stretch of fear that limits any access to a part of ourselves that holds pieces that could change the very core of how we approach life. Some of us are waiting for the right moment, or they believe that it has passed them by already. But I think most don’t really know what their heart yearns for. I don’t have anything to prove my theory except that we don’t take the time to explore what really drives us. What is your passion and how do you want to experience it in this life?

Sure there are thousands of quotes and sayings that encourage its readers to take risks: to follow their heart, to live simply. This is a great start, but there’s a problem here. A lot of us don’t know what it is that drives them. They don’t know what is in their heart, AND they don’t know their heart, so they certainly won’t know how to follow [your heart] it. We react distinctly from years of doing just that, reacting to a stimulation that rubs us the wrong way. We complain to anyone who will listen, but did it occur to anyone that their trigger is something more than just being rubbed the wrong way?

Falling Deeper

I remember my doctor telling me that many of his patients when given the opportunity to find out what issue(s) they’re dealing with, don’t want to know. I didn’t really understand it because I am just naturally curious as a person, and I wanted to know what my issues were. Maybe I like suffering, but I don’t think that was the reason why. Learning about myself has been a wonderful journey, and even with the stretches that I would rather forget. Each step I took forward was a step closer to the woman that I longed to be, but I didn’t know what she was like. I had buried myself underneath all that anger, fear, bitterness, etc.

Today, I met with a friend who has been wandering in the desert without a guide for almost seven years. She doesn’t see the point of being positive by saying positive words, she doesn’t really like to journal, and she doesn’t have a list of wants and desires anymore. She just wants a job as a receptionist. I know she wasn’t created for just a receptionist job. The depression shows up more in winter, the lack of sunlight pushes out the negative. Something has died in her, and she admits to this as well.

We can extol all the virtues of being positive, but for some of us, it’s a hard thing to bite. I have in the last few years found myself thinking more on the positive side, and that’s a huge help to my normally melancholy nature. It’s easier to think of all the great things, but all the hurdles are all I can entertain in my mind. I have learned some tricks to take care of my gloomy thoughts, and this is something that helps greatly in the long Canadian cold and damp winter of doom.

Pioneers in a New Land

Camping in the wilderness for a couple weeks is great until you start running out of food. The whole idea of camping is to get away from the city. Proving to ourselves that we can rough it, even though we take for granted all our little gadgets that await us when we arrive home.

We’re walking in the untilled land, and the lack of tools makes our journeys hard. It’s easy to lose sight of your passion when you can’t see how this could possibly lead to anything. Just a light covering of dust sitting on you. Doing something that keeps you from doing what you really want. Wherever you live there is a history underneath you, just as there is one in your heart. It’s time to start digging.

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Listen to What People Don’t Say

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That can be a hard one, to listen in the spaces that exist and to catch the words that aren’t spoken. Emotions that roll through the unsaid words and still do damage to all the persons involved.

       We are all broken, that’s how the light gets in. Ernest Hemingway

Water leaks out of the pipes and no one sees. The hard edges of rust sit until they are discovered, and with silent gasps of horror and disgust, fear spiraling out of your eyes. The smell of a campfire surrounds the air, burning wood sends out smoke signals. The heat of the fire can’t hide the dampness and the cold wind that dips down onto the ground.

Listen to what they don’t speak, or when their heart breaks

Walking through a shopping mall amidst the older people who sit on the cushions with long faces. They come here every day hoping to fill a hole in their heart. Others are just passing by on their lunch break too busy to look up as they speak with a colleague.

                                                                       Courage, dear heart. C. S. Lewis

What if I failed like I did last time? Already I can hear his voice, saying, “I told you this isn’t your thing.” But he doesn’t understand the desire that lives inside of me. It’s like if I don’t keep trying a part of me will wilt to nothing. There’s no way I can put it into words, I don’t think God has created a way that describes how free and wonderful I feel when I am able to get it right. I want to fly. I want to run away from home, but if I do, will they let me come back? But if I’m truthful, it’s not home anymore. I wish my eyes were able to take pictures of what I see now, and what I am entering into.

She understood that the hardest times in life to go through were when you were transitioning from one version of yourself to another.  Sarah Addison Allen

This transitions part really sucks because I feel like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, it’s so painful. There are people who mean the world to me, but I don’t see their purpose in my life anymore.  I am not the same person anymore, and if I am truthful about the situation, I don’t want to go back. All around me, people are hurting. Not in the same way but sins are overflowing, and there is nowhere to keep the tide from exposing more grief.

A lot of people are afraid to say what they want, that’s why they don’t get what they want.  Madonna

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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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Elements

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The last few months have been puzzling as I face certain aspects in my life.

Normally, I would say I can find a balance between work, writing, and everything else, but it’s not happening right now.

I’m caught in this swirl of emotions and I want to use words to paint what is going on inside of me. I don’t think I can find God and I know he’s somewhere… just beyond my reach.

No regrets

A thousand years ago, I had a plan all mapped out, I was going to travel overseas with one of my best-friends, we’d go all over the place.  But he back out after being offered to drive an Ice Cream truck all summer, and that trumped backpacking all over Europe. Back then I had no idea that I struggled with depression and anxiety, and  it would’ve be the worst thing to do. And that so-called best-friend, turned out to be someone who was hiding, and well, some things are best left in the dust of the past.

The last few months have reminded me of my twenties when I was running away from who I was, and trying to be someone who I thought everyone would want. I feel as if I’ve lost my sense of direction, the internal compass inside of me is broken. I haven’t been following my plan for a long time, but it’s like the plan that I thought He had given me has disappeared. I want the Lord to fix this broken map, but he hasn’t supplied what I thought I needed.

God isn’t beyond my reach

I say that because I want and know Him to be aware of me. In my desiring, I want him to acknowledge me and swooped me up into His arms.

At times like this my anger usually flares up because it’s a natural reaction. I want Him to take notice that my prayers aren’t being answered. I hope that by being angry he’ll do something. Instead, He remains quiet through my tears and false accusations, and waits until I might be willing to listen to him.

In the last couple years, I have been taking (insert sarcasm here) a crash course called: This is Your Anger. In the beginning, I experienced my anger almost as a voyager because I was very aware of how my body felt as this secret rage roared to life inside of me. It was out of control, it was loud, inappropriate, selfish and full of pride. I would spend weeks, soaked in this emotion until I realized I didn’t want to feel this out of control. Instead of staying quiet, patient and trusting, and persisting in prayer even when the road in front looks bleak and bleeding.

Everything happening seems so contrary to what I thought would actually play out. In all of this I know that even though it all seems out-of-place, it isn’t at all. But that’s the thing, we are inhabitants of a world where stupid crazy things occur, and people wonder why; how did this happen? His plan is still playing out in a world gone completely mad, where common sense has simply dried up.

Gratitude

In the midst of all it His mercy still springs forth, and it was and is for me, in the form of giving thanks. Beginning last week, I began hearing (not audibly) about thanking him.

1 Thessalonians~5:16

So I began thanking Him for what I don’t like, for the situations which I tire of, and I found that as I listed my complaints that I wouldn’t think twice of thanking Him that a peace quietly arose inside of me.  It moves my focus off what I don’t have, want, or covet, and I am finding myself closer to what has been missing.

 

 

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Finding a Beat

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For some odd reason, I like telling people that I don’t remember my twenties. But most people don’t ask me why.

My simple answer is I was deeply depressed. Normally there is an ebb and flow, but I was a flatliner, and  believe me it was the grace of God that I didn’t try to commit suicide. Yes, I did have thoughts, but never to the extreme and I don’t really have the answer as to what kept me off the ledge.

I think for anyone, and anyone who in their twenties, it’s the question that begs to be asked, ‘What am I to do with the rest of my life?’ Some of us are fortunate to find our place pretty quickly, a job, a spouse, children and a house. That wasn’t the case with me, and for a lot others. When I was 29, and fearing the 30’s, and not knowing what to expect, I had two people who came up to me at two different times and tell how much  they loved their 30’s. It almost gave me something to look forward to.

It was at this point, I was on medication, so I was able to experience what normal felt like, and it was like a cool breeze being blown lightly on the inside of my heart. My heart/ my soul was thirsty and lapping up what light it could. It didn’t look so dark on the inside of me. However, the thirties were still challenging for me, it wasn’t that I got off easy because in many ways that’s when more intense healing came into my life. I can see now that, it was because I could handle more, everything has its time and place, even though we might not agree with it at first.

It certainly didn’t happen overnight, and it come with a lot of growing pains, and not to mention some really confusing situations as to how was I to handle this circumstance(s)? There is no instruction book on how to be a responsible adult, except what your parents teach you, and even that sometimes doesn’t help you out. Heck, your parents didn’t get a instructions book on how best to raise you and your siblings.

A few weeks ago, I speaking with a woman whose daughter is in the middle of her twenties. I hadn’t seen her daughter all that much since June, and I wanted to know how she was doing. Her mother shrugged her shoulders, and admitted she didn’t really know how to read her daughter, but just that she was angry. Life doesn’t turn out the way you and I imagined it would when we dreamed about it.

Our dreams our cultivated in part by the environment that we are reared up in and the culture that surrounds us. Nothing is perfect or fair about it. We make choices and in the years ahead we start to see them play out. I’ve leaned through a lot of mis -takes and that your attitude factors into a lot  of what I have learned.

In the last five years of my thirties, wisdom has been showing itself in the little things. It doesn’t push it’s lessons on you, – no, that’s for you to determine – are you going to resist, or are you going to be open to leaving your heart wide open to Him. When the burdens inside of me become too heavy and I want to disappear. I remind myself that I’ve overcome so much, and that there’s so much to come. Invite Him in and let His word touch the edges that are frayed to be healed.