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This is for You

 

Do you sit and let the silence from within you rise up?
It’s there you know.

His silencephoto-1452723312111-3a7d0db0e024 (1)
that prays,
that heals
that fills you with peace.
The kind that can’t be manufactured in a factory.

He is bigger than our hate of one another and ourselves.

He prays in you and
if you stopped, and listened
to your heart you would hear him

He gives life to what is considered dead.

Do you scorn the solitude
like when you hide from your shadows?

The shadows of regret, hate, fear, guilt, and shame
These burdens push out His peace.
He is not holding back his arms to you,
you are.

He’s not out to get you, he does not have an agenda
He is not trying to punish you
He is the peace you’re striving for.

He knows you so well, and that scares you.
You’re scared he might make you do something you don’t want to do.
Giving up what you don’t want to let go of.

But he has something that you don’t have,
and that is patience,
and mercy, to lavish on you.
It is unlimited to what he can do.

A photo by Austin Schmid. unsplash.com/photos/5Dga0T0x6GY

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1

Pruning the Branches

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Beginnings.

That’s what spring feels like to me. When you can see the ugly brown snow melting away, and the mottled grass starts to show. It used to be as a little girl  – I knew that spring was here when my Mom would get the axe out, and start chopping the ice that lined our front sidewalk. Even the air seem to smell like spring, and no I don’t think they’ll ever bottle it, though no doubt they’ll keep trying. The birds chirp, crocuses push their heads up through the snow, and thoughts and sights of tulips and daffodils are everywhere.

Spring is a time of gift giving.

A time when everything is new and increasing. Just thinking about it, it’s this great metaphor to signify that I am indeed growing! I am idling in spring, picking wildflowers in one hand, and somehow I’m holding burrs in the other. I can’t do one without the other. I may be showing wholeness, but it also reminds me of the hard trek it has taken me to get where I am going. It has been a prickly journey thus far…

I’ve spoken about how it good to be in the valley, but sometimes it’s nice to take a holiday, and travel up to the hill country. The weather is warmer, the breezes are ample and easy, and the sweet fragrances of life are generous.

In the last week, I’ve had three people after hearing everything that God has done, remark that he’s been doing a lot in my life. He has. Though most of what he has been working on probably has been a work in progress for the last 10-15 years( and longer!), and whatever has been healed in the vineyard of my life is going to have a really good year. All the branches that have has been pruned has allowed and cleared the way for a new area of branches to finally gain strength to break out on their own.

My sister is similar to my Mom in many ways, and I used to say jokingly, I was a fluke because I don’t have those same qualities. While I have remained in the same area/city as my Mom, my sister left around the same time that I entered the Catholic Church, probably a little earlier. Over a month ago, I wrote a post about my Mom, and wrote about her simplicity, well my sister isn’t quite a carbon copy, but so much of what they do usually makes me think of either one. It was having this knowledge that led me to an understanding of how my sister had probably been able to forgive my Dad in his inability to father her when she was growing up a lot earlier than I was.

I tend to process ‘events’ in my life longer and deeper depending on the emotional impact it had on me. While there were parts of me that understood, that forgave him for the reasons he was not able to meet my needs as little girl and adult. Still, there were emotions that I held onto because one I knew what I needed but I was unable to give them to the Lord. There was an ache that had punctured my heart so deeply that it needed to heal before I could breathe in the Holy Spirit, and know without doubt that I am whole.

I want truth and I want beauty, and it is hard to come by those two things. Beauty is truth and the truth from that is beautiful, but in reality, it is easy to mimic what is real. Truth and confusion often sit on the same shelf in our lives and in the world. I have struggled to separate from the past, and allowed it to integrate itself into what is now my present, and indeed, it is truly a gift that I have been given.photo-1447958374760-1ce70cf11ee3

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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.

 

 

 

4

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.

 

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Winding up Your Rant

Do you trust in God?

I know without even asking that yes of course you do. I mean why43e39040 wouldn’t you? You pause in your answer, and maybe there is something slinking in the background that makes trusting a little shaky? A dark shadow that doesn’t want the light to shine on the problems that it is entangled with the question, can I trust in You. I tell myself it is a better and safer option to just trust in myself because I know I can get it done in a timely manner.

I have no problem believing that God is my provider, and is providing me with everything I need. I see proof of this every day. Do I trust the Lord with every aspect of my life? Maybe I do, and probably I don’t.

It’s easy to make decisions that push the Lord to the next country, continent, planet …

The other morning, I ranted all my thoughts down and then it was my intention to send it off to my Spiritual Director. Lately, certain things said to me have been triggering thoughts and it has a tendency to wreck my thought process. After I decided not to send the rant, I had a nap, and then afterwards I re-read the rant. Below each paragraph I would jot down a couple of thoughts relating to that particular section.

Resistance

I haven’t dealt with this word for a while. I guess another good word would be distraction. Do you like distractions that help you not deal with what is in front of you? On the other hand, do you love a good challenge? Just like my mixed temperament of melancholic/phlegmatic, I can picture myself balancing myself back and forth on my feet as I bump my boxing gloves together letting my opponent across from me know that I am ready for whatever he/she throws my way. Today I will deal with this and tomorrow I will pretend that I don’t have a single problem!

What do you normally do when you resist to letting God enter a situation in your life? Eat chocolate, stop paying your bills, or skip out on your children?

First of all, I don’t sit down or write out a formal invitation, He just seems to get entangled in all of my goop – and no I don’t mean Gwyneth Paltrow’s website. It is icky, sticky, and smelly. How do I know this? Well, no one, and I mean no one wants to deal with anything that is considered goop. It’s uncultured and that means I have to wash my hands, fix my hair and change my socks! Things like my emotions are goopy like the gunk in the corner of your eyes. So let me explain, first you have fear, but fear is only the beginning because it’s the pathway to the anger that you’ve been hoarding in your closet for years. Anger is just the screen door in the summer kitchen because once the summer winds down, you’ll have to enter into the kitchen where control is waiting for you to acknowledge that you can’t put your trust where it’s appropriate – in Him.

Control

It’s not a favourite topic of mine, it’s just that it’s been taking up too much space in me and it is time for it to find another place to inhabit. Something like across the city would be preferable to me.

I’ve been having problems with feeling dizzy lately, and I’ve been avoiding calling my doctor. My doctor, God love him, loves to ask question, and lots of them. That’s how control seizes you and you start seeing things that aren’t really there, again convincing yourself that you can only trust in yourself. Yes, the bible says you can put your trust in God, but sometimes you need to experience it for yourself that He is. Everything you do is in process of becoming who you are in Him, not outside of Him. Instead allowing His plan for your life to come to fruition and making a way for it.

 

 

0

Waiting on His Purpose

My Spiritual director suggested that I start with what, when, how, etc… Just stay away from WHY Lord!

His lack of answers to my barrage of why this, and why that, has probably blocked his very simple answer. He is the epitome of one worded answers, or even sometimes the short grammatically correct sentence. It runs through my mind, as a mouse run in his wheel – to what seems forever – And I ask myself is he ever going to stop?

I’m tired.

Maybe I am letting my emotions get out of hand, it wouldn’t be the first or the last time it happened.

I was speaking with a friend who homeschools her five children, and she surprised me by saying she wouldn’t mind going to work outside of her home and bringing home a paycheck. But she too admitted that’s when it’s the same old thing day in, and day out, it becomes tedious. It becomes boring, and from my vantage point, my life is boring because not a thing is moving. Maybe it is changing, but not in the way I think it should or could. I can’t see my life shift in any way. It’s same routine day after day, but in the same breath it does provide me with security and gratitude.

On the way home from doing groceries, the majority of the train is occupied withReynoldsShoesFront university students riding the train, and they’re all leaving or going to classes. Right now, they are smack dab in the midst of mid-terms, I don’t envy them one bit. Strangely enough, I felt out of place with my backpack full of food, but in a searching and analyzing mode inside of my head. I realized that the best way to combat this wandering of my mind is to start being appreciative for what I do have. Not always easy when the ‘voices’ try to convince you otherwise, and they do seem intent on messing around with me.

In my last post, if you read it, you would know that God had revealed to me that the control lay underneath my anger. Since then I have many ‘aha’ moments of where I placed control in my heart instead of trusting in the Lord. I’ve been offering ‘the control’ to the Lord, and burning a candle for my petitions. In my state controlled world, aka, my will! Everything would start and end when I want it to, but the more it didn’t, the more I placed control instead of trusting in God.

Re-reading my current journal, I have been cringing because all I have been doing since the spring is complaining – complaining about what He isn’t doing in my life. I’ve been struggling to come to terms with a new or improved way of relating to God.

Instead, the Spirit breathes life into my most intimate desires – Sacredspace. ie

Sometimes, I hold my breath and forget that breathing is crucial for me, and I ought to do it with joy. Today is another gift from the Lord, but there are days that it doesn’t seem like it is. It might be sunny out my window, but on the inside, it’s rainy and has been for months. Whatever are my desires the Spirit is breathing life into them, and if I try to manipulate into what I think is better, I keep myself in isolation. In my perfectionism, I can easily sabotage myself, and forget that I want to do His will, and not my own. I can claim to have self-knowledge, but it pales in comparison to what Jesus  has on me. It isn’t a bad thing either because it’s easy for me to forget about being faithful to my beliefs, values and how I am to love others as Jesus does.

2

The Lazy Boy Man

He wasn’t what I expected when he open the door to me. A small man wearing an aquamarine golf styled shirt with grey slacks and black shoes. His apartment wasn’t overcrowded with junk, and he had a few photos placed through his place. He sat in his Lazy Boy the entire time that I cleaned. He didn’t turn the TV or the radio on. Once or twice, I saw him leaning over to see what I was doing.

For some reason thoughts of my Dad kept floating up, and it tookMP900178523 me a bit to realize that my client reminded me of my Dad. The few times I have been at my Dad’s apartment, it eerily resembled my client’s place with exceptions. Sometimes when I am with a client, I am able to glean a lot of information about someone with how they choose to decorate their home.

Pictures can carry truths, but they can also convey lies that will haunt you until you are willing to step out of the past, and start digging out what you thought was yesterday’s glory. Smiles lie too; they cover up the sadness and disappointment that dwells in the background. Often I look at pictures of my Dad and I and I wonder what happened. Everyone has a different side of the story to tell, and well it seems I am the only one who tells the side that I do.

It seems when I turned five that my reminiscences became clearer, at least in my mind, and when my memories materialized as signposts for me. I had simple desires as a child, and one of those essentials was to spend time with my Dad. I didn’t understand or know why I wanted this, and I didn’t analyze it. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that what was important to me, was getting to know my Dad. I want him to know who I was and love me. I longed for him to take notice of me; I wanted to be able to trust him.

My Dad is a quiet man. He didn’t share his private life with anyone outside of his family. He was devoted to taking care of his mother, my Bubi. He didn’t have any friends that I knew of when I was growing up. He was too reserved to share his interests or hobbies with other men. He kept to himself, mowed the lawn, took care of his car, watched sports and movies on his black and white TV. I know very little of my Dad.

Anything that I know about my Dad is because I asked. Purposely I spent time with my Dad, I inquired about the rules of football and hockey, not because I like the game, but because I wanted to be able to connect and discuss something with him. I was trying to find a balance, and hoping he would take a hint and maybe would ask me some questions that would indicate that he was interested in getting to know his daughter.

My Mom always told me that she loved me while I was growing up. She was full of hugs, and for years, I literally hung onto her for dear life. However, I didn’t know if my Dad loved me because I didn’t hear him communicate it to me. Love is shown in many ways, and he provided me with shelter, food, water, all of the basics. This way I was shown basic love, but I wanted him to express the love in his heart for me vocally. Yes, he bought me things, but it wasn’t what I really needed. What I really needed was for him to notice me, to want and show me that he wanted to spend time with me.  Stuck in my heart, the question that was begging to be asked; am I important to him?

I don’t know the background of my Zayda, all I do know is that he emigrated from Kiev, Ukraine in the early 1900’s when he was a young boy. My Dad never spoke favourably of his father’s side of the family. Growing up, I only was acquainted with relatives from my Bubi’s side.

Zayda was an elusive figure in my young life, and even though I display_imageCAWFTH3Ghave attempted to find out and understand more of the man who was my grandfather, I am still at a loss. I do know my Dad’s hatred for his father has left a hole in him. When I did inquire, it was evident that this was a subject that he didn’t like speaking on. My grandfather spent a chuck of time at a hospital well-known as a psychiatric hospital, but when I asked why, I was tersely told that he was ‘ just psychotic.’ My aunt informed me that it was just dementia that Zayda had, and not to worry, but why spend all those years in a hospital and not a nursing home, if it was just dementia.

In the beginning of my initial conversion, I made the decision to forgive my Dad, and I did, but more things kept springing up as the years went on. I kept forgiving him for what seem the same things, but as time passed, I discovered that they contained deeper pockets of truth for me to heal. I can’t change him as much as I would like, that is a choice for him to make. I have moved back and stopped initiating opportunities to see him because it was never my responsibility as his daughter.

I wish more people could understand what immense value a father has in his daughter’s life. So many men give up or disappear in their daughters lives as they begin growing into a young woman; they don’t realize the pivotal role they have in guiding their little girls into well-adjusted and responsible adults. Unfortunately, the family is changing, and having a father involved has become an option not a necessary requirement for a girls development into adulthood.

I have come to understand that my Dad’s lack of receiving any love and care was hindered, the absence of my grandfather hurt him, though I don’t think he would readily admit to it. He was not taught how to love and father my sister and I.

Love scared me when I craved and thirsted for it the most, and I suspect my Dad does as well.

As an adult, I still struggle with the concept of a loving and merciful God. All things that God is, I experienced the opposite with my Dad. As a little girl, instead of learning to trust I do deserve good things in my life, I taught myself that I didn’t deserve anything good.  I grew up believing that God was just waiting to accuse me, in fact, most of the things I thought to be true; I found out were actually lies. Even though I grew up believing in God, I didn’t know who He [is] and I certainly didn’t know how much he loved and loves me.La_Tour