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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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Discovering the Real Value in Christmas

 

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Christmas always left me feeling sad and empty when I was a little girl.

After all, the presents had been opened, and the wrapping paper was in the garbage, the whole idea of Christmas always seemed to be a waste – at least – to me it was. It was a race against time to get all those presents, and then a few hours later it was done. I wondered what the point of all of the gifts was. I was focused on a tree strung with bright sparkling lights, a man in a red suit who travelled with reindeer flying all over the world to give out gifts.

Forget the actual day of Christmas, the magic of Christmas Eve struck a chord in my young heart because I knew whatever was happening was special. Everyone leaves work early to go home and be with their families and close friends. Part of the problem I think was, I didn’t even know that we were celebrating and remembering a baby being born.

It’s a few days after Christmas, and it is still about hope, and though the majority of us have already been out to pick up a bargain from the leftover sales from Christmas, we make-up excuses for more stuff. Just another day to spend time buying stuff. And the question is: do you even need it?

Everything and nothing leads us to pause about what has gone wrong, except we don’t know what it’s all about. It’s a season of where paradoxes’ emerge. It’s a time to be wowed by the hope given to us by a baby born in a barn – in a complete lack of luxury, the complete opposite of what most people think of when they speak of Christmas. This is a time when it’s easy to overeat, over-shop, just plain over the top consumption! Another chance to fill the emptiness inside of their souls, but sometimes you need to empty yourself to feel the poverty of the situation.

It refuses to be extinguished

A small flame of hope lingers hidden underneath anger, shame, depression, and anxiety, etc., with all the gems that are the sum of our desires. Christmas doesn’t seem to be enough but it is, with the simple gift of hope in a birth of a baby in a manger. The problem is most of us equal Christmas with more stuff, more doing than waiting as we are called to do so during the season of Advent. Taking time to enjoy the Christmas lights on front porches, for example, this can help remind us of the hope that is in the waiting. Instead of holding onto negative emotions, make an effort to seek out the good that Christmas does offer, and even the opportunities that are given to us the time in between Christmas and New Years. For myself, I have found I need fewer activities and more time reflecting to appreciate what is going on.

The time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is usually a chaotic time for me. It’s hard to put into words how I feel in this time of undetermined celebrating. It’s mostly an emotional and spiritual battle, but this year, I decided I was going to do something more concrete. I started with Advent:

  • This year I made the plan not to go into a mall once December came, I didn’t want to see the busyness when it should be a time of waiting, not rushing around. I start my Christmas shopping in March/April so that around November I can tie up loose ends.
  • I bought a devotional from Magnificat specifically for the season of Advent. I don’t normally read devotionals, but I figured reading something about Advent might help.
  • During Advent, there were times that I felt little reminders of joy and hope. I let the Lord fill me with these emotions, and they led me to anticipate(joy) the coming of His arrival.
  • I make a point each year to work 2-3 days to help with confusion of days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve

 

I hope you all had a safe and happy Christmas and all the best for coming year of 2017!

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Don’t Ignore the Signs…

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Whole

I asked that I be made whole, and 16 years later I think I may be at that point. Don’t get me wrong, I am nowhere near perfection.

Six years ago

I had just graduated from a Professional Writing program, and I was looking for a job to cover my rent and bills so I could continue to look for a job using the skills I had gained through the program. The first job I started was at Subway.  It should’ve been a no-brainer because I had prior experience working with food. But this was the real world, and I hadn’t spent much time on it after spending a whole year off (on medical leave) from work. The world and depression don’t mix, kind of like water and oil. One always sits on the top and refuses to move. In school, it was nicely warm and way too comfortable, I didn’t have to worry about a job, and I just did assignment after assignment.

The problem wasn’t Subway per say, but the owner who watched me like a hawk, and when I am watched I always mess up. Did you know that you have to memorize each sub and what is on it? And that’s not the only thing you need to remember. I could feel my anxiety kicking in and I wanted out. I felt like I had just come out of being in the warm waters for way too long. I was cold and wrinkled.

In May 2010, I applied to an organization that provided services for and to seniors. I personally knew some of the Homemakers, so I asked one the girls if I could have the name of her manager. Honestly, I didn’t know what position I was applying for. I had this desire to work att his organization, and I had no idea why. Nothing I could put into words. I gave my resume in, only to find out that they didn’t need anyone at the moment…

Fast forward to September 2010

I was working part-time in a call centre and not liking it at all. I needed something that would pay my rent and bills, I didn’t think I was asking for too much. I didn’t want to work in retail as I looked for a writing job. Preferably, this job would be Monday to Friday with the weekends off. Then out of the blue, I got called in at the organization that I had originally applied back in the spring.

In the first couple years, I would question the Lord as each year passed, but He remained quiet, so I continue on working as a homemaker. Taking the time when I got a case of, ‘I don’t want to be here!’ I would remind myself of all that I had, and all of it was good. This job has given me much as it has pushed me to be a better person, to practise my active listening skills and so much more. However, the last couple months has brought some things into the light, and it initiated me to wonder: is the Lord asking me to leave?

Chaos Ensuing

For six years, I have worked under the same supervisor, and we worked well together. Sure, there were some things I wasn’t a fan of, but in general, things ran well. About the end of September, something happened and be honest I don’t know what it was except my safe and reliable supervisor wasn’t around when I needed the support.

About a year ago, I read about a Virtual Assistant, someone who could work anywhere in the world, and have their clients situated anywhere…Kind of like a personal assistant, but your clients are all over the world. At first, it didn’t interest me as something I could do, but the last time I spoke with my Spiritual Director she brought up my desire to work from home. At this point, I had no idea what to do from home, but I knew it was a desire. I know I could potentially do well working from home. I know that I can structure my days to work, and it’s something that interests me.

I keep reminding myself that God takes His time when it comes to answering specific prayer requests for me. They are the ones that are close to my heart, therefore even nearer to His. Under his care, every little detail will be taken into consideration. It’s custom built.

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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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This is for You

 

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

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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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Deep Beauty – Part 1

Ever since I was a little girl, I long to know I was beautiful. I desired to know that I was lovely. I even asked my Dad if he thought I was. I didn’t see my beauty or worth, and I ached to have someone like him to help me make sense of where I fit in. Everyone else was more important than I was, and on the road to somewhere. I wanted to jump on the fast track too; it’s just that Jesus had other plans for me. Living in poverty doesn’t just have to be material, most of us live in poverty because we haven’t experienced His love, which heals our invisible wounds.

The last two years, I have been wandering in the desert. Jesus is the driver, and I am the passenger letting the wind whip my hair all over the place. I am a passenger on this journey, longing to be a part of the beauty that exists here in austerity.

It’s the surface that many people live in, most of us are too busy with work, relationships,

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and stuff considered more important. Letting the world dictate what you should do, eventually will push the desires of your heart further away until it will not be a part of you. This desire will float around you like an oasis that you can no longer reach onto what is good.

 

I completed a Lectio Divina. I don’t remember the verse, but what stayed with me was how I would respond to what I had received. Jesus wanted to teach me how to dive into the deep with Him, to trust in him, and in the process taking my ability to love Him deeper. Taking my fragile trust, and plunging it into deep waters. I guess you could call it freestyle diving. Essentially, I felt the Lord was calling me to do the same, except He would be my oxygen.

What I wanted the most was to love Him with all my heart, mind, and soul. Still, I am out of breath and the strength to love Him as I know He desires, but I am learning where and when to rest, and listening to him when he says, ‘Let me do it’.

I know that I can trust the Lord with all my heart, but then comes ‘lean not on your own understanding.'(v.5)* Interiorly, I am learning that my physical beauty pales in comparison to the beauty that lies on the inside of me. Much like the burning that the men from Emmaus** experienced, who spoke with Jesus, and yet did not realize their hearts burned within themselves until Jesus revealed himself, only to then disappear from their sight.

 

*Proverbs 3:5

**Luke 24:31

Published previously in 2014

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Are We There Yet?

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I’m only going to admit here: I’m bit of a romantic when it comes to waiting, but I’m under no illusions that waiting is a glamourous thing. Maybe if a documentary was done on the journey of my waiting then could I term my ‘waiting’ with a bit of romanticism? There would be sweeping and haunting music in the background, only the best shots of my waiting, and then of course the glorious end! But when is my waiting done?

We live in a culture that abhors to wait, the mere mention of the word, and we start becoming someone we aren’t. Nasty, belligerent and impatient. No, one gets away with this one because well, only the Lord is patient in waiting, which is why waiting is something to be learned and valued. But waiting is only the conduit from which we learn what we need for this life. It breeds character, virtue, fine manners for dinner etc. There are so many reasons for waiting, and most of us are still waiting for the Lord to explain it.

Pulling and Pushing

The Lord can and will use this time to turn our direction from outward to inward. To bring us to a place where we see what he sees in us. As I mentioned, I’m a bit of a romantic when it comes to waiting, but I seem to push out of my mind, all the pain that accompanies waiting.

We can push away the pain of unfulfilled dreams, and pretend that we are in control, pretend that the peace that only comes from the Lord doesn’t satisfy our empty wants and needs. We want to live our lives in harmony with Him or we take off on horses that imitate and mock his beauty. We don’t breathe in His spirit and we can squander what he has given us because we don’t consider why He is waiting.

A Fine Suffering

No, I’m not done. In fact, as long as we are alive, we wait for His return, his glorious return to claim what is His. But in the meantime what are we to do? What are we to say when it is asked of you why you wait, why you struggle with what you can’t seem to get from life. Well, life isn’t here to serve you, you are here to serve those around you. As the chisel in the Master’s hand continues to allow the absence of your desire. How does this absentia create havoc in the crevices of your soul? For long periods of time nothing will speak of what your heart longs for, or what you are seeking with your eyes. Sometimes you wonder if the hunger that lives inside of you will ever be tamed. The gnawing is like a flickering light that refuses to be blown out.

For a long time I’ve wanted to write about waiting because too many of us – just don’t get it. Learning to wait isn’t a punishment, it’s more of a time to be waited upon. We want to be where everyone else is, and that isn’t always the best place for us. Until our time is done, life is one big waiting period because we are simply being prepared to go home.

Most of my life, I have jerked myself around trying to be someone, something that I am simply not. It is in the periods of waiting that I have been taught who I am. We’ve been taught by everything that is around us, that it isn’t good to wait because you could have ‘it’ now! During this long season (and still continuing!) of waiting, that what I need and want are mistakenly not materialistic but of a eternal reward.

PASSION

There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart… pursue those.