Monday, May 15, 2017

The Storm Rages On

May 2, 2017

There are days and moments in my life, I cannot explain or figure out why things go the way they do. Why I continue to implode on myself and create this inner battle and struggle? Even sometimes when I think I am so close to figuring it out, or feeling that I am finally completely “whole”; I find myself like I did last Thursday night. I find myself in this great inner battle to live or die. I hate going to that place because it is dark and dirty and evil. It is where the devil has his foothold and grabs on to me and where I have to be my bravest and strongest to survive.

Much of my battles in the past, I tried to rely solely on myself to accomplish beating the devil, but through my Faith and belief in Christ, I realize now I was never “alone”. I am never ALONE! Christ is always with me even when it gets bumpy. It is easy to see Christ and focus on Christ and trust Christ when everything is going well. But when the turbulence hits I sometimes lose my balance, my focus, my trust. It is hard to stay focused on where Christ is in that moment. I guess it is much like the story of the disciples in Matthew Chapter 14 who find themselves out on the water in a raging storm with turbulence all around them. Then they see a figure walking on water. They are terrified until they hear His voice and recognize it is the Lord.

Peter filled with this great Faith, steps out on the water and keeping his eyes fixed on Christ begins walking on water. He takes a few steps, but the wind and the waves rise and he loses focus. He finds himself sinking and panicking, much like I find myself in the battle of my life. I sink and I panic thinking the worst. Wondering what kind of life, it is I am living? Is it truly the life Christ called me to live? Because truthfully, I get tricked by the devil and I lose trust and on those nights like Thursday, I contemplate ending it all and letting the devil win because I don’t want to battle anymore. So, I cry out in desperation and Jesus comes to my rescue once again. He pulls me out of my muck and mire and desperation. He gives me the strength to battle on, to never give up, to trust, to have Faith. Funny, thing is though, He never promises that the journey will be easy, that it will be free of turbulence or hardship. What He did promise is that He loves me above all else and that He would never abandon me. Somehow in my blindness, I find comfort in knowing this.

But the questions keep mounting. How will this turn out? Am I living the right path? Will I crash and burn and fail miserably? Will my heart be broken yet again? Who do I trust? The answer comes to trust through my fears and trust God because He is always near. Because if I don’t – If I focus on myself and the turmoil around me, rather than the Savior in front of me – I find myself like Peter in panic mode. I find myself lost and floundering about, and then I find myself wishing I was dead.

My trust cannot be superficial. I must overcome the fear of the unknown and let God lead the way. He hasn’t disappointed me, yet. He has given me wonderful moments of clarity, mercy and Faith, all by His grace and love for me. How can I abandon that life? I cannot!!!  I tried to rid that life on Thursday, when I burned many years of my journals and writings, thinking I would be getting rid of the pain, that if I didn’t see it or read about it, that I could trick myself into believing that those pains never happened. Maybe, this purging will help me to finally move forward. Maybe, this letting go and letting God will finally happen.  So, today is a new day to be brave, to take those steps to move toward Christ to believe in the abundance of Christ love and to share that love with others.

“But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge.” Psalm 141:8

The Piano

April 29, 2017

So, I have this piano. It was my mom’s and I inherited it because at one time I played the organ. Truth is I hated playing the organ because I wanted to play the piano, but because the piano was at my grandma’s house and the organ was at my house, I was forced to accept playing the organ or not playing an instrument at all. But I learned when your heart is not into something, your mind fills it with resentment, regret, anger, fear and the list goes on. You resent that someone dictates what you can and cannot do. You regret that you never pushed through or forced the issue to get what you wanted. You feel anger towards yourself and the one that stopped you from pushing forward in the first place. Finally, you let fear keep you from following your heart or trusting what is in your heart. This is how I lived a lot of my life, but then there was the other side. The “Hyde” to my “Jekyll” The side that held out hope against hope that one day I would get past this or that, that someday I would make beautiful music on this piano. This is called ambivalence, but I call it Hell!

But the thing is, I may never be able to play the piano like my mom. She was gifted and talented and obedient to the practice that made her a talented pianist. I was not that obedient or talented when it came to playing the organ or even now trying to play the piano, but I still loved the music. I loved to be a part of something so eloquent and beautiful as hearing the songs played by my mom. It makes my heart sing and isn’t that what Love is supposed to do?  Make your heart sing! But in order to make our hearts sing or someone else’s heart we need to be able to play the music on whatever we have been given and with what we have left. There is a world-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman who on November 18, 1995 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City gave a performance of a lifetime, but more than that a lesson in perseverance and acceptance. If you know nothing about Mr. Perlman, in brief he was stricken by polio as a child and was fitted with braces and had to use crutches to assist him in walking. When he would enter the stage, it was quite a process and ritual that would take some time for him to get situated so that he could play. On this particular night after he had settled, nodded to the conductor and began to play, a string on his violin broke. The audience gasped in horror as they knew one could not play a violin with only three strings and they anticipated that Mr. Perlman would not be able to continue but would have to leave stage to get the violin repaired so that he could finish the concert. But much to the surprise of everyone, this did not happen. Mr. Perlman closed his eyes, then opened them, nodded to the conductor and proceeded to play where he had left off and according to those in attendance played one of the most beautiful, powerful and passionate concerts of all time. When the concert was finished, Mr. Perlman stood and addressed the crowd with these words: "You know, sometimes it is the artist's task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left."

Much of my life, I have lived in the mindset of the audience. In horror when something bad happens, thinking the worst, thinking of the possible failure, thinking I could not make music with what I have left. Because I need to make music with what I have been given, and truth is I sometimes fail miserably at this. I have not totally learned, how to play beautiful music with the instrument I have been given. The life I have been given, because I am stuck in the mindset that I am nothing or can do nothing unless I have a complete instrument. When I do let, this mindset go and just play on with what I have been dealt, others see and hear the beautiful music and are inspired and energized and hopeful that they too can still make music.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Prodigal Daughter.....

September 17, 2015

I went for a walk in the woods today, and it sucked me in and held me like nothing else mattered. I needed that.  I missed the woods, and it let me know I'm always welcomed there and that I can find peace with the spirits around me, with life around me. I needed the spirits. I needed peace. I needed God. I needed to live. It is funny how fast life moves past us. How quickly we get out of routines or start new bad habits and then realize we missed so much. I found that out these last few weeks, how much I missed my winter routine of walking through the woods. When two long friendships crumbled around me, I realized life moved so quickly, excuses piled up and before long I found myself slowly losing my discipline that I had during the winter. Slowly losing my focus on the simple things and beauty in everyday life.  Maybe this spring, I was still feeling the sting of being rejected and slowly it eroded away at what I had accomplished this winter, which was trying to turn my life around by trusting God more. To learn to let go and let God, but as spring gave way to summer, I found I was fooling myself to believe I could find God in other ways. I didn't need the woods.  But the busyness took over, and I wasn't looking for God as much, and maybe that is what changed in my friendships, and I failed to notice, because I had changed.
Recently I realized my life was spiraling out of control, my control and I found myself back to square one as I was on that day back in December when I was reeling about falling in love with someone who didn't love me the same way back.  I had a choice to make, I could continue to let the depression, sweep in and continue to take over my life, or I could do something about it. I could choose to return to the woods, to return back as the prodigal daughter, asking God to show me the way. To ask God to help me with the blindness in my life. To ask God to open my eyes to what I have been missing these last few months. To awaken me from my blindness to see God. I needed to see God, because I was hurting and angry and I didn't want this to consume me.
So I returned to the woods, looking about, feeling, listening, praying for God to give me His peace. As I walked, I saw the changes from the winter and early spring. The trees were full of life, bristling in the light breeze, circling me with their branches offering me shelter. The path was narrower, but more focused and only small shards of light passed through the full branches. I could feel the warmth of this light on my cheek. The trees continued to wrap around me, almost hugging me. So I sat awhile and basked in the light and the comfort. Everything was so green and full of life and the leaves seemed to block out all the outside noise. It was just me and Fergus and God in this lush, green world. As I talked with God, I heard Him speak to me, reminding me that everything changes. Nothing stays the same, except God's love for me. He reminded me that life moves forward not backwards, and that to continue to trust Him. I left the woods comforted and more peaceful. I was grateful God is always with me and that everything will work out according to His plan.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Wrestling with myself

I'm on a journey and I have been for sometime. It is a journey to discover the true me. I find this journey sometimes easy and sometimes bothersome because it requires me to look deep within and see what God sees. There are days I'm strolling through the sunshine and taking it all in and believe that "life is good! that God is good!" Then there are days of darkness when I am buried and bumbling and barely breathing and I wonder "Why now?" These are the days that I find I am wrestling with myself, wrestling with finding truth and wrestling with God. I revert back to old habits, old views and old beliefs, and I struggle to see the sunshine. It is during those times I feel bad, isolated, alone and I'm certain that everyone hates me. I crawl into a hole and fear to let anyone in to see my hurts, my pains, and my weaknesses, especially those closest to me. I don't want to be raw and vulnerable or exposed because there is ugliness there. However;  there is one truth I cannot escape and that it God's love and belief in me. So the journey changes, as I look at myself through God's eyes. I change because of God's love and I move forward. This inner battle, this struggle, this wrestling match becomes easier as I turn closer and closer to God. As I accept Christ and what he has done and what he continues to do in my life, my journey becomes less troublesome, less burdensome, and less dark. Because Christ is the way, the truth and the life, he has been where I have been and gone before me to make my path more bearable. He is the one that lights my way and brings me out of the darkness.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What if....?

What if....??? How many times do we ask ourselves this question over a lifetime? I know when I was in basic training this question became a daily one on the minds of my classmates and myself. At first, we were trying to forsee every possible scenario that we could run into and we were trying to gain the knowledge we needed to survive. We were new and we wanted to be prepared for anything. So we would ask questions, especially when we were learning handcuffing techniques, such as what if the subject only has one arm? How do we secure them, and the answer was given by the instructor to handcuff the one arm to the subject's belt or belt loop. But as we questioned throughout our training it became almost a game to see who could come up with the most outrageous "What if..." question. We would "What if..." the instructor constantly, to the point the instructor would give up and jokingly state "just shoot them". We knew at that point we needed to move on and the gig was up, and the "What if..." questions would stop.
But as we move through our days we have probably heard or thought about the "What if..."  questions like:
"What if the cancer returns?" "What if I lose my job?" "What if I lose my house?" "What if this treatment doesn't work?" "What if he or she doesn't love me?" "What if I make the wrong choice?" "What if this marriage doesn't work out?" "What if I'm not a good parent?" "What if I can't get past this struggle?" "What if there is no God?"
Questions that make you stop and think and worry. But we shouldn't have to worry or ask the "What if..." questions if we have Faith. because God tells us...

(Philippians 4:6-8)Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

So we place our trust in God, with Faith that He will take care of us. We hope in this greater power, so that the "What if..." questions don't seem so daunting. We learn to trust that everything will work out according to God's plan and to most this gives us comfort. So the "What if..." questions have less hold on our lives and we are able to live with the Faith that God will provide.