Tuesday, September 30, 2014

That ONE Relationship

A deep relationship with someone is powerful and almost unreal. Knowing all the secrets and commiting the most trust, it makes you feel like you have another limb. There are so many different types of relationships out there. Social, work, hobby, romantic, philosophical, and class. They all require something taken and given from each of us. Most of the time, when both parties incorporate their effort into the relationship, much is accomplished and successful. Knowing each others' place and responsibility is where the rubber meets the road. 

Have you ever considered your relationship with God? Have you thought about the situation that He is in or the one that you have placed yourself in? He wants to get us all out of this trouble and mess. Even though we betrayed Him, by walking away, He is there providing opportunity after opportunity. We just take two sides of the story in order to get what we want from Him with little effort. Here are a couple of scenarios that I have seen us all take...

Scene one, we see ourselves in this sin and get caught up in trying to take care of it ourselves. We have little monologues with ourselves about how we are going to get it all fixed so that we can see God again. Maybe if we just do this or that we will be pure enough to come before Him and have a conversation. He is pure goodness, so why shouldn't we? But there is God, sitting over there watching us mumble to ourselves as we scrub and scrub away at the scabs. He yearns to catch our eye and maybe strike up some conversation, but we are looking at our sin... and fixing... and mumbling.

Scene two, we find out that God has a sweet gift called grace. We sigh with relief that we don't have to feel guilty anymore and go on our merry way. Not even stopping to see God's face to see what He might have to say about the gift or what it can do for us. We end up wondering why God isn't having a monologue with the Godhead about all the blessings we should be getting. The gift kind of runs stale in our lives and we just settle for what the world has to offer because its... well.... shiny and immediate gratification. We have no idea that God is sitting there wanting to commune with us while we enjoy His great gift of salvation. He had so many secrets to success and ways of letting His love shine through us so that we could tell the world of what He has done.

I want to propose another scenerio to you. I want to suggest that you get in real deep with God. Have a real dialogue with Him. Discover what He did in the past (the Bible) for His people while He comes into your heart and speaks to you about what He can do through you. He wants to give you that saving grace and see you succeed! Together you can overcome sin with good. With a little grunt work or what some like to call discipline of your mind, God and you can tackle those whispers the devil throws at you. There is no way that you can do it alone and there is no way that God can perfect your success without your involvement. Sin likes to keep us away from that relationship. Either by pushing our noses in sin as we try to scrub or by taking for granted the gift we have been given. 

This building and cultivating does not come easy and it is not for the faint of heart. It makes you stronger, your burdens become lighter, and your courage like the fierceness of a lion. This is where God wants you to be. He wants you to stand and have the energy to honor Him, worship Him, and follow Him. A deep relationship, gives me the chills. Lets get the chills together.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Key to My Soul

It is much easier to look back on a life that felt helpless when you are grounded and secure. But how do you talk about recovery with someone else when you no longer have that overpowering sense of guilt, darkness, and numbness? How do you show someone the beauty that is waiting for them, when their life is completely different? 

No matter how cliche it all seems, God really is the key. I remember the slow, simple breathes that I took when I drew close to His presence. He has no sin, is repulsed by its existence, and kills it with the touch of His light whereever He goes. How than is it possible for me to be near? What gave Him the ability to become a human and wade through the muck of Earth? You would think that He doesn't understand at all. How does He know what makes my heart sing and gets me all choked up inside? 

Though I am full of sin, He remembers His destiny for me. In creating me He had a purpose and a design for my life. Even though I might ignore His advances, hide in shame, or say I do not need Him. He waits there just for the right moment to make His grand move. He sees that my heart aches for renewal and a drive to succeed in confidence. He places the people I need in my life, colors the sky with pastels, causes the birds to sing with soulful abandon and in just the right key. He changes my route with detours, let's the tragedy make me yearn for something more, just to get to me. Just to show me that what I am looking for is HIM. 

When I realize all that He has done to get my attention, I cannot feel helpless. I cannot believe that I am hopeless and useless. My value is greater than even this world can determine. He is the reason I get up in the morning and do my best. For Him I sing and Him alone. You would think that being a married woman, I should be focusing on my husband. Simply, we are here to help each other see Jesus every day. Like a reminder and a cue, we can keep each other accountable for what really matters. 

So what can I say to those who are struggling? What do I have to give that can bring relief and show others that there is a way to feeling valued and confident? All I have to give is Jesus. Putting the cliche aside, what I have to give you is the key to your destiny. Like a blue print to your soul, that is what God can be. He doesn't give warm fuzzies if what you really need is a kick in the pants. He won't tell you it will all get better when the worst is yet to come. What He will do is give you the courage to face the fight. He will give you the stronghold and like a rock you will overcome. He will light your soul on fire despite your fear. 

Once we take the time to see what God can do, we will do the following:

"Therefore, my beloved brethen, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." - 1 Cor. 15:58

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Not a Psychologist, Just a Mover

I haven't written in a few days. I was starting to feel like I was just pumping out words. Half of me has also been preoccupied with work and turning this house upside down. Looking at my life right now, I see how God does not let me stop. Each time I move, I get rid of more and more stuff. I realize the importance or lack there of, and think, He is slowly changing my priorities. 

I think that God wants us to live simple lives. Not cheap and barren, just full of what we need and enjoying the beauty that already exists. There  are some things that are hard for me to give up. Like dealing with the idea that I could live forever. For some reason that gives me the chills. Or those keepsakes in the attic stored in a huge blue bin. God is working on me and each little step is taking me to a new priority. For example, I had like 15 textbooks that I kept and thought I would never get rid of. They were examples of the knowledge I had gained, challenges I had conquered, and hours upon hours of time spend cramming my mind. They symbolized a path I had taken on my own. 

They looked all pretty on the shelf and let me tell you, I spent a LOT of money on those books. It is like they were my trophies. So, over the past few years those books resided at my parents in an upstairs bedroom. I kept meaning to get them back into my own house but I kept forgetting about them. I began to think about  how I wanted to get rid of the novels I had, but of course I was going to keep the psychology books!

Another thing that was happening to me was that I was rediscovering myself. I was over my fatigue when reading and I was unwrapping some new passions. I understood that it was possible that I might never do anything very directly with my degree but at the same time knew exactly what it all had given me. Those 4 years and money spent, I wouldn't trade for anything. I know what it is ilke to study with really smart people. I know that it is possible to be ordinary and have something in common with them. I know what it's like to challenge my professors and speak up in a classroom full of other intellectuals. And I used to be the shy kid in school. I know how to write an essay in 2 hours and have a professor be inspired. If I did not go to college my eyes would have been closed to the possibilities. Critical thinking and problem solving was all we ever did. 

So now that you might think that this was all for bragging rights, I have to let you know that a day does not go by that I don't think that I didn't challenge myself enough by not going to grad school. There comes a limit for everyone I think. Everyone knows their boundaries when pushing themselves. After college I wanted to live a little and not dread tests, homework, and research papers. I wanted to leave work at work and just enjoy my evenings. I got that and now I am seeing life differently. 

I have evaluated what seems necessary to keep in my life. I have spent many thoughts wondering what I am meant for. Everyone does this, no matter their education. So when I went to go through my books at my parents' last night, I easily put aside the Abnormal Psychology and Social Psychology textbooks. And to think they were elective courses. I also knew exactly which books I wanted to keep... Neuroscience, Psychopharmacology, Biologial Psychology, A&P, etc... oh and that Cognitive Pscyhology textbook I actually never read all the way through. Confession time. I don't really know why God made it so easy for me to understand the nervous system. I don't know what He wants to do with it all. But what I do want you to know is that I am not a counsellor. I haven't done my time in clinicals or studied enough on behavior. I just like the brain, that's it. 

What I am trying to say here is that we can start out on a path thinking that we know exactly where we will end up. I thought I was going to graduate school to be a researcher, but that is not what I am today. I thought I would want to keep all those textbooks and that I loved EVERYTHING about Psychology. I almost felt like it was a crime to eliminate some of it, but last night I physically did. I kept what I feel is now important to me. I don't know, yet, where this knowledge will take me. I don't know why God made me LOVE the nervous system. Just a small selection on the topic of the human body. We can't go through life thinking we have to do what is expected. We can only do what we are CALLED to do. 

I want to live a simple life but at the same time I find the complexity of the mind and nervous system to be so facinating. It is where God's breath touches humanity. When it says in Genesis that God breathed into Adam, I believe He was igniting the nervous system and brain initially. It is our distinction. It is what gives us the ability to think, pray, feel, and love others. As we look into one another eyes we are also capturing the mind of another with our own eyes and minds. Crazy!

Anyways, it's getting late. No matter the destination or detours you have taken in life, remember, God uses it all! Thank goodness.  Here is to moving, thinking, and living life to the fullest!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Simplicity in Suburbia

I am in expectancy. Not because of a child but of the awaited time to be reunited again with my husband. A whole week of just being in a simple routine with him again. Even if it means not seeing him for 12 hours that day, I will take those small moments at the end of the day for random discussion or just being near by. 

This weekend I took the time to just hear him in the house. Kinda weird to some maybe but I liked hearing his foot steps or just how he would strum the guitar on the couch. Waking in the morning and hearing his alarm go off, holding  my hand for just a moment in the middle of the night, and watching him wrestle the cat. These are the times that I should think of often and really appreciate when we have had too much routine and become complacent. Mostly complacent in daily routine and normalcy. 

Some say living rugged and in the woods is a good way to appreciate the simplicity in life. This is most likely true, but I think it takes real character building to be stuck in the midst of suburban life and the hustle to train the mind. To think simply and be humbled by just the beating of our hearts. Honestly, if it wasn't for finally getting into positive thinking I would still be unsettled and negative. Ya, I still feel anxious for our reunion, but God only reminds me that this is a time to cultivate and renew. It is a time to discipline my mind and settle the reins. Take in my wild passionate crazy emotions and, breathe. 

What are the little things that make your heart sing? What really makes living feel alive for you? What place is your sanctuary in the midst of the bustle?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Like the Wind

What I have found is that Love is separate from myself. I don't have to find it or understand the logistics. I really have nothing to do with Love. I don't have to stir it up and make a recipe. Science cannot make a formula and hash it into a million perspectives. Far beyond our minds it exists and breathes without our help. It does not need me. It does not need you.

All that Love does it bind, cultivate, open, and revitalize the energy inside of you and me. There is no need to ask for what it can do, it comes. Does not ask for anything in return, remember it doesn't need you. Love just warms a cold room and breaks the fences of fear. The strength it possesses, undoes me.  Can it undo you? You can't really love, Love. It just makes you hold on for dear life. No one sees Love, for it is like the wind.

Working tirelessly without you even knowing, it strengthens your bonds. Letting it work alone is key. It does not need your advice. Nor will it be efficient if your heart has its own ideas. My mind looks back and has seen how I have changed. I am slower to speak. There is more of a sparkle in my eye and the little things make me happy. Thankfulness explodes from my insides. I cannot contain what it has done. Opening my eyes, changing my heart, unfolding the kindness. What Love has done is make me reflect its power.

Continuously working, constantly changing, forever by my side. This is Love.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Change, The Furry Monster

Change is inevitable. When I was a kid I HATED change. I loved wearing the same old shoes for years and was quite happy staying the age I was previously, during each of my birthdays. It was kind of annoying really and it made it difficult for me to grow up. I am kind of embarrassed by these facts. People who embrace change are hardcore and resilient. They possess the ability to lead and make changes for the best. They are respected and admired. I have to consider this position though. Why is it that we admire people who embrace change? It's most likely because no one wants to be the one to do it. No one deep down likes change.

When I got older I realized I had to deal with it. I had to accept the function of change and expect that if I was going to be happy I had to look for the good reasons why change had to happen. The more drastic the changes that occured the more I started to almost like it and crave it. For all the wrong reasons I saw how change could get me away from issues. That "greener on the other side of the fence" concept started to really latch onto me. I became unsatisfied when things weren't changing enough. Overall, you can tell that I pretty much was never satisfied from the beginning!

Why am I being so critical with myself here? Well, I am going through another drastic change. After having convinced myself that I was going to stay put in Massachusetts, live in the same house for decades, and live with what I had, Chris and I had the opportunity to move to New Jersey. After asking God about His opinion in the matter and getting a "yes you should go" we took it. But before the actual decision was made, I went into concern-mode. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about moving or even staying. 

I asked God to place in my heart the desire to be satisfied no matter the outcome. I wanted Him to give me the ability to be content no matter where my home was. I needed Him to give me the feeling in my heart that no matter where I am, I am home. He showed me how much I had been blessed by the home I was given. He provided me the opportunity to give closure to any issues that I might have had while living in Massachusetts. He expressed to me the fact that I was a conqueror and could move on, not because of avoidance or because of the greenness that could be expected. He gave me the ability to be satisfied. 

So with that being said, I will miss my little home. I will miss my family and new family. For the past 3 months I have been embracing each moment and utilizing my time to just be. I used to hurry through life, CONSTANTLY cleaning. Just looking busy. Right now, I am nostalgic. That is all. I am excited for the new opportunties. I am excited to meet new people, though it will shake my skins. Honestly, I cannot wait to organize and clean out stuff for packing. Why this gives me a thrill I don't know. 

Oh, and I am really looking forward to starting a new hobby when we move. Plants. I really really want to have plants in our home. They create cleaner air, make the home look cozy, and everything looks fresh. I will be starting out with succulents of course. My green thumb is only a wannabe. So, with all of this being said, change really is a good thing. It cultivates you, chisels out the bad habits, keeps you on your toes. I am blessed to have found that peace with change. Being mindful of the two ways to divert, when experiencing change, is also key.

Change anything, even if it's small, it means you get to grow. Like pruning bushes, you will become full and lush. Maybe bud a few flowers. Haha.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

My Heart. Your Heart.

Reaching the heart. I have only a small understanding of this concept. God in His overflowing love, cannot contain His joy when a heart starts to beat to the rhythm of His pulse. When that small heart has finally come home He makes room, sets up shop, and gets to cultivating its potential. As He chisels away at the darkness, pain, and selfish ambition, He fills it with a peace that no one understands. Once this stillness flows along, He sparks the ambition and punches the drive to fulfill. The eyes begin to sing even when the smile is small and each step becomes much lighter. For His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

God has gotten to my heart. When I was young I had unfettered love and adoration for His presence. Without a jaded spot, I was innocent in my love for Him. There was a moment in time when I felt I couldn't come to God. I knew I had taken my own steps into my own direction. Placed my emotions in front of His guiding. Spending time in His presence felt harsh and shameful. I couldn't get to Him, though I logically knew He wanted me. I felt tainted and dishonest toward Him. I couldn't bare to see the pain in His eyes. Little did I know that I had no idea what He could do with the shame. All that time that I did not talk with Him, He never ended loving me. He never gave up and moved on. 

I can say this now, but at one time I thought this was impossible to actually FEEL. I would never tell someone that God puts pain and loss in our lives to bring us closer to Him. He DOES NOT wish pain and sorrow on His children. His destination for us is in a place where we will have rulership over the beast of the field and the bird of the air (Hebrews 2). What I can say is that God uses the predicaments that we have gotten ourselves into, to open our eyes to what He has in store. I use this last statement loosely in the fact that sin is sin. Whether we directly committed it or someone long ago changed history, it is all sin and we are in it. Sin causes sickness, wickedness, destruction, and ultimately death. I don't want to spend time here saying who's fault it all is. All have fallen short of the Glory of God.

It is strange how God got to me. He took advantage of the loss I felt in my life to show me that He was all I needed. At the bottom of my heart bucket, I had no one to turn to. He was my only reason to live.  Gently He spoke to my soul and told me that though I am not the same girl that I once was, I am His. He has told me that what I have now no one can take from me. He has convinced me that this time I am stronger in His name, confident in His deeds, a fighter for His kingdom. I understand what sin has done, I know what God can do, and He has told me that I can take the armor and wear it in battle. Despite my past chaos. What He has also shown me is that I am no better than the next girl. He reminds me that what I have experienced will allow me to have understanding for another heart that might be struggling, floundering, lacking ambition. He has given me the ability for compassion and empathy. 

My personality lends itself to internalizing and forgetting the other hearts out there that I could touch. I often jump to conclusions and assume about others. Sometimes I don't even see it all. Kinda like I have my heart in the grey clouds of self. This I have struggled with and probably it is the one thing that will keep my humble. I have to ask God to help me. I want to reach another soul. I want to touch another heart. I want those hearts to see His goodness. I want them to feel the clarity and direction. He is the Light of the world. 

These past few months I have been trying to discover what my gifts are, given by the Holy Spirit. God has placed it within me, that there is an urgency and that my life cannot go on wasted. He has asked me to make a difference, to be the difference in others' lives. It has been a week since He has called me out on this. What I am discovering is not necessarily that He wants me to use my photography skills or my ability to sing. I often wondered why He never convinced me on photography or gave me a strong impression that singing was it. Someday it all may change, but for now I feel He is calling me to... write. I have felt it a long time, but not till now do I really understand that I cannot waste a moment or a day. 

Reaching the heart. I have yet to comprehend the mechanics and logic behind this action. What I do have is that I am a human, with a mind. A heart. That I understand. Let the Holy Spirit lead.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Blossoms of Light

I decided I was going to get down to business. Forget that show I was watching and take life by the reins. It disgusted me really. After much time spent unwinding my distracted soul (I have moments frequently) I opened to the book of Hebrews.... 

Like a light in my world, I was fading. Searching for something out there I could touch and breathe, I wanted a passion. They say everyone has a talent, but I wasn't sure how I reslly fit in. I have read the advice given by creatives. That is what they call them now, not artists. I guess it leaves room for open boundaries. They talked about not focusing on other creatives and their abilities. It all said to hone in on your own vision and passions. I still had no idea what this meant for me. 

Have you thought about the symbols used by God? He visually takes you on a journey of discovery throughout the Bible. Whether it is through parables, visions, prophets, or actual structures. His holiness and wisdom far surpasses our ability to understand, so He comes to our level with metaphors and pictures. I find this quite fascinating and sort of like a puzzle.

I wanted to understand the tabernacle in the wilderness scene a little bit more. I thought that if I was going to understand salvation, I was going to have to take this by the ears and dissect carefully. I wanted to know what each piece of furniture meant. I wanted to know what God was saying to me through His visuals. There was the sacrificial altar, the laver, the table of show bread, and altar of inncense. All of them spoke to me about what God is and was doing for me. What got my attention though was the candlesticks. Made completely of pure gold, branches with seven bowls of olive oil to light the room, and almond blossoms.... what? I don't remember any blossoms. Why did no one tell me about these? Molded around the bowls of light were these flowers that I had no idea existed.

Ya, it all sounded extravagant and detailed. I read over and over the description in Exodus trying to understand. My thoughts wondered and I thought, "why did God put almond blossoms on a candle stick?" "of all things in nature this is the one thing that shows up? Besides the lamb and goat of course." I was intrigued. Then I really started spinning my brain, I thought "where else are there almond blossoms in the Bible?" "what can I learn about them?"

I googled almond blossoms and found that in Hebrew it means "to hasten" or "waken". I read on and also found that almond blossoms show up in the dead of winter on bare tree branches. I felt the promise and positivity ringing in my heart. I saw the struggle to survive despite the cold. I could see the color shining in the bleakness of doubt. I understood then that God was talking about a flower that is alive and ready despite the dead life of winter. Wow. But wait there is more.

The candle sticks also have something special about them. Made of one talent of solid pure gold they represent how we each are given an equal portion of time. That time, once given in complete submission to God, must be spent where He desires and for what He is aiming to accomplish. This I found at the back of my study Bible and I wanted to understand where this idea came from. I thought about the fact that almond blossoms also show up in the story of Aaron and how God chose him to be the high priest. The elders of the people and those on their side had just challenged Mose and Aaron's positions. Their jealousy and desire to take on some of the responsibility led to trajedy and they were all swallowed up into the earth. 

At this point God had several men provide their staff and wait for a sign from Him as to who should be the high priest. The next morning Aaron's rod was covered in blossoms and almond nuts. I used to think this was just some supernatural sign, nothing more. But God goes on to tell the people that they need to keep the staff in the Ark of the Covenant as a reminder. They should never forget that only God can designate responsibilities of His importance. Only He can call who he wants. We cannot stand back and wish for someone else's position or talent. We must wait on God for our OWN position and responsibility. We have no idea what is more important than the next.

My mind at this point was going wild. Here were two examples placed on the almond blossom that would help define our responsibilities in this life. It helped me discover my purpose and focus. The world can go on and tell me that, yes, we cannot focus on everyone else and their abilities. But as a Christian I have a second level in this position. Not only should I not desire someone else's ablities, I should only be focusing on what God wants me to do for Him. Not on my own needs and desires. Die to self, Paul calls it. 

In this age of selfish ambitions I cannot stress more about how we should really be looking to God for guidance. I still do not know exactly what God wants me to do to further His kingdom, but He has put a fire in my soul that wants to develop what I individually can offer. I am a vessel, a light in the darkness, a witness and a like a city on a hill. While I have been sitting around wallowing in my own complaints and pains, God has been trying to tell me that I too can be different and draw all men/women to Him. 

Oh, and along with those almond blossoms are the bowls of olive oil. That is a whole other conversation. Let the Holy Spirit lead you.