Monday, March 29, 2010

Getting Needs Met


The following is taken word for word from my daily devotional "The Language of Letting Go" by Melonie Beattie. I hope it encourages and inspires you, like it did me.
Getting Our Needs Met
"Picture yourself walking through a meadow. There is a path opening before you. 
As you walk, you feel hungry. Look to your left. There is a fruit tree in full bloom. Pick what you need.Steps later, you notice that you are thirsty.
 On your right, there is a fresh water spring.When you are tired, a resting place emerges. When you are lonely, a friend appears to walk with you. 
When you get lost, a teacher with a map appears.Before long, you notice the flow: need and supply; desire and fulfillment. 
Maybe, you wonder, somebody gave me the need, so I would notice and accept the gift. Maybe closing my eyes to the desire closes my arms to the fulfillment.Demand and supply, desire and fulfillment-a continuous cycle unless we break it. All the necessary supplies have already been planned and provided for this journey."

Authenticity



What is authenticity?

Dictionary.com defines the word "authentic" as: "not false or copied; genuine, real."

What is authenticity? I'll tell you what authenticity is. Authenticity is admitting that you don't have it all together, and that life really isn't that great right now. Authenticity is being willing to appear weak, vulnerable, and broken. Authenticity is honesty at the core.
Why do we ditch the concept of authenticity? Could it be that the variable of what could happen if we allowed ourselves to be "not false or copied; genuine, real" is far too much for us to face?

Not allowing ourselves to be authentic is giving way to fear. It is giving unwanted power to negative experiences, thoughts, spoken and/or unspoken words. It is believing that being "safe" is far more rewarding than risking losing your mask, and blowing your own undercover mission.
Sadly, many people have never experienced authenticity. It was never modeled, and they were never taught. They spend their whole lives thinking that they are not good enough, and that in order to be good enough, they must accomplish x, y and z. They don't know that being themselves is the most freeing thing that they could ever imagine, or experience.
Sometimes we need to "hit bottom" in order to gain authenticity, and sometimes we need the pain to be so deep that not embracing our authentic selves in more painful than hiding her in a corner.
And sometimes, we shun authenticity. As humans, we have a tendency to to reject people who are authentic and honest. The saddest part about this statement is that, as a result, we miss out of being apart of somebody's life. As the song by "Casting Crowns" goes "You can't see past the scarlet letter, and you've never even met her."



As we are about to enter Holy Week, I can't help but think about how authentic my Jesus is. He demonstrated the ultimate of authenticity when He died a death of absolute irony. I say that it was irony, because although it was horrific in a way that we can't comprehend,it was beautiful. Why? Because it was authentic.


Flogged, spit on, kicked, hit and nailed. Nothing to hide, no pretenses, no comfort present. He knew who He was, and He knew why He was there, and He embraced it.



Saturday, March 20, 2010

What is Hope?



After sleeping in for the first time in a very long time on a Saturday morning, I awoke to the sunshine creeping through my window blinds. I was thankful to actually feel better, as I thought that the flu bug had actually taken me hostage. It has been a long time since I've had the "recharging" time of staying in my Jammie's, lying in bed, drinking my coffee and connecting with the Lord and those that I love.

This week was full of hope. On Wednesday morning I found out that I will become a full time employee at Twin Rivers Senior Campus after my graduation day on May 13th. I then received affirmation from somebody that caused me to smile all day long, and gave me the sheer desire to drive through the country side with my windows down, singing songs at the top of my lungs.

On that day, I put on three parties for my residents, to which they all turned out beautifully. It was a time where I felt the level of respect from my co-workers go up several notches as they watched me engage the residents in the program, saw the entertainment that I had arranged and all the fine details that fell into place. My boss put me on the spot to share "Danny Boy" with the residents, to which they cheered and cried, and then was reminded that this is where God wants me to be....right here, right at this time.

I then was asked by some new friends ( who were the entertainment for the party) to join them for dinner. The conversation was uplifting, hopeful, affirmative, and the long Island Ice tea totally hit the spot. To add to that hopeful day, the Lord used my life story and personal struggles and triumphs, to encourage and minister to the heart of somebody else.

Then yesterday I had a dear friend take me to dinner, and I shared with her what was on my heart. She listened, affirmed, and committed to pray about what took place in our conversation. This whole week has been a very powerful reminder of the fact that God is in control, that His timing is perfect, and that when we fully let go and trust Him, beautiful things happen.

And do you know what is so incredible about this truth? The beautiful things that happened as a result of trusting Him isn't necessarily an external thing. When we let go of our internalized fears, anxieties and pain, WE become beautiful. Our perceptions change, our spirit lightens, and all of a sudden we feel like we are on a ferry ride down the river, rather then sinking on the Titanic.

Flash forward to this morning. As I opened my devotionals, I was blown away by each of the daily topics. The first one was "Releasing" and the second one was "What is Hope?"

This blog entry is getting long, but if you are still hanging in with me at this point, you will more then likely read the rest of what the Lord has laid on my heart.


Releasing


"Let fears slip away. Release any negative, limiting or self defeating beliefs buried in your subconscious too. These beliefs may be about life, love or yourself. Beliefs create reality.

Let go. From as deep within as your fears, resentments and negative beliefs are stored, let them all go. Let the belief or feeling resurface. Accept it; surrender to it. Feel the discomfort or unrest. Then let it go. Let new beliefs replace the old. Let peace, and joy and love replace fear.

Give yourself and your body permission to let go of fears, resentments, and negative beliefs. Release that which is no longer useful. Trust that you are being healed and prepared for receiving what is good."- Melody Beattie


What is Hope?


"I wonder if it's possible to fully describe hope or how it feels. I know hope feels bigger then my ability to hold it inside without becoming airborne. It activates fresh shipments of blood, energy and gratefulness that seem to surge with holy force. Hope seems light like a wisp of down on a soft breeze; it's sparkling clean like a new sky after a spring rain. Hope is a baby's coo, a toddler's first step, a prodigal's return.

Wait... oh, now I'm getting it: Hope is an infinity pool that has no boundaries. It can't be limited to a phrase, a dissertation, or even a heavily volumed library. Hope is eternal, and therefore , beyond us to define. And yet sometimes I can see hope in a life, and when it is there you can spot it, even if you can't touch it or taste it, because hope is palpable.

Hope is definitely an inside job.While we can't pump it up, we know when it arrives. It fills the air with honeysuckle and fresh water. Hope shows us a better way, a higher path, a different perspective. Hope reconfigures our hearts. Redirects energies. We not only pursue hope as a life line, but also hope pursues us. It is the essence of Christ."- Patsy Clairmont


May you all experience the joy of letting go, and hoping in a God that has all of your best interests tucked in His heart.


Friday, March 19, 2010

A Hostess with the Mostest-Currently more Practical than Pretty


Tonight I had the opportunity to host a home business party in my apartment for a new friend and fellow sister in Christ. Pam has been a blessing to me since the first time I met her, along with the rest of my new church family. She has a love for the Lord, a heart for people and a pentecostal style passion for music and worship. Truly a kindred spirit!

After work today, I scoured the bathroom, rushed over to the grocery store for eggs for my brownies and hand soap for the bathroom, and ended up shoving a lot of things into my walk in closet ( which you currently can't technically walk in right now). As I prepared, I began to become painfully aware of the fact that I have a beautiful apartment with very little furnishings, and the only furnishings that I do own are beyond 2nd hand ( more like, 90th hand). As I reached for some clean hand towels, I realized for the first time how faded and worn they are. As I made the brownies, I realized that I only had one pan of the appropriate size, so I had to wait to make the second batch. As I laid out the refreshments, I realized that I don't own pretty dishes, plates or spoons. It was this odd sensation of feeling like a tried and true adult woman, yet feeling like a little girl playing house with her mother's left overs and hand me downs.

As I prepared for the party, I began to dream a little bit. If anyone knows me, they know that I dream quite a bit. In fact, according to the Kiersey Temperament test that I took in my Employment Readiness class, I was coined something along the lines of an "Imaginative Idealist" and then learned the fascinating fact that my personality/temperament makes up only 40% of the population. That certainly explains a lot!
Back to my dreaming. As I fiddled with my mismatched kitchen towels and made a whole pot of coffee, I began to dream about what it will be like when I have a real home to host people in.
Here is what I imagine it to look like:


  • I will have a house with a lot of square footage. Floor to ceiling windows with beautiful navy drapes, hard wood floors, and an area rug that would make a sophisticated statement.

  • A kitchen with a large island, and finished wood cupboards. Matching bowls, plates, and silverware, and an espresso machine. I will have pretty AND practical dishes, for such is life. There are times when life is pretty, and there are times when life is practical. Right now, my life is more practical than pretty... and that's o.k., but I will continue to dream about the day when I can have ( and use) both.

  • I would have a drawer that would hold pretty napkins with different designs. These napkins would be readily available for any party, get together or 1-1 chat with a friend.

  • I would have a large, beautiful oak dining table, with a large vase of fresh flowers to match the seasonal color palette.

  • I would have furniture that was chosen in such a way to make people feel at ease. I would arrange this furniture in a way that would strategically allow for people to connect with one another.

  • I would have one of those glass coffee tables where you can place trinkets, treasures and pictures of who you are, and what is important to you.

  • I will have the best smelling house.

  • I will have a purple bathroom, and everything, down to the hardware on the towel rack, will coordinate.

  • I will have inspirational signs, quotes and paintings that will draw people out, allowing their hearts and minds to be engaged by their meanings.

  • I will always have fresh cookies or rolls on hand.

  • I will always have GOOD coffee on hand... you know, company coffee. Starbucks, Duncan Donuts, etc.

  • I will never be out of tea and hot chocolate....and marshmallows. The big ones.

  • I will always make a point to play instrumental and/or piano music in the house.


Tonight gave me another small taste of how wonderful it will be to serve as a hostess for many different social opportunities. Serving as a hostess is a wonderful opportunity to minister to the hearts of people through loveliness. It is a time to be present, to engage in the hearts of all those who would enter my home. My home will be a safe place. A place where people feel that they can "drop in", and a place that makes them feel at ease in their body and spirit.


I imagine that when one grows up, their dreams take on different forms. I'm ready to start seeing my dreams of being a "hostess with the mostest" come true. But, just for tonight, I was grateful to have the opportunity to pull out the practical, because it gave me an opportunity to dream about the pretty.





Monday, March 8, 2010

Pain

Today I witnessed pain.



It wasn't my own pain, but the pain of somebody that I love. I won't reveal the name of this person, or the total context in order to protect their privacy, but I will reveal what I've learned.


The pain that this person was experiencing was physical, but it was physical pain related to the choices that this person made. Even though the physical pain that this person was experiencing was obvious, what was more clear to me was the emotional pain that the mother of this individual was experiencing.




I'm not married and I don't have any children, so I can't testify to what it feels like to see your child in physical pain. But more so, to see your child in physical AND emotional pain... pain that you couldn't control, but that could have been prevented by your child. Even worse, I can't imagine what it would be like to see your child experience this kind of pain, but allow a stubborn, selfish will and pride to prevent him from getting the answers/ help that he really needs.



It got me thinking about how we as Christians have ( and will) do this to Jesus. He died a horrible death on the cross for His children, and yet there are still times where we still choose to break His heart by ignoring Him, convinced that we can and WILL do life and conquer pain on our own strength, and on our own terms. We use the pain killers of this world: various addictions, relationships and the like, in an effort to cure the symptoms of a rooted issue.


We can be given all the tools out of the "Christian tool box", and still choose to live in stubborn defiance and selfish ambition. And during these times, Jesus weeps. And yet, He doesn't leave. He doesn't become defiant, unforgiving and unloving. He just waits for His children to realize that all of their pain; emotional, physical, mental and spiritual, can be cured by the touch of their Savior's hand.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My Mother, My Hero, My Friend

Today as I opened up my morning devotions, I realized that the date is March 4th, 2010. The first thing that popped in my mind was the fact that March 4th was the day that my mom decided to start her personal journey of the healing process in her life.


Hopefully we all reach those points in our life. That point where we have the "aha!" moment in the grocery store down the frozen food aisle, or after a motivational speaker gives a compelling message. That point where we realize that how we are living our life is not the way that it is meant to be lived. Some people reach that point when they have hit what appears to be rock bottom; that place that you arrive where you think to yourself "This is TRULY the bottom, it surely can't get any lower than this."


Sadly, there are many people who never reach those points in life. Instead they live the remainder of their lives blaming other people and circumstances, living in fear and anxiety, which prevent them from becoming the people that God desires them to be.



My mother is the exception.



I have always viewed my mother as the exception, and maybe I am just a LITTLE bit bias, but I'm o.k. with that. Actually, I know that a personal bias has nothing to do with it. My mother is living proof that with the Lords strength and surrendering to His will, you can do anything.



This year my mother will be graduating from college with her Masters in Speech Pathology, at the young age of 47. Every now and again I like to wear my "Mankato State" sweatshirt, because people ask me "Do you go to MSU?" and I smile, and proudly state "No, but my mother does!".


A few years ago, she graduated with her Bachelors in Speech Disorders. We had a big party for her, and everyone gave her gifts. I wanted to give her something from the heart in an attempt to express how proud, honored and blessed I am to be her daughter. The following is the poem that I wrote for her.



"When life got rough and shaky, and seemed to fall apart, you stepped up to the plate, and gave God your heart.


You didn't quite know then, what His will was for you. But you trust Him fully, no matter what He was going to bring you through.




Instead of giving way to fear, you gave way to hope. You took it upon yourself to become healthy, and helped your kids to cope.


Loving each of your children with patience and compassion so true, you became a single mom and student, never allowing loneliness, bitterness, or pain to get the best of you.


And even on those days when you wanted to give in, you should your kids the beautiful of choosing to remain in Him.



The mountain that was set before you was not an easy climb, but you put your faith in Christ, taking one step at a time.


God gave you a bigger picture, and you allowed that to unfold. He gave you a passion and a purpose, and new stories to be told.




Today you stand with pride and letters behind your name, but there is an even greater achievement that you have to claim.




You have remained strong, and true to who you are. You have not allowed your past to leave a bitter scar. You have raised the standard of motherhood, in far more ways than one. The testimony to prove this is your three daughters and two sons.




The pride and love I feel right now, can hardly be expressed in a simple poem or a special gift. Who you are as a woman of God and as a mother, is something that I can only hope to be.


But by being given the opportunity to be a part of your life, I am finally beginning to see




To see that God is faithful, to see He never fails. To see that even when it rains, God's light of truth prevails. To see that joy and happiness is a choice we have to take, and that fear can never be determining factor in the decisions that we make.




So thank you mom, for all you've done and for all that you've become. Better yet, thank you God, for my mother and for sending us your Son.


For without you we would fail, we are nothing without you.


You are the source of our strength, you are what pulls us through."





These words are as true today as they were at that moment.



Mom:



I love you, I'm proud of you, and I'm so blessed to be your girl.




Love,



Sare