"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds . . ." Wm Shakespeare

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Lost in this Old World

It’s been a very long and trying year for me. Aside from writing in my journal, I have written nothing and as you can see, there have been no blogs for quite some time. It seems when I am too busy trying to live and unable to stop and think, nothing creative flows. I’m hopeful that in recovery from the latest MVA I will find my creative self back in form, or better than it’s ever been!

I’ve recently been reminded of Miranda Lambert’s song The House that Built Me and it has been an important song for me since I first heard it. The one line that speaks the loudest is > “I got lost in this old world and forgot who I am”. Well in this past year, I got lost in the darkness of this old world of pain, insurance policies and legal processes, and forgot who I am!

Since the MVA, and being abruptly tossed into retirement, I got lost. I lost my identity and couldn’t figure out who I now am. Nothing was as I hoped or planned for my retirement and I fumbled around for this whole past year.

But, I was measuring my identity from a world perspective, the wrong perspective and I needed a reminder of Who my Father is and to Whom I belong.

I’ve recently been reminded that as a Christ follower, our identity isn’t how we normally think it is.

When someone asks ‘what do you do?’,  the answer is along the lines of, “I’m a Mother, an Accountant, Nurse, Cabby, or as I’ve called myself, a PSW”, you name it, that’s how we identify ourselves, beginning with the words, “I AM a . . . . “.

As a Christ follower, it misleads us into forgetting the truth that we are first and most importantly, a son or daughter of God. That is the identity we need to know ourselves as.
Nothing less and nothing more.

Some of you may say I’m splitting hairs, or it’s mere semantics, but I ‘worked’ as a PSW, that’s not who I am. The distinction between the two may be a fine line but we have to be careful to choose our words wisely. It does make a difference, at least it did to me.

My identity hasn’t changed one whit! I still am a daughter of God and that will never change. What I ‘do’ does not affect who I am, it’s just what I do. And thankfully, though I didn't know where I was and felt so lost, I was never lost to God!

So this Journey Girl is on a brand new journey. I have no idea where it will lead to. Well, ultimately I do, but for now, there are no expectations other than putting one foot in front of me, taking one breath at a time, and looking with eyes and heart open to see how each day will unfold into a future I can’t yet see but is surely there. I still may flounder, but I won't get so lost in this world as I have been.

God bless you on your own journey. It’s my prayer you don’t get lost in this old world and forget who you are and that you can dodge the boulders, scale the mountains and find your path amongst the rubble!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Weights & Burdens

We are told not to add to, or take away from the Scriptures, and that is a good and wise thing to remember as we talk to others about God’s truth. 

It serves also as an allegory to the lives we live. 

Let me try to explain my meaning.

We were created innocent and whole, with everything we require to fulfill God’s purpose for us. All that is needed is time to grow and mature in the gifts and talents we were born with. However, as life went on, circumstances and people added to and took away from us, and it is God’s heart desire to restore things stolen, and remove things added.

I think the sins of others against us, and our own sins, are the vehicles the enemy uses to put those burdens and false beliefs on us. Things like distrust, feeling the need to control our lives, manipulation and such, have weighed us down and distorted our lives until we no longer resemble the person God intended us to be. But, not only did those sins add to our lives, they also robbed us of peace, security, and trust in God and others. Those are only a few of the things that belong to us as children of God.

Even though the weights that were added to our lives mostly represent bad and hurtful burdens, they have been our companions for many years, some from our childhood. It is very difficult to think of parting with them. They have become such an accepted part of our lives we find a certain comfort in them and fear letting them go. We fear the void it will leave in our lives and worry what will replace it. 

But, it’s only in letting them go, in giving them to God, that we see how hurtful they were for us, how crippled we had become because of them.

As we are encouraged in Hebrews ch. 12 vs. 1, "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us". 

There is good news though. When we allow God to take away those hurtful things, we find He has restored and given back all that was stolen away. 

It is then we realize we are free, He has saved us once again, and has filled the void with His perfect love. 

It is then we see Him more clearly and are more in love with Him than ever.

There is another 'but' however, and that reminds us that we are to live in community with fellow journeyers. We cannot do this alone, we need those trusted ones to help us, to pray for us, mourn and weep with us and walk with us through that process until they can laugh and rejoice with us in our new-found freedom. 

God bless you as you walk through this life dealing with your own weights and burdens. 

Once again, this is me, Journey Girl, in the process of pushing off those weights and burdens that have kept me from loving God and being loved by God more wholely. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

She Matters

As a PSW I’m privy to a lot of personal information, but I have found that it’s the personal information the client gives me that means the most to me.

I am constrained by law to not divulge the personal health history and diagnosis as well as their name, address & phone number. But, I am apprehended by integrity and conscience to guard the secrets of their lives which they share with me during the brief moments I am with them.

They tell me stories of bygone days, they tell me their youthful hopes and dreams, they share their greatest accomplishments and show me pictures of their family, but what humbles me most is when they tell me their disappointments and fears. They have just let me into that part of their life they may never have told another person.

In the movie Shall We Dance Susan Sarandon tells the private eye guy that marriage is saying to your spouse, “. . . . Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness'."

In essence this is what we are all here for isn’t it? To let every person we meet know that “You matter, I ‘see’ you; your life will not go un-witnessed”.

This isn’t easy in our busy world. This isn’t easy as we are sometimes so focused on our own life that scads of people come and go and we’ve barely acknowledged them or even remembered at day’s end that we’ve even interacted with them in any way, never mind in any meaningful way.

But this is what Jesus did. Think for a moment about those interactions he had as he walked along His daily life. Yes he interacted with many people, but what about Zaccheus, the widow walking behind the coffin of her only son, Mary who washed his feet with her tears and the little children who clamored to be next to Him? What about the man who lay beside the pool with no way to get in when the waters stirred, or Jairus’ daughter who just died?

Jesus didn’t brush them aside because He had a mission to accomplish, the ‘big picture’ of why He came. Jesus took time, in the face of irritated disciples and the pressing journey He was on, to tell those people He met, “You matter to me”, “You are valued” and “Your life has not gone un-witnessed by Me”.

I also think of the ‘neighbour’, a.k.a. the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) who took time out of his busy life to look after the needs of the man who was robbed and thrown by the wayside. Talk about major inconvenience! Time and personal finances were not an issue for the man who witnessed the distress of the man in the ditch. He gave of his resources to meet the needs presented to him, while the others who walked by closed their eyes and chose not to ‘see’ or give aid. The Good Samaritan told the beaten man, “I ‘see’ you, your life has not gone un-witnessed”.

The longer I live the more I realize how important it is to be a witness to another’s life. Many people will come and go as we journey on, what will we do with them? Will we pass them by without seeing them? Will we deal with them as an inconvenience to be dealt with so we can ‘get on’ with our own lives? If you are like me, sometimes you rush through life hardly noticing the people who intersect with your life on a daily basis.
Hebrews 13:2 says Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Not, I think, just strangers but sometimes our own family members with whom we interact often and whom we love. 

We can go on about our day and be so distracted we pay little attention to the people we live with!

Following Jesus is going to be inconvenient. If we belong to Jesus we are not going to get away with being selfish and walking through this life not noticing others. And, following Jesus means being a witness to them that they matter enough to stop and take the time needed. We are going to answer to every life that we didn’t take time enough to tell them, ‘I see you, you matter to me, you matter to God, your life is of great value’. 

Otherwise we will be like the two religious men who crossed to the other side of the road leaving someone physically, emotionally or spiritually bleeding on the other side.

As a PSW I am in their house to meet their physical needs. But as a Christ follower I am also a witness to their lives that tells them they will not go un-witnessed. I have to become aware of them as emotional and spiritual people, not just a physical body I’m helping with. I am also a witness to them of the love God has for them and sometimes I am the only one to demonstrate that love, to witness not just their life, but witness to them of God and like Francis of Assisi said, “Preach Jesus and sometimes use words”.

This is me, an imperfect and simple Girl on a Journey of learning to slow down, take note and be a witness.

Friday, November 6, 2015

We Love Through The Pain

It's 12:35 and I just got home early from my midnight shift. No she didn't die, but the family was staying the night. 
None of us believe she will live through to daylight.
I watched them as they watched their beloved Aunt struggle to breathe, struggle and fight to take a breath and it was a painful thing to watch.
The young man, her nephew, lost it and said he thought he should be used to it by now and he said he wished he didn't feel so deeply. So when he looked me in the eye, boldly *sigh* I took it as permission to speak. 
I told him I think it's ok to feel so deeply because if we don't feel our emotions it means we've closed them off. Basic Healing 101 ya?? We think we can shut off the painful bits of our emotions and just allow the happy ones, but in reality & what we sometimes don't understand, is if we shut off some, we shut off them all; the good, the happy, & the cheerful as well as the anger, pain, & sorrow.
Our emotions are a gift and we share them in transparent vulnerability. We make ourselves available to share with those around us. 
We weep with those who weep and we laugh with those who laugh and we just love everyone who comes along our path. 
Mother Theresa said, "You love till there is pain, you love through the pain until all that's left is love". 
I like that. I think I will put it in my Quote Journal.
God bless you and your emotions as you walk one day at a time.
Girl on a Journey of emotional vulnerability.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Journey into Love

I am a fan of collecting quotes from all sorts of sources with which I have been helped in shaping my understanding of words we often toss around but often with no real meaning attached.

Emily Bronte said; “Bliss like thine is bought by years, dark with torment and with tears”.

If I could characterize the month of October, it would be like this > it was a month of tears; of sorrow and joy, a month of having my eyes opened in greater degree to people around me. It’s been a month of bliss down in my soul spilling out at times good and times inconvenient, spilling out in words and in tears, overflowing from a heart too full to contain either the sorrow or the joy of love.

It was a month of changes; most unexpected, some difficult, some grand but all good.

Things mourned were things that God alone knows the worth right now, but I will reap the rewards in days and years to come. God however, reaps the reward now as there is greater love in my heart, mostly for Him but also to share with the people who are in my life and will be in my life in days and years ahead.

It’s nothing I haven’t known and understood for years, but we all know the value of having our ‘head’ knowledge drop those 18” down into our heart where real changes are made.

Love is to be shared, given out freely, no strings attached, no expectations, just joyfully given. Not given because they deserve it or earned it; not given because I love them or because they love me. Love is to be given, with joy and gratefulness and a full heart because I have been loved with joy and from a heart that is love. It has been given to me with no expectations, given not because I earned it or deserve it, just loved because the One loving me IS Love and He shares it freely and He shares it fully; no matter when, no matter what, no matter . . . . just given.

Mother Teresa said, “You love until there is pain, you love through the pain until all that remains is love”. We who love our own comfort will be uncomfortable with this saying of hers, but it is what real love is about, giving and doing for others at our own expense, if we 'feel' it or not.

William Shakespeare said in Sonnet 116, “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove. Oh no, it is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken. It is the star to every wand’ring bark, whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.”

“Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.” Think on these quotes and you will find that so much of what the world calls love, is not! In a world that turns away and runs at the first sign of personal pain, a world which is characterized by ‘if it doesn’t feel good don’t do it, walk away, live for yourself and do what pleases you.’ A world that falls into and out of love till it mocks the very word and meaning of love. It’s a world that has no idea what the real meaning of love is.

As God the Father, Jesus the Son and Holy Spirit have all loved one another for forever, that is how I will love. As I allow the Triune God to love me in all Their fullness, this is how I will be changed to love. 

Love is what characterizes God, love is what will characterize me.

I am my Father’s daughter.

One last quote by C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket; safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation.”
The only place outside of heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is . . . . Hell.”

I would suggest a great many people are living in their own personal 'hell' far removed from love, either by their own choosing to protect themselves from further hurt or from the actions of others against them. That is a very painful place to be. But it doesn't have to end there because John 3:16 gives us the hope and the promise that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life." A life lived forever in the presence of LOVE, forever and ever and ever.

Here’s to this Journey into love that we are on. Each journey follows a different path but every journey, if we follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, will lead us to the heart of God the Father.
I bless you in this most important journey of your life.

. . . . Girl on her own Journey of learning to be loved and learning to love.
As the Father is, so shall I be!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Train Wrecks, Plans and Choices

Why did I ever think for one moment that just because I wanted a certain life and spent all my time and energies working toward it that I would get it? 

Who does that work for anyway?

Who did that work for in the Bible??

Did it work for Moses who grew up believing he was the son of Pharaoh’s Daughter, but was exiled to the desert? I wonder what his thoughts were as he wandered in the desert those many days?

Did it work for David who was a lowly shepherd and thought that was likely his life’s work?

Did it work for Jeremiah, Joseph, Amos, Paul or any of the other disciples?

Did it work for my brother-in-law who lost the love of his life when she died in her 40’s??

Is it working for anyone? I know it’s not working all that well for me, at least not yet! Nor for a good many people I know.

When you enter into Christendom and take Jesus as your LORD, you basically kiss away the life you planned for, you say goodbye to your hopes, dreams and desires. What you always hoped your life would be, won’t. What you always dreamed of being, of doing, won’t. And, what you always planned for, won’t either.

What you are left with looks nothing like you ever thought it would be.

What you are left with is “the great unknown” and thus you enter a life of faith, of walking one step at a time into that unknown, at least unknown to me.

What you are left with is brokenness, tragedy, hopelessness and despair.

So where’s the hope? Where’s the healing, where’s the redemption in the midst of the tragedies of life?

If you end the story here, well just take me home to heaven now please! But, if you have put your life into the hands of a heavenly Father who loves us and wants what’s best for us, 
 then you, moment by moment, put your hand in His and walk beside the One who said He would never leave you nor forsake you. The One who said He loves you with an everlasting love, the One who has given you gifts and who created you to do good works which He planned beforehand for you to walk in.

He is the One who knows your future, THAT is Who and Where you find your hope! Certainly not in anything of this life.

What you have is a new life, a life of faith which is the greatest adventure you will ever take.

Yes, it’s unknown, but the Guide of the adventure is not unknown, He is the Lover of your soul, the Author and Finisher of your life, He knows the beginning and the end of your days, has counted every hair on your head (even the ones which have fallen out) and He has collected every tear you have ever cried.

This Guide knows exactly each step you will take, what each day will bring and each twist of the path and each boulder that will get in your way. BUT! He will help you navigate the twists and turns and He will help you either climb over the boulders or walk around them.

The thing is, and here's the 'choice' part, we can either sit and bemoan our wretched lives or whine that it’s not what we ever wanted and waste the days set before us.

OR, we can enter into the adventure of a lifetime and look at each day with anticipation and excitement. "What will this day be like?"

We can slip our hand into His hand, keep step with Him (He knows the way after all) or we can walk ahead of Him and trip over something and get hurt, or lag behind Him grumbling and complaining “this isn’t the way I want to go”.

Well . . . . who said we get to choose anyway?? If we trust our lives to Him, then we trust the way He is taking us is the best way. Because He created us, He must know! The God of the entire universe, the God who created everything wants to personally be involved in our lives, lead and guide us on this grand adventure! He is Sovereign GOD, who are we to argue with Him?

Did arguing with God work for Jonah? I believe he sat in the belly of a fish while he argued his point!

Did arguing or thinking he knew best work for King Saul?? Ahhh, nope, didn’t work for him either! 
When the disciple John’s father Zebedee questioned God he lost his voice!

A good many people in the Bible tried to argue with Him, I don’t read where it worked for anyone! 

The thing is, arguing with God doesn’t work for any of us. 
It certainly hasn’t worked for me!

My stubborn self thinks it knows, but is sadly deceived and must daily, or minute by minute, be brought back into trusting that God knows best. 

Ha ha, I just thought of an old TV show I watched as a kid, Father Knows Best!! 
Well in the life of those who have trusted Jesus as Saviour, Father actually DOES know best and that’s what I need to remember.

The enemy of our lives seeks only to steal, kill and destroy. He will do whatever he can to keep us from trusting God as our Father, and his biggest lie is that we can’t trust God. 

He will discourage us every step of the way if we allow him. But hold on tight to the One who gave His life for you, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus for He will not steer you wrong! He gave His whole life to save you so why not trust Him to look after the life He saved?

Just so you know, I wrote these thoughts because I needed to immortalize them for future reference (probably daily) when I am discouraged by my life. 

The truth is, most days when I think outside of God’s love for me, I think of my life as a twisted train wreck and daily I try to remember that He has not forgotten me, that He has not left my side for even a nano-second and He has a plan for my life. A plan for good and not for evil, a plan to prosper me and I need to encourage myself with those, and other truths. 

I need to remember to keep my eyes on Jesus rather than on ME or on the circumstances of my ‘train-wreck’ life and get God's perspective.

God bless you on the journey you are on. I hope that by sharing my thoughts you are encouraged you if you need it but also hope it lets you know you are not alone and we gather strength from each others’ lives when we share our stories and struggles.

Girl on an exciting, adventure-filled Journey with God

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Perspective ~ But God!!

This morning I spent time with a client lady who is 102 years old. She was extremely frail, her spine was bent over and her hands stiff and twistedI watched her slow, seemingly painful walk, legs all stiff and wobbly. I watched how she moved with such care and how she ordered her little place to make it easier for her to do her daily activities. 

My thoughts meandered to Sarah, Abraham's Sarah and how she gave birth to Isaac when she was 90. I'm thinking ~ when you get up there, what's 10 years or so in comparison to my client??

So as I took note of the condition of my clients body, There seemed to be no earthly way this woman could bear a child at such an age.
Consider from the point of conception, there is no way she could grow a child within her and certainly she could not withstand the rigors of laboring to birth that child. Consider also how a woman of such an advanced age would nurture and watch over an infant child, a rambunctious toddler or perhaps a spunky teenager. Looking at her hands or her back, I think 'would they even be strong enough to pick up a squirming, growing child'? 

I confess it makes me tired just thinking of it LOL

Then I thought, this is a 'but God' moment! It's how our wonderfully creative God could take a body that was old, frail and way past childbearing years and birth a nation. 

That old body; new life. 

A used up, frail body the world would have disregarded as nothing useful anymore; new life.

Sarah thought her life was over, she even laughed at the thought of having a baby at her advanced age. I guess she figured, as we would, if she had not conceived oh . . . in her first 70 years or so, it was never going to happen . . . . ah . . . . but God!

I thought of how God was and still is able to do something wonderful and creative no matter how banged up or frail we are. He can make something new come of it. Certainly I must consider how He created the universe, our vastly diverse and beautiful world out of nothing. I think then, all He needs is for us to offer Him our lives, as a sacrifice of praise then stand back, see what He will do and buckle up for an amazing adventure!

When I'm feeling useless or think the best years of my life are past, I need to think about Sarah and wait for my own . . . . 'but God' moment.

God bless you on your own journey of discovery of those precious . . . . 'but God' moments.

Girl on a Journey into abundant and new life!