The Bumpy road to Holy

I Believe in God.  I Believe in his Son, Jesus.  I believe He came to save me, and I feel like I’ve been working pretty diligently at trying to figure out what I am here for and how I can help others.

And yet, I am a Hot Mess.

Despite prayer, burying myself in Christian podcasts, trying to go to Church and dragging my family with me, I’ve yet to figure out what peace feels like.  By 8:01 a.m. after getting the kids off to school, and sometimes sooner, I’ve already wanted to strangle my children, have probably cussed (ok, definitely have cussed), and have questioned my purpose on earth at least 3 times – not to mention my worthiness to walk the planet or to be a mother.

I get back down on my knees and pray again (or just sit on the toilet and want to weep.)

I’m a tough case.  I started at an early age as a picker-of-locks and a fairly good thief.  I lied about everything, even when I didn’t want to lie.  I was a miserable kid, felt like I never measured up or fit in, and it set the tone for much of my early adult life.  My coping style was to try and fake being like everyone else, becoming a mimic to try and fit in.

It left me empty.  It left me angry. I was angry at God.  I blamed Him for making me different and so utterly unprepared to be happy or to succeed in this world.  Maybe I’m still blaming Him or resenting Him for my struggles even when I know better.

Dear God.  I want to love You.  I want You in my life.  I know my life has gotten immeasurably better since you came into it: that I am still sitting here today is a testament to that.  If I harbor hatred or resentment, I ask you to remove it.  Help me.

And if you can send some Angels over my house to help protect and keep the rotten out, and maybe help me remain sane for one more day, that would be very much appreciated.

 

 

 

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Jesus Take the Wheel… Before I hit a wall

There are days that feel…so big.  Giant-seeming problems without fixes, fears without a foe to focus upon, and massive feelings of helplessness and sadness even when you feel like you’re really trying to do everything right.

It’s 10 times worse when it’s about your kid.

I can stomach most things if it’s about me.  But my little son, all of 4 years old, has a nasty rash and bumps that won’t go away, can’t hear out of his ears right now, and I’m now hearing from his teacher that maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to hold him back a year before attempting kindergarten…while waiting to see if he’s going to need another ear tube surgery (which would be his 3rd in 4 years).

My emotions are all over.  My brain is all over – looking at what it would take to move to a different district, what might moving to the public school might change, what could fix his rash, what are we going to be able to do about his ears, why haven’t I changed pediatrician a before now…

Not necessarily creating a mountain of a molehill but a large vortex of pain and fear and anxiety and helplessness.

Dear Jesus, take the wheel.  I know not where to go or think, I don’t know what the next steps are, but I trust you do.  I will walk in peace and faith today knowing if I take that step, all the rest will follow.

Thank You God.   

Start looking up, not down.

It’s easy to get discouraged.  If I were brutally honest, I can go from okay to completely bummed out in a very short period of time if I am not vigilant in guarding my thoughts.

I literally need a hall monitor for my brain.

Here’s a trick I’ve learned: look up, not down.

Look up at the things you love, look up at the things you’ve been given, look up at every single positive and good thing that God has put in your path today: got up?  Great!  Remembered to brush your teeth?  Thank you God, that I have teeth to brush!  Showered? Thank you God, that I have adequate water in which to bathe – was the water hot?  Hallelujah!  Have a job to go (no matter what it is) where they pay you enough to afford food and shelter?  Lord, I am infinitely Blessed.

Feeling unloved or alone?  Look up…at the cross.  Don’t feel guilty, don’t feel sad.  Feel, instead, amazed that someone loved and valued you so much that He Gave Up His Life for yours.

(Yeah, okay.  I always get a little teary still.  I know I’m not worthy.  I know I didn’t deserve it.  And I’m still un-learning that God’s love has anything to do with what you’ve done or what you have.  That’s the human, broken down sinner mentality I’m learning to shake off in favor of the “yeah, I’m not perfect but God still loves me where I stand” one.)

We choose which way to look in every moment of the day – head and not the tail, heavens and not our feet.  Only one of those choices will keep us on the right path and help us to create everyday joy in our lives and appreciation for all that we are and have.  Yes, life is difficult at times.  We have challenges and crosses.  We can’t change anything but our own perspective and vision…but when we do, we have the power to transform our world.

Help me Lord, to always look up to keep life from pulling me down.

love2

 

 

Dropping my cross…and cussing.

I’ve been trying pretty hard this week to carry my cross like a good girl…and failing miserably.  Sometimes I get a few steps ahead but mostly I just keep tripping on it. 

My week has been crazy.  Dealing with medical issues, my son’s ear infection and hearing issues, going to the ER for something that was my own fault, being unable to use my own hand or work out, feeling behind at work …and finally today more medical news that while nothing serious is just super frustrating and brought me to tears.

None of what happened was earth-shattering, just a bunch of random disappointments and hurdles and the kinds of things that built up on one another, leaving me feeling sad and suffocated and stuck.

I kinda doubt Jesus dropped the F-bomb and cried like a baby when he met with bad news and obstacles…even if he wanted to do so.  It’s probably no huge  surprise that I am a far bigger whiny baby than the son of God. 

Some weeks just beat us down until we don’t want to get up. 

It is tempting to stay in that place.  It is tempting to wallow.  It is right there that we become most vulnerable to our own thoughts, and the light and faith feels a little dim in the shadow of the doubts that can creep in.  It’s a scary, isolating darkness that finds its way between the chinks between what we think and what we choose to try really hard to believe. 

It’s also tempting to try and push it off – distract ourselves from the thoughts, pretend we’re not feeling kind of awful or weak.  Personally I find on top of everything else that I feel shame for feeling so bad over things that I know to be small in the grand scheme.  

All of a sudden as I write this In my head I’m picturing Jesus sitting next to me on my stoop of sadness, cross propped up on the wall waiting with me.  He knows I’m weary; He’s patiently waiting there with me so I know I’m not alone. And He will be there beside me when I am ready to get back up.

Thank you God, for that vision that I swear wasn’t there a moment ago and didn’t exist until I started writing.  

  Thank you for allowing me to rest and be human and for your patience and love.

And thank you for my cross that is so tiny and the willingness to try again…

and in advance for forgiving me my weakness and my terrible potty mouth.  

Amen.

  

Awkward but Unashamed…

“Who do YOU say I am?”

I do not write about God much, though in truth I write about Him all the time.

I use other words.  For instance, when I say “Higher Power, Spirit, Universe etc.” what  I really mean is God.  When I say that I use affirmations, frequently those to me are really prayers.  When I say that I meditate, I’m really saying that I’m trying to shut up long enough for God to be able to talk to me.  (I fail miserably at this and wonder at times how God manages to get through at all.)

I try to write for my specific audience, and to put my thoughts into terms that will most likely reach them on some level.  Most of my writing is business writing, and geared toward life and career coaching.  I write a lot of articles for LinkedIn: all of them are really focused on career and personal development, positivity, creativity, faith and any of the more spiritual stuff I try and couch into other words…even if in my heart they all eventually come back to God.

Really, it all does…I mean, the big everything.  I’ve noticed, though, that if you start using  scary religious-sounding words, people tend to back away.  It’s intimidating.  It can be uncomfortable.  And without knowing your audience, it can be tremendously awkward.  I don’t know how I will be taken, or if people will see something that looks too “Jesus-y” and run if that’s not their thing or something they want to look at right now.

Lord knows I was one of those someone’s for a long time.

Half of the reason I started this blog was that I wanted the freedom to speak about Jesus, to talk about Mary, and to say that for me, whenever I am talking about that universal love or power, or the source of all creativity and goodness, I am talking about God…but it’s nice to be able to use the words.

For me it’s an inescapable conclusion that the source of everything and anything is a power more vast than my limited comprehension or understanding.  I don’t really care who you worship or what you call that power. I don’t care if you are a Buddhist or a Naturalist or a Catholic.  For me, those are just different hats attempting to imperfectly to fit the same thing.

I am not ashamed.  If anything, I am awkward.  And I really want to believe that too, though there is a part of me that feels some guilt that if I am not shouting from the rooftops “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior” that maybe I am hiding.  Maybe I am pulling a Peter. Maybe I am denying Christ?

I hope to God I’m not. 

But I feel like if everything for me comes from God, I’ve got to believe some of the words I am using also then come from that source.  I’ve been given words.  I’ve been given ideas, and ways to express them.

I’d like to think God speaks to people where they are.  I’d like to think He can use me in the very same way to spread His message and to share love.  I’d like to believe that He too doesn’t much care about the verbiage so much as the ultimate opportunity to reach those that maybe feel a bit iffy about calling stuff “God” and back away from the big “JC.”

My God is way bigger than any names we can give him.  I have to believe my God is therefore way bigger than my awkwardness and my weakness and can use those too.

Dear Lord: Let me be authentic and honest.  Let me stand up in faith.  Work in my words, and help me to understand how better I can serve.  Make me brave.  Make me strong.  Take my fragility, and worry of being judged or misunderstood, and use it to Your Good, knowing I’m working hard every day to do better, and to be better.  Amen.

My Daily Bread (non-carb)

How do you start your day?

Mine for years started with a Panic Attack…and dread…and fear.  I would like there with my stomach clenching, pulling myself out of a nightmare typically, and trying to drag myself out of bed when in reality I wanted to hide under the covers.

I. Was. Terrified. Of. Everything.  And mostly, I was terrified I wasn’t enough.

Some that know me from work, and more casually probably wouldn’t expect to see me curled up in the fetal position at the foot of my bed.  But I was, routinely and for years, so overcome with the monsters my own brain created of the world, that I couldn’t find my way out.  I would get up, I would try to do my job, try to be a great mom, and live my life, but internally and mentally, I was running from the negative thoughts that chased me through my day.

Mornings though, were always the worst…because all those fears chased me straight through my dreams into the terror of the day.  Mornings meant a full-on confrontation of everything that seemed bad and wrong and scary…and then trying to actually function.

My family didn’t understand it.  My friends tried to understand it…my husband definitely had no idea what the hell was wrong with me or what I was going through, except that whatever it was there was nothing he could really do to help.

It’s taken a lot of time to get here, years really,  but my mornings are different now.  I wake with purpose.  I have a plan.

I start with “Thank You.”  Thank you God, for the day, for watching me through the night, for setting me up for a good day and for watching over my children.  Thank you God that nothing today that happens I will not be able to handle.   I am strong.  I am worthy.  My God is more powerful than anything in front of me today.  My God has plans to prosper me and not to harm me.  Good things are coming.  I am loved.

Before I even get out of bed, I grab some water and my phone.  I immediately open something positive.  It can be an app (I have an app from “The Secret” with daily inspirational messages as well as a Joel Osteen daily app) or a podcast from Zig Ziglar.  It can be a video from my home parish church.  It can be listening to an audio book. I will search until I find something that resonates.   Sometimes it’s even a video of my kiddos.  Whatever it is, even if it is 2 minutes of my morning, it sets the tone for everything else.

Today, honestly, I needed an hour of God…but I know that hour will be repaid.

Here’s the thing.

My fears and worries still stalk me in my dreams, but not as often.  Still, even when they do, I stop.  I change directions.  I Declare.  God, you have the wheel.  Jesus, thank you for walking by my side. I may not see a way but you have a way.   Thank you for changing my heart.

My life is getting better every day.  Yes, I have my difficulties but I choose to give voice and to action to what is positive and what is good and what I can be and become and contribute.  I’m changing my words.  I’m choosing my thoughts.  Sometimes, I have to do it 10 times an hour to get myself on the right track or to even get through, but I am doing it.

Dear Jesus.  Thank you for my Daily Bread.  You’ve become it.  Amen.