Dwelling in the Past 

20 years ago my life was altered. It was shattered into tiny pieces, some getting lost along the way. My Poppop died 20 years ago after a battle with leukemia.

I remember where I was when I heard the news, alone. I was downstairs trying to hold it together. I swollowed the sadness and held it in, even though I wanted to just run away or even die myself.  My life was ruined. I was only 10 years old. 
You see I walked the journey with him. I held his hand has he fought the cancer. I went to most doctor visits and always was there with him in and out of the hospital. If no one was allowed to go, I was the exception. Yet, I couldn’t save him. I couldn’t fight it for him as much as I wanted to. 

I saw every up when the cancer would go into remission and he acted like himself again. I got so hopeful every time. And every time I would be heartbroken when I saw him getting worse. I remember being so angry at God for not healing him. 

I saw every low when his flesh became so pale, his skin so cold. I remember seeing the look on his face when he knew we would never see each other again. I remember that last hug he gave. I didn’t want to let go. 

Poppop died a few days after I last saw him. We were taken out of town to see other family. Honestly, it probably was on purpose so we didn’t see him die literally before our eyes. 

I still remember thinking his death was my fault. I took the blame and shame onto myself. “If only I…” just kept repeating in my head even though I knew I couldn’t stop the cancer.

Today I went back to a place where he underwent his cancer treatments. It was a very freeing experience. I wasn’t there for mourning, I wasn’t there to have the memories flood. I was there for a friend. I was there because it’s where God brought her to undergo observation and where God ultimately led me to. It’s no coincidence that God brought me back to where I lost myself over 20 yeas ago.  

God always has a plan, even if the outcome isn’t in our best interest. My Poppop might have died. I might have lost myself in that and defined myself by that, but it makes me no less of the person I am today because of that.  

I wouldn’t be who I am if I never went through the storm. So I can sit here and try to say a part of me died that day but really it was God ultimately using that to define my path and my story.  God’s not done with me. He’s not done with you. 

Meeting you at the point

In Genesis 22, Abraham was to sacrifice his son after God told him to do so. But the beauty is when they go to altar, God showed up. God had Abraham free his son and provided a ram to be sacrificed in his place. God met Abraham in the place after he placed a calling on him and Abraham was following through.

God will meet you where he called you, just not on your timing. I’ve been struggling with faith, I’ve been struggling on whether this life is what God has called me to do, I’ve been struggling with connection with God, I’ve been struggling with a relationship with God. It’s been rough. It’s been battles with the enemy, internal struggles and some very dark days. God promises me he will never leave me nor forsake me. He promises he will always love me and he is working all things for good for those who love him.
But I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to hear the goodness of God. It was as if I put myself in this box and the enemy decided to trap me in there and tried convinced me that God had forgotten me, and repeatedly told me if he truly called me then I wouldn’t be going through this pain. But all this time, God was out there telling me to hold on because I had to endure this moment to get to where God wanted me but I couldn’t hear him over the words of the enemy. I was right where the enemy wanted me, trapped in my own thoughts.

But I was set free. You see there was this moment I had to pull over and allow tears to just flow down my face and be broken before God. At this very point was the point at which God met me. I yelled. I screamed at God. But a peace had come over me. It was in that moment that I knew I was free and all I had to do was let go. 
God will meet you where he wants you. Today I walked into church with more happiness and joy than any Sunday over the last few months. I got to serve Jesus today and for that I am thankful. 

The Mission

Imagine what life would be like without the device you are holding. What would life look like?

What would this life look like without social media?

What would life look like if weren’t trying to get that perfect shot?

Sadly, we will never know. Social media is a way of life. It’s not a fad but a way for us to “connect”, or brag about our lives to other people. It’s a way for us to share our views and hide behind a screen. It’s one of the ways we can spread the Gospel. It’s one way we can share the good news of Jesus. Yet, we would rather share an inappropriate post, take a selfie, and/or share our opinions about fad topics or politics.

Now let’s image life with social media, but with every person who calls themselves Christian, sharing and reflecting Jesus in their post, actions, and interactions. How would social media be different, sure you may get some blocked people for being that “crazy Christian”, but for the four or more other people who may have been having a bad day who read your post, maybe you planted a seed or watered one.  Maybe you made their life just a tad bit better because they saw something in you, the Light. 

This may never happen. But imagine what God could do through us if we all aligned with his mission and lived it out personally, socially, and corporately. If we lived out God’s will and not our own. If we aligned our hearts with God everyday, not just when it’s convenient or when there’s someone else to see you do it.

Reflect God in your everyday life. Let the light weave through your posts. Because it is only then when people learn about new life in Christ, it’s where they learn that there is a God who loves them unconditionally, it’s where they learn that they are not alone in this world, it’s where they learn who Jesus is and what he died for.

Love your neighbor… even if you don’t always agree.

Unintentionally Intentional Ignorance

Today during the sermon, I began to question whether or not I was intentionally avoiding connection with God or if it was unintentional.

There’s this saying that is “You will set time for things you want to set time for” So if you don’t make God a priority are you intentionally avoiding connection with Him?  You could argue both sides. However, I believe at least for me, it’s  unintentionally intentional. Meaning that at first I unintentionally placed God on the back burner. I unintentionally allowed my time with Him to be put aside, but as time marches on you get to a point where you recognize it, but instead of acknowledging it and setting time aside, you continue ignoring it and it becomes a pattern in your life.

Why do we get to that point? Why do we let it become a pattern?

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the only one who struggles with this whole connection thing. Maybe it’s just me who feels broken and tries to hide it and hide from it. I mean seriously if I don’t talk no one will know right? If I don’t say anything no one will know that I’m secretly struggling with my connection with God, if I don’t say anything no one will know that I struggle with loneliness, no one will know that I struggle with worthiness, no one will know that I struggle with accepting any compliment as genuine, no one will know that I struggle with relationships, no one will know that I am a complete mess and completely broken.  Hiding prevents the light from coming in and allows for darkness to creep in.

Don’t hide. Don’t be afraid to tell people who you trust in your life what you are going through because God doesn’t want you to go through life alone. God put those people in your life for a reason. Yes, it will be uncomfortable, but God doesn’t grow you in your comfort zone. You are allowed to struggle. You are allowed to not be okay in moments. You allowed not to be perfect. Don’t let your sinful self be what’s holding you back from your connection with God.

So if we don’t make God a priority  we will lose that connection. We lose our ability to keep fighting, because we aren’t allowing God to provide our strength, we only rely on our own. God has amazing plans for your life, you just have to be able to make Him a priority again in your life. Let God be your King of your life again, let Him be God again.

Harden Heart

I was flipping back and saw this old picture of myself…

 
I was 19 at the time. I was immature. I was dark. I thought I knew it all. I thought I was a nobody. I thought I wasn’t worth anything.

These lies I remember telling myself over and over again. I’m worthless. No one likes or loves me. No one even cares. 

But the problem I have found its not that no one does, it’s because I didn’t allow them to. I closed myself off from anyone who had a glimpse of possible hurting me, and it all started in childhood.

Growing up with a mother who loves me dearly but a father who was barely home and said horrible things when he was around. But all I wanted was daddy’s love. 

So I inadvertently gave up all together. I fought my mom about not wanting to get out of bed, I didn’t want to face the world of harsh and nasty people. I even failed a grade because of it. 

Through it all, I lost Tanya. I lost the girl I used to be before my heart became stone.  I lost communication with world. I lost the ability to communicate. In groups I wouldn’t take charge or hardly communicate because the lies people I loved just played over and over in my head. I was the “quiet” one. I was the one no one noticed because it was easier for me to not talk and not be noticed then to have to bare the chance of being hurt. It wasn’t worth it, because I felt I wasn’t worth it.

One day my parents found a poem of mine talking about death and taking my own life. It’s the only day I remember as a kid when my parents both told me they loved me and they were sorry for ignoring me and for everything I’ve been through. Life didn’t change much after that, there was more people tiptoeing around the truth that made me feel more unloved.

I say all of this because 10 years ago I was still that little girl. I didn’t mature from the point at which my heart harden, which was around the age of 10. I simply grew in age and the voices in my head just grew stronger.

It wasn’t until I allowed Christ to soften my heart did anything even begin to change. He began to work in me through the Word and he began to replace the lies I tend to tell myself. I still hear them today, I still battle this but the more I replace the lies with God promises the less and less I hear the lies. The more I see the core of who God made me and it’s beautiful.

I am a flawed person and it’s okay not to be perfect. It’s okay to think what comes to mind and not everyone will judge you. It’s okay to open your heart and to let people in. It’s okay to be me and there is no one better to play the role of me in the story God has already written for me. 
 

More Like Jesus

I’m wrestling with decisions and battling on whether or not I’m letting my personality be the cause of it all.  I avoid conflict. 
I hide everytime there is conflict. I don’t want to face it, let’s be honest, it’s never plays out to the dramatic story line that over plays in my head, it’s normally, “What can I learn from this?”, or that’s my interpretation of it because I don’t like to stay stagnant, I like growth. Problem, with growth, you tend to have face conflict of some sort. Also the problem is when you don’t face conflict, you superimpose your own brokenness on them. Sometimes they aren’t mad, but you assume. Let’s be real, sometimes you don’t even cross their mind, seriously.  
I have a problem with avoiding conflict, mostly because conflict in my house growing up was not subtle. It was loud. It was dramatic. It was unnecessary. But I still avoid it because I don’t like feeling that way certain people did in those moments.  Civil conversations are hard for me if it’s over conflict. 

I could sit here and nitpick my past saying where I learned these qualities and traits about myself. Here is the thing, I may have a certain personality “type” but I do have Jesus and my past is dead. I am made new in Jesus. 

So should I avoid conflict? Absolutely not.  Is it part of my personality? Yes. Does it define who I am? No. Just because a computer generated personality test stated who you are, you don’t have to let it define you. You now know your weaknesses, work on them, grow in them. 

I am blessed to know what areas in my life right now that I struggle with. I can either grow and learn from it or I can just accept it and live with it. God doesn’t want me to accept it as my final answer , we are to be like Jesus. Jesus did not have weaknesses. He is perfect. If we accept it as who we are, are we not just simply stating that we refuse to be anything else, and refuse to be like Jesus? 

Let’s be more like Jesus, striving to the idea that grace and mercy wins above all regardless negative thoughts , possible outcomes or conflict. 

I’m opting to learn and grow. I’m opting to be more like Jesus. 

#Ihaveissues

Tonight I literally sat in service at a church I’ve been watching for a few years online. Tonight was one of the hardest messages I’ve heard, maybe it was impact of the message of being at the church or maybe I was SUPPOSE to be there and the Holy Spirit just spoke clearer than watching it online. Either way, God had his hand in every aspect of the message that was delivered to me.

First off, the message was titled, “Hidden Issues”.  Issues that I’m hiding from, not you but me. What am I hiding from, & what am I hiding behind, were the questions asked. My self inclined  reaction was nothing, I’m not hiding, everyone knows everything, right?  Wrong.

As Pastor Steven was preaching my insecurities, my fears, my self-doubt, my reactions to things, how I personally respond to situations that I tell no one about just started playing over and over in my head. I was hiding. My selfishness and self centered ways showed off its ugly head this evening.

My issues go all the way back from early childhood. It’s not my family’s fault. I can blame them but the reality of it all, it’s my own fault to be holding on to things  that I don’t even realize I hold on to. My issues are my issues, it’s not their burden to carry. 

I have to get over my ownself. I have to literally spend time with God away from all the distractions in this world, and just be one with my father. I’ve been longing for this for so long, I can do it for a few moments but then everytime I get distracted, I reconnect, I put my focus on anywhere but my Father 

I recently took that jump, I trusted God, and quit at the time my only income source, my job. I felt God was calling me to, but I quickly forgot as to why. Where there may be several reasons, the number one reason was my relationship with my Father was struggling. I told my pastor that all I was doing was working, and I get inclined to do so, I loved my coworkers and why not bend over backwards for them? It’s who I am, it’s who God made me. But here’s the thing, it started destroying the very thing that I hold as an anchor in my life, my relationship with my Father. So what won there my gifts or my Father? My Father ultimately got the way, and I quit my job. But it stopped there. 

I prayed but not the extent I should. Recently, I was asked “What is God telling you to do?”. I couldn’t answer it. I didn’t know because I was focusing so much energy to my freedom that I neglected to remember why God called me out of my job to begin with, to build up and mend my relationship with him, so that I can do and serve with gifts he gave me to better His Kingdom, to live on mission with God. 

So when I say, I need to get over myself, and have that personal time with God, I do. I have to get over me because I know for fact I am what is holding me back, no one or nothing else.