One of the greatest gifts I have received in my life is the challenge of becoming a strong, independent female fending for myself. The grind, the hustle; it never stops. Now, I am not saying I am the only one who has it tough: I see you, single Moms. Moms juggling kids and their own College education, Moms of four homeschooling while hubby is grinding all day making sure he has enough to provide for the family. It is exhausting. But one thing is even more so: being single, alone, a small circle, and going home to no one after a long day of battling the daily trials in this dog eat dog world. Alone, with only myself to rely on when I need encouragement, a pat on my back, and a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes I proudly flaunt my strength. And yet other times, I buckle down and cry in the silence of my small world. Broken, afraid, and alone. And I cherish those intimate moments too. Moments with my thoughts and my soul. Meditating on things Higher. That is where I find myself again, and regain the strength to dust myself off and keep moving forward. Here’s to all the strong women in my life and in this world. I see you, I applaud you.
I have made many mistakes in my life
And hurt others along the way
With my insensitivity and lack of the Love I profess.
I am not perfect, I humbly confess.
I am doing my best.
Seeking what is good for my soul,
Purging all the rest.
It Is a process
and God is not finished with me yet.
It is His Grace that keeps me aright,
That lifts me up when I stumble and fall.
If not for His Grace, I would not be here at all.
Only by His mercy, am I fulfilling the call.
In His love toward a wretched sinner
I have a Hope that resides in me
Taking the wrong course terrifies me
I cling to Truth that sets me free
Stumbling along the way
Yet tomorrow is a new day
Renewed in Mercy
Oh Lord, have Mercy
I don’t really want to write this. Perhaps it is because opening up and being vulnerable is new territory for me. That path is unbeaten, fresh, and ready to be walked. Yet I hesitate, for I do not know where it leads. Are there dead ends? Are there monsters lurking behind the corners? The monsters of fear, insecurity, doubt? It is a scary thing; vulnerability. So I will do my best to express my thoughts without fear of retribution.
This morning, I woke up feeling rested, fresh, and ready to conquer the day. I was thankful for a new beginning, a fresh start, and the sunrise peeking through my window. The extra hour of daylight savings as well! What a morning! But just as suddenly as I opened my eyes, and relished in the moment, that moment vanished and was replaced with dread, fear, feelings of failure, and my motivation to get out of bed dissipated as memories of the previous night returned like horrific flashes of light, invading my head space with thoughts of regret and negativity. Suddenly, I did not want to go to church. I began making excuses that I was just unworthy. My actions are hypocritical and I had no right shining out there, while the deeds that I am committing are breaking my Lord’s heart. I was distraught. Yet I got up, and decided that regardless of my state, I will run, run, run to Jesus, begging Him for forgiveness the whole way. I will refrain from sight, from service, and from anyone else because I am an unworthy servant. I will go in, repent, leave, and cry and repent some more.
So with my plan set in place, I head to church, head bowed down, avoiding the glances of people off of the serving team, of which I take great delight in and am honored to be a part of. I try to make my way to the cafe for a cup of coffee, and stop short in my tracks when I see someone whom I felt like avoiding that day, standing directly in the way of my path. I quickly swerved from that direction and headed straight into the congregation, irritated that I could not have a warm cup of fresh brewed coffee that could at least offer some kind of solace to my already shot morning. As I walk into the congregation, I practically run into the serve team gathered around in a circle, preparing for the next service. I thought to myself, “ I cannot bypass these people, it is unnatural and unacceptable”. So I joined in the circle, almost sheepishly, hoping no one would notice the guilt and shame written across my face. I hung out for a moment, almost hoping I could somehow escape. But I lingered, I prayed, I set my belongings down, gathered my name tag, went to get a coffee, and took my post at the door to greet all the incoming worshippers of Christ.
I did not even know how to properly stand. I felt so awkward and out of place. Yet I stood there, and something happened. As if something clicked inside of me, and I decided that I will release all my fears and inhibitions, and just go for it. Just keep on going. So I confidently took my stance, coffee in hand, smile on my face, and greeted incomers with a genuine smile, and a heartfelt “Hello, welcome in”! It was beautiful. It filled my heart. It touched my soul. It changed my perspective, it renewed me.
The rest of the church service, including a conversation I had with one of the ladies that I was serving with, left me overwhelmed with joy and encouragement, and a reminder that yes; the Lord does love me inspite of my flaws. I hide, like Adam and Eve hid in the garden. Yet God: He goes seeking, calling “where are you”? Unrelenting, unwilling to give me up. His Love it surrounded me today. He stopped me in my tracks. I tried to run, I tried to hide. But He did not let me get away. He has a plan and a purpose for me. And only He can make that perfect plan come to fruition. He is a perfect God that is so intimately in love with an utterly imperfect human. I am a beast. I am a worm. The most unworthy of servants. Stumbling through life, begging for forgiveness every day. Wondering when I will stop and be more like Him. Relishing in His love and forgiveness. For only that allows me to forget my past, and move forward.
If you asked me what I am doing, I would tell you I am sitting here being angry. Angry at the laws and rules and regulations that society, culture, religion make for us. How they shape and mold and condition our mind. Predict our future and what to expect, then throw us into the winds of this world, barely able to fly, and watch in disdain when we crash and burn.
No one told me reality has no mold, no law, no regulation, no limit, and no regard for my conditioning. Rather, it threw life into my face; whether I was ready or not. I was completely caught off guard, trying to juggle all the curve balls while maintaining a balancing act upside down, on one arm, with the audience of the whole world watching pitifully as I struggle. And that is a modest picture. But, the show must go on. So what do we do? Who can give us the answer? Or even a clue? What is life? How do I live it without screwing it up even further?
What I have come to realize is that Life is not something anyone can prepare for. Life is a gift. Yet unfortunately, we receive this gift with bias, skewed perspectives, dread, misconception, etc. etc. We blow through our twenties searching for meaning and purpose; while committing the most sins possible, and running on mercy and grace, repenting every Sunday morning. We near our thirties, anxious about the fact that we have not figured life out yet, only to realize; life doesn’t turn out the way we have expected! Life did not turn out the way it was supposed to be, the way we were told! And with tear streaked faces, we slowly come to terms with the realization that we may never receive what’s “expected”. Whatever that is, anyway. We may never figure life out. We may never please culture or religion. Society is always changing its fickle mind. Life is meant for living. In the here. In the now. Day by day. One step after another. This is life. It should be championed. Cherished. Lived! This is what I wish I was told when I reached my 20’s.
Today God came through for me in such a glorious way!I’ve been taking a new bus route to work, faster and smoother, but jam-packed. The past couple of times, I had to stand because there was no room to sit. Anyway this beautiful spring morning, I wanted to wear a dress and wedge heels, and actually look nice (hello, summer!) but the mere thought of going on the packed bus, squished with people, and possibly having to stand in my dainty wedges and pretty green dress nearly deterred me from that route. I was contemplating taking a route further from home-with more walking and stops- but the ride promised to be nicer and more comfortable in a cozy two story bus. Sounds dreamy right? It did to me that early morning as I weighed the options during my drive. I ended up changing my mind last minute and decided to go through with my usual route, and swerved into the park & ride just before I passed it. And also as usual, there was a line. So I was sure that I’d have to be standing the entire hour drive. In line, I realized I didn’t bend my knee in prayer before I left home so I started to say a quick prayer but then stopped short; asking myself why I have to breeze through this prayer like a quick mandatory instruction page. I decided God deserves more of my precious time, and what better things to do but pray while wait? So pray I did. The clock kept ticking, my prayers to God about reserving me a seat on the bus kept traveling upward..and then the moment came when the bus arrived. Perhaps out of dread that it’d be so full, and I’d probably be standing, I didn’t want to look at the bus. I just filed in line right behind the person ahead of me. As the bus got closer to us and finally came to a stop, I glanced over my shoulder, but then had to take a double take! What is this I’m seeing??? My mouth (internally) dropped to the ground, and my world stopped spinning for a brief moment. I had to make myself continue walking in line, awestruck by the two story bus I’ve been longing for this morning standing in front of me; waiting for me to get myself together and get on board! Did they finally get a new bus for this packed route?? Whatever the reason, I climbed those stairs to the top in sheer joy, found a comfy seat next to a sleeping commuter, and sat down in praise. What a glorious surprise. These are my morning with my Glorious Jesus.
I want to start off by thanking my good Lord Jesus for taking me down this path; the path of trials, pain, hurt, confusion, anger at times, tears..and many of them. Loneliness, hurt, discomfort, agonizing moments..humility. I am so thankful. I would have never chosen this path on my own, but I praise the Lord for taking my vow and my prayer when I uttered the words “Forgive me, accept me, make a home in my heart, and become my personal Savior for I am yours”. He took that prayer and molded me into someone that I am beginning to fall in love with. Not because I am becoming more me, but that I am becoming more HIM. The individual of myself that I look back on is someone that is so foreign to me now. The very image I used to hold on to so dearly now causes me to brace myself, before looking back and remembering the life I used to think was good. When Jesus became my personal Savior, He also became my only Friend. Literally. At first, it was a relieving escape. But as the months turned into years..and years into longer years..I began to really feel the agony of being alone. Not only was I alone, I began to find no comfort or satisfaction in confiding in even my closest family. No words could soothe my soul; they simply did not understand my heart’s cry. And that is when I realized that I have no one. And in this lonesomeness, I turned to Christ; who was with me the whole way and was waiting for me at the end of the road. And then began the real test. How far can I go, how long can I wait, how low will I stoop? I have seen myself do things I never would have done in the old “body” so to speak. I have listened in to my thoughts, even into prayers uttered from the deep of my heart that astounded me. Where is this coming from? Who is teaching me these things? I never knew that I knew this! It’s as if a whole new world is being opened up to me. And I realize it is the hand of God, His Holy Spirit leading me, guiding me, and when I stumble and fall; gently nudging me to get up again and keep pushing forward. Forward to His Love, His Hope, and His everlasting Promise.
This path: had I looked only on the surface of things, my carnal self would never have taken it. But this is the path my Creator destined for me, and I could not be happier. For in the straight and narrow path lays joy, blessing, hope, foundation, and rest-beautiful rest, for our tired and weary souls.♥