Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Of Bugs and Loneliness...

Job is a book in the bible about a man... named Job. Job was a rich and blessed man who was blameless, upright and avoided doing evil. One day, Satan appears before God in heaven and God boasts about the goodness of Job. Satan tells God that Job is only good because God had blessed him abundantly. Satan challenges God that, if given permission to punish the man, Job will turn and curse God. God allows Satan to torment Job to test this bold claim, but he forbids Satan to take Job’s life in the process.
In the course of one day, Job receives four messages, each bearing separate news that his livestock, servants, and ten children have all died due to marauding invaders or natural catastrophes. Job tears his clothes and shaves his head in mourning, but he still blesses God in his prayers. Satan appears in heaven again, and God grants him another chance to test Job. This time, Job is afflicted with horrible skin sores. His wife encourages him to curse God and to give up and die, but Job refuses, struggling to accept his circumstances...

When people refer to a "Job season" in their lives, it is usually a time where so many things seem to be going wrong that they feel completely under attack or are being consistantly tested.

It is safe to say that today, I felt I had fully entered into my Job season.

I have been trying hard to fight the feelings of loneliness in my life after my last relationship ended. I've been going out with close friends, really pressing into God's word, going on hikes or runs to kill time, learning to cook, and really anything to avoid doing nothing. But to be completely honest, I feel more alone and scared now than I ever have been before. However, at the same time, I feel so abundantly blessed! 
(that doesn't make sense does it?)
I LOVE my career and feel so abundantly blessed God has lead me to this career at my age. I know I would not be there without his guidance and favour. Also, I feel abundantly blessed that I have a new vehicle and an incredible place to live.

So why am I struggling?
I am afraid to admit this fear, but I truly am scared that I'm going to have to do life alone. I am scared that I am not strong enough to handle the speed bumps of life on my own. 
Growing up, I've always had my friends and family, and hitting the teen years it was always a boyfriend that was there for me, protected me, comforted me and was able to kill the spiders for me.

But now, it's just me.

I had an incident I'd rather not re-live right now, but let's just say it involved extremely gross bugs in my kitchen. With no one to help kill them with me, I had to deal with the situation on my own.
After a failed call to my dad to try to get his assistance, and an hour of crying, I braved the circumstance to kill them while praying the entire time.

There is nothing worse than bugs. 
I hate them. I don't know why they exist. They make me really uncomfortable, squeamish and i get scared. Every guy I talk to says "They are just bugs", but any girl would understand that even though they are tiny, they threaten our very existence.

There is a reason why men don;t have the same fears. They are supposed to be able to take on the more difficult things like this to assist us damsels in distress.

Regardless, I braved it on my own and was somewhat successful (with the help from my Heavenly Father).

Two weeks later.... we now have a fly problem. 

After a long day at work, and feeling the effects of a bad cold coming on, I came home to a house with too many bugs for my stomach to handle.

Am I being tested?
Am  I being punished?
What is happening?!

At the very moment in life where I am feeling the most alone, I am facing these circumstances I feel much to weak to face on my own.

But maybe that is the point I am missing.

It is possible that God allows us to face circumstances to make us stronger.
It is possible that he allows us to go through situations to give us no choice but to depend on Him.

I don't really know what is happening, and it seemed Job couldn't explain his pain either, but the bottom line is that I need to TRUST God over anything and anyone else in this world, including myself.

I don't know why I am facing these trials in my life, I don't know how long I will feel alone, I don't know how long I will feel 'stuck'... but I do know that I can Trust my Father in heaven. He knows what He is doing and I am looking forward to looking back to these valleys once I've reached the mountain tops and have a better perspective on why I went through it all.

Trust is the hardest thing when you feel you are treading in dark waters. But I know my Father gave his one and only son to die for my sake, so that I can be blameless in his eyes. that's enough for me to understand the Goodness of God. Enough to understand that He is not out to get me. Enough to understand that God is able to build my character, discipline me, test me, and comfort me when I need his strength.

This blog wasn't planned, nor am I sure it served a purpose. Sometimes when you go through something tough (which may seem like nothing to other people) it's good to formulate your thoughts and talk yourself back into understanding your purpose.

My purpose is not for this earth, but instead for my Father in Heaven. I was created to praise him, to show his love to others, and to be in relationship with him. At the end of this life, these moments won't matter. These fears will pass away. But the most important thing will be my relationship with Christ. And if going through these awful trials of bugs and loneliness bring me in closer relationship with Him..... then I will Trust Him and praise Him in this storm.

And so I stand reminded that through my Job season.... every season changes when it's time has served a purpose.

Thank you Father that I can trust you. Please provide me your strength, as it is made perfect in my weakness... and boy do I feel weak right now. Heavenly father, please help me to rely in you more. Give me strength to face my fears when I have to, and help me to not blame my weakness on the absence of someone else. I may not always understand why I have to face the things I do, but I will trust you and worship you knowing that Jesus was sent to die on the cross for me, a sinner. And that your love covers all my wrong. I know you are not punishing me Father and so I trust that what I face comes from either the broken world, a test, or a way to build my character as a Christian.
I praise you in this storm Father and trust you.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

In Case My Heart Fails Me...

In Case My Heart Fails Me...

I've been feeling these really bad chest pains only on the left side of my body where my heart is. I've gone to the doctor several times and they have assured me my heart is healthy and these pains are "normal". I can't explain the human body or why mine chooses to do this, but it is a nice reminder every time I feel it that all of this is temporary.

It sounds morbid to some, I know, but feeling that gives me redirection to live for the things not of this world but to submit to a higher power. The Father of creation and the saviour of my soul, Jesus Christ.

When the world feels like it is crumbling around me, I will be found in You. And the things of this world will fade, but only God remains. When I regain focus on who matters, the struggles of this life just fall away.

I've been feeling strongly on my heart I need to write down what I would want people to know if I were to ever leave this world early. Now I am in full understanding that my days are counted my by God and he will decide when the right time for me to be with Him is and I take full confidence that whenever that is, His timing is perfect. Whether 70 years from now or 70 minutes from now, I TRUST in Him, fully...

My parents have taught me a lot of things. What to do, and what not to do. Every person makes mistakes, and I have understood this in my parents from a very young age. Their relationship has never been strong, but regardless of the circumstance, they continue to plow forward through the hardships and remain together. We never really say "I'm Sorry" in my household, and that is something that I am learning to now do in my life, but regardless of how much we hurt one another, the storm always passes and we are back to loving one another.
My parents taught me the benefit of little detail.
Let me explain.
As I grow older, I realize that my parents dealt with things that they kept from their children. Whether it be financial issues they are dealing with, or a recent bug issue they discovered. Regardless, they chose with discernment what to keep from us, and what to share.
I am quickly learning in my own life, and my career, that sometimes even if you want to speak about something you know, its more beneficial to keep it to yourself and let it be.

My mother has this passion and excitement for certain things like her TV shows (Y&R, Amazing Race, anything Justin Beiber) but no matter how much I make fun of her, she stays true to who she is and doesn't let it bother her. As much as it bugs me, I admire that in her. She doesn't let others decide who she is going to be. She has had some major struggles in her life but has managed to bounce back from them with a joy and a new ambition. No matter how many times we fail, we need to get back up and try again.

My father has always made a point of making us laugh. Even as children, he would make the same jokes over and over, yet they wouldn't get old. Of course there were times where we rolled our eyes at him, but I still remember him moonwalking across the doorway when hanging out with my friends, or sharpening knives at the table the first time I introduce my boyfriend to him. My father is a very intelligent man and knows way too much trivia for his own good. I have come to understand him more and more over the years. He once explained to me why he enjoys time alone and away from everyone so often. Growing up with 8 brothers and sisters, never having your own room, you get crowded. To finally have opportunity to go out on your own and just do what you want, it was his safe haven. He's always loved trivia and to this day I know I can find him at any restaurant with a trivia game, glued to the television screen.
His love for his grandchild is very evident. He lights up like the sun when he see's Jay and turns into a little boy again. There is a special bond between a grandfather and grandson that nothing can compare and to see it in front of my eyes gets me emotional. To see my dad smile like that from a innocent little baby, is one of the most wonderful things in this life.

I have always looked up to and respected my brother. I never understood how he ended up being cooler than me in high school but he always had a good group of friends and managed to stay out of the drama. He has a good head on his shoulders and has a very different way of looking at things than I ever did. He was calm, straight to the point, and very blunt. I still remember to this day as a teenager I was on the phone to a boyfriend that I found out was lying to me about certain things. I was crying, and being the weaker version of me back then, I was letting him talk me into understanding his side! My brother was in my room with me writing on post-it notes of what I should do. I still remember seeing those words and thinking "I would never think to say that!". He helped me through these emotional times when nothing could console me. He understood me when no one else did. And although we were never that close growing up, I knew he was always there.

My sister-in-law (which I may as well just call my sister) is one of the most fun-loving people I have ever met. She has this joy to life that matches none other. I don't know if it's her Brazilian culture or what, but she has this huge laugh that fills the room and is just contagious! I hope my nephew has her personality. She is so beautiful and her faith in God is woven throughout her life. Her commitment to family and understanding of others faults makes me want to be a more patient person. She also has a different way of looking at things, which is why I believe she is perfect for my brother. I know they have had their difficulties (distance, war, failing visas) but they have made a decision to make it work. I admire and respect both of them for the effort they put into one another. They invest in each others souls and protect one another. After hearing my brother talk about protecting his family, I realized that his love for his wife surpassed anything we experienced growing up in our family. We didn't really have a good example of what a marriage should be. I remember my parents kissing once in my life and that is it. But to see my brother and sister-in-law where they are now.... I am beyond amazed and feel there is hope for that in my life as well. To love someone with an outpouring of love that is recognizable to others.

My Grannie. She is so independent. She takes the dogs on walks and loves them like none other. I'd hate to admit it, but I get jealous when my dog is more excited to see my Grannie than me! They truly see her heart and know the time she invests in them. I think she has it right. Dogs are man's best friend! They don't judge you, they are always excited when you come home, and they don't expect much from you. They comfort you when you are sad, and they are always fulfilled with the littlest effort on your part. I wish I could be the type of person my dog thinks I am. My Grannie is very wise. My sister pointed this out. When everyone was trying to decide who my nephew looked like and what he was going to be like when he grew up, my Grannie in the background just said 'He will just be him'. Something so simple, yet so comforting to my sister and so right on the mark to settle the argument. Her independence is scary sometimes, I remember my mom calling her in the morning to tell her "Don't shovel the driveway, its too slippery!".... one broken arm later, my Grannie still insists she was "Just pushing the snow with the shovel!". She knows more about what is hitting the news and the Toronto Maple Leafs than my brother does and that says A LOT. She is always up on the current headlines and you can always count on a phone call from her when big news hits!

What I have learned in life:
Well this is a loaded question.... however if I were to write one last thing to leave with those whose lives I would HOPEFULLY touch, it would be this....
- when you are in an argument, listen. Stop yelling and just listen to the other person. Stay calm. It is incredible the peace and control you will feel when this happens and things get resolved a lot quicker.
- on the same note, stay humble. It is one of the most difficult things to admit when we are wrong, but once we do, we can learn from it instead of making excuses or blaming others. Take the shot and move on. Commit to being a better person and admitting you aren't perfect. Others will look up to you for your honesty.
- If you are going to cheat, you may as well cut loose from your relationship first. Don't waste my time and I won't waste yours. We are all in this life to find true love, and that kind of "love" is cheap and easy and is not worth a cent, or a minute.
- Take chances. If you have a desire in your heart to go to New York, find a way and GO! You have one life and limited seasons. If you are old enough, GO! Even if you don't have the resources, find them and take a chance. You never know what one experience can do to alter the course of your life and passions!
- Never hold money too closely. Be compassionate and sponsor a child. You don't need all that anyway. The more you tithe and give, the less attached to money you will feel, and the more God provides.
- Unconditional Love. As much as you want to give up on someone. Don't. No matter how much you want to just ream them out and scream at them and tell them you hate them, Don't. Show love. Chances are the people who have screwed up, know that they have screwed up and what speaks louder volumes is acknowledging that we are all fighting a battle and everyone needs compassion. Everyone needs the Love of Christ in their life regardless if they believe or not.
- Give people a second chance. I'll be honest, I've NEVER done this with romantic relationships, but I've opened the doors of communication to those who've hurt me a lot. It's not the easiest, but I know the anxiety of being in a room with someone you feel doesn't like you and has a bad temper. Don't be that person. Show love. Show forgiveness. Let go of the small details and just know that everyone has a heart beating inside their chest that will run out. No one is indestructible. We all have insecurities. And even if you get hurt again, turn the other cheek and continue to show your love. You will shine like the stars and they will feel dumb haha
- Take time for God. Read the Good Book. Pray. Fast. Talk about things bigger than yourself. I know way too many people who are full of themselves with no room left in their hearts for someone else. Always make room in your heart for Jesus, for your family, for friends and loved ones. Put others before yourself and stop worrying about what others see you as. Stop trying to build up this reputation that just ends up failing you anyway. To God, you are good enough. That is all you need to know.
- Always be a student. Strive to learn new things in life. Whether it be with finances, relationships, careers, faith, etc. Choose to pick up books and open your mind to a new world.
- Travel. See how others live. You will accept that we are very very spoiled here and are living like royalty.
- Breathe and stop over thinking. Sometimes in life you can't make everyone happy when you are stuck with a decision. Accept the things you cannot change, do what you can without fighting back, listen, and acknowledge you understand. Sometimes in life there will be things that we just can't fix. But it's not our job to make everyone happy, it's our job to make the best decisions for our lives and that most benefit those around us.
- Ask people questions. I've learned this much too late in life. Take the time to understand someone by asking them questions about their family, career, and social life. What are they struggling with, what are they celebrating? Next time you hang out with them, reflect on those things and ask for an update. I feel so special when I feel like I have been heard and someone was thinking about me. I hope to do the same in my relationships.
- and finally.... GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE!!!!!! You never know until you actually TRY! Go to a movie on your own, go to a new hiking trail, purchase a ticket to the first flight out. Be spontaneous! Live life and explore what this world has to offer. Don't get sucked into the gated world you grew up in. Spread your wings and fly!!!

xoxo S.