Learn to Dance

I saw this pic the other day, and please forgive me, it hit me all wrong. Yes, I do understand the concept. I do understand that everyone wants to not feel broken. I do understand that being happy and free feels so much better than being heartsick and broken beyond repair. I get it.

I’ve had my share of brokenness. I’ve had my share of broken dreams, broken promises, broken images, and broken foundations in my life. I’ve had more than my share of tears shed through the years. I’ve experienced more than some and not as much as others. Brokenness is not comfortable, enjoyable, or even a bearable element of my soul.

But I cannot embrace the cultural trend that forgetting from where I came makes me more joyous, more loose, more free to live. I refuse to welcome the notion that to obliterate my past makes me a better, more balanced, human being. I will not accept the propaganda that tells me “a forgotten past brings a brighter tomorrow.” (*chosen words before seeing similar quote online. No correlation or reflection. Unaware of that author, quote or beliefs.)

When someone is hiking up a mountain, forgetting from whence you came will only cause you to lose your way back down the trail. When someone goes on a long extended trip, obliterating the road map will only cause you to never return to home.

When someone tries to erase history, history is never truly erased. What has been has been, and there is no way to live as if it never existed. That is just pretending, and pretending just makes you as a child.

Being a child is wonderful while you are of a physically young age, but once you have crossed the threshold of maturity, that immaturity only makes you look like an ignorant fool. (…and yes, those can mean two very different things.) So then, you have to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself the hard questions…

How old am I? How old should I be acting? Will I live my life in immaturity, ignorance and foolishness, or will I live in maturity, knowledge and wisdom? The choice is truly yours.

I choose to walk in integrity, maturity, wisdom and truth. I choose to embrace my past, my pain and my brokenness, even the shattered pieces that may always carry a shards of irreparable moments. I will carry on, even if I walk with a limp, and even if my scars are evident for all to see.

I choose to be full of joy. I choose to have peace. I choose to love and be loved. I choose to have life and give life.

Is it hard? Heck, yeah! Is it uncomfortable? Always. Telling you that’s it’s not would be returning to those childhood days of pretend and make believe. Life is so much better than the fairytales. Not because it never rains and not because there is no pain, but rather, because through the rain, I learn to dance, through the pain, I learn to sing.

And this song and dance is better than any mythical enchantment I could ever dream. This song and dance gives birth to a beautiful melody called life created by an unimaginable symphony of experiences and awakenings. Without these notes on the pages of my soul, I could never leave the legacy of song for my children, my friends, my family, for one who is ready whom I may never know.

So, I will choose to dance even when it’s raining and even though the storm brews darker. I will dance and sing, and sing some more, to bring a little memory of sunshine through the pain; so, the legacy will live ever more brightly for my children and those who are to come.

**Listen to this.

*I do not own nor possess this song, video or photos. These are all from simple Google search.

Christian or Nah?

Spent a lot of time reading today, and one particular thought kept recurring through my head as I read this post by a “Christian” and that blog by an “nonbeliever” and a tweet by a “Christian who is a professional” and then an article by a “self proclaimed heathen” and so on…

Observation for today: If you call yourself a Christian, yet mock those who have overcome failures and defeat, focus more on race, politics and cultural agendas, and create division rather than unity by your words and/or actions,

what is setting you apart from the world??

…and if we are not set apart from the world, why would “they” want anything we have?

Grief: Learning to Live

Grief isn’t fair. Grief isn’t gentle. Grief isn’t considerate, or gracious, or kind…or any of those nice words, really. Grief stinks. And that’s an understatement.

Grief makes you want to stop time, remove yourself from it, and retract minutes from eternity. It makes you want to return to simpler days, days where there were less cares, less tears, less pain.

Yet, life doesn’t work that way. Time moves on with or without you. The clock, living and breathing, keeps ticking until your heart doesn’t.

Demanding that it be any different is just as foolish as if I were to say, “I’m going to hold my breath until the sky turns green.” Demanding it to be different only causes you more pain, more regrets and more agony. Demanding others to remain stuck there with you only causes them more sorrow for the loss, more bitterness for your constraints and can even cause a dwarfism in growth for both you and them.

Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.” Ecclesiastes 7:4 says, “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.” Ecclesiastes 3:4 says, “(there is) a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…”

Time is the constant, grief is the variable and choice is the solvent in this equation called life. We can choose to drown in the river of grief and loss or dance in the torrential rains of grace.

Does the choice to dance make the journey through grief disappear? No. Does the choice to dance make the hours shorter or the days brighter? Maybe, maybe not. What I can assure you is when your perspective is focused on the dance more than the pain, it does make the burden a bit lighter, and it will cause the healing come in a bit stronger.

Dancing in the rain never dissipates the raindrops, and it never removes the moisture from your drenched hair and skin, but it surely will enable you to see the rainbow beyond the clouds.

I ask you, “What will you choose today?”

Grief Like An Ocean’s Tide

Grief is such a difficult journey, and it’s different for every person who encounters it. Some scream, some cry, some wail, some cling, and some push away, and some even still simply walk away.

There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the reactions to grief. Grief is not selective. It doesn’t skip the wicked and only hit the believers of this religion or that. It doesn’t skip the rich and only threaten the poor. It is no respecter of persons. It is not bias to name, prestige, status, heritage or race.

Grief comes to us all, and if you think you’re excluded, well, just keep on living, my friend…

I read these two pics, and they seemed to just sum up almost all there is to know about grief. It is like a morning’s tide, except there’s no gadget, computer or orbital phase to help you schedule its rise, fall, or turbulence.

Sometimes, the waves roll in, and you just have to roll up your pant legs and wade until they roll back out. Other times, the sea rushes in so swiftly, without warning, and you just have to sink or swim, as you work hard just to keep your head above to catch a breath. Still other times, the tide pulls back awhile, giving the appearance that you can walk a little deeper, out to a sandbar or two, in order to find a bit of a reprieve.

As I struggle to describe the different phases of grief I’ve observed, I can’t claim to know all the answers of “Why?” “When?” or even “How much longer?” Yet, I may be able to give someone an answer to the “How?”

How can I go forward? How can I ease the pain? How can I be left here? How can I go on living without them?

For, I may not know much, but this one thing I do know! HE is an anchor that holds. Jesus is the Rock that I can cling to. I stand as a testimony, as a witness, that He will bring comfort in our darkest hour. He will carry us through every single step of this painful journey. With Him holding your hand, and sometimes, even picking you up to carry you, you CAN make it.

Afterthought…

This is one thing that He is absolutely amazing at doing: bringing comfort to the broken and giving grace to the desperate. I stand back in awe each and every time as I watch someone experiencing grief and leaning on Him as their source of strength.

Sometimes, it almost seems instantaneous the grace He gives, and other times, the depth of pain seems almost insurmountable; yet, each and every time, without fail, He comes through for those who believe. His promises are true. His love is unfailing, and His grace is so sufficient.

It doesn’t mean there everything is instantly washed away, and you never feel another moment of pain. It doesn’t mean you all of a sudden feel giddy and lightheaded, because the sorrow is no more. It doesn’t even mean, just with a snap of a finger, you somehow stop longing for the return of the one you lost.

No, the pain still rocks in like the tide. The sorrow still awakens you in the night as you reach for their hand. The longing in your heart still stretches to eternity. But the peace He brings, the grace He sustains, the stability He instills is worth giving Him the chance.

All we have to do is simply believe. When we believe and place our trust in Him, we are releasing His Holy Spirit to do what He does best. He is called The Comforter for a reason.

Crush the Pain

I absolutely love crushed ice. I love it so much that it makes me drink water when I need it. We don’t have an ice crushing machine at home, and I don’t really want to take up the counter space to get one; so, I crush my own. I have found that if I will just take the few extra minutes to crush the ice, I will drink almost a whole quart of water in one sitting.

I have also found that crushing ice, often times, releases tension and even frustration within me as I take the spoon firmly within my grasp and “pop” each ice cube into nice little slivers of crunch. It will usually bust holes in the ziplock bag I use, but that’s ok. I just consider it the vessel that’s “suffering for a good cause.” There have been moments when I’ve looked at each cube of ice and taken true “vengeance” out. It is truly a refreshing moment. 😂

It’s a great little lesson in “proper venting methods” that maybe someone reading this might find helpful.

This may sound silly to some, but for a moment, just think about it. I’m not screaming at my kids because of my frustrations. I’m not fussing with my husband, because I’m angry or feeling tension, and I’m not kicking a wall or driving erratic, because I’m struggling with trying to find some sort of ever evasive ‘inner peace.’ (not that I necessarily would do the latter, but just stay with me here…)

Maybe someone out there has been down this road of reactionary discontent, and you need to find a different outlet to release your stress. Now, this simple exercise might not work for everyone. You may truly need to go to the gym and run or hit a punching bag, but if you’re a “steam kettle,” like me, and you just need to release a little steam from time to time, you might want to try it.

Once, all the ice is crushed, pour it in your glass, fill it with water, and Enjoy! You’ve succeeded in refreshing your mind and your emotions, and you’ve done something beneficial and healthy for your body as well, without some medical application, crazy substance abuse, alcohol consumption or erratic behaviors.

Welcome to the world of emotional self control! 😉💕

Character Screams

A man or woman of character may not be numbered with the most popular, the most fashionable or the most affluent in the crowd. He or she may very well have each of these, but these won’t be the first assets he/she will seek.

This person will have deep roots, gentle eyes, and a soul that is anchored in peace and in truth. When gossip is given, her deep roots will sustain her. When chaos arises, his gentle eyes will see purpose and promise. When the storms of life threaten to overwhelm, the depths of her soul will not be shaken, for she knows where her strength rests.

People of character draw people of strength to their side. They live with purpose, promise and even preparation for the good and the bad, never relying on carnal and material things to be their refuge or their guide. They reside in a place of security, hope and freedom.

You will not have to question if he or she is a person of character, because what they do is not impulsive; it is a lifestyle.

Character will reveal itself through every action you take. It is the one thing that speaks louder than words. When you are the most silent, your character will actually scream to the world of its existence.

… What kind of character are YOU? …

Wordless Heart

When no words can be found within your heart, and the weight of life seems unbeatable, or the sadness begins creeping in where joy once was, step outside. Go for a walk, sit down and listen to nature, enjoy good company or even stand in front of a waterfall.

Often, to find the peace your soul needs, you will have to move beyond the four walls in which you live. You will have to leave the agenda, the busyness, and all the cares and strife behind for a moment, or even, for several hours, and move out of the daily grind.

Go watch a sunset. Climb a mountain or a hillside where you can see the valley below. Sit by the lake or the ocean, or stand before a rushing river or near an avalanche of a waterfall and just listen.

You will hear His voice on the wind, calling your soul to peace. You will feel His presence surround you as you just simply soak it all in. Even if you don’t know Him yet, your soul remembers…

When Your Load is Heavy

Where do you go when your load is heavy? Who do you turn to when the weight of the world seems to be on your shoulders? What do you do when all feels lost, and you don’t know what to do?

Sometimes, life just stinks, and there’s not a thing you can do to change it. The rain has been coming for weeks, and now it’s pouring, and you find yourself without an umbrella or raincoat; then, the lighting strikes, and the thunder rolls on and on.

Poemhunter.com

What do you do in moments like these? What is your reaction, your response, your thoughts in the midst of the torrential rains? Do you run for shelter or fight the elements? Do you grow angry and frustrated or just sit down and wallow in your tears of pity?

My thoughts turned here as my heart grew heavy today while I read a post from a friend who is having open heart surgery this morning. It was sudden, no real signs of trouble, but she just didn’t feel right. She has significant blockages, but her arteries are too small for a stent. The doctor said he is going to do as many bypasses as he possibly can to assure the best life she can obtain. She is a single mom of two college age children, about to finish her degree and just landed a great job.

I struggle with these questions as I listen to an update from another friend who has had an incredible year of troubles. Her body just developed a disorder where her arteries naturally create blockages. She’s had over a dozen surgeries and procedures over the last year, and she’s not eligible for a heart transplant. She now goes to cardiac rehab simply to obtain the best life she can possibly have with the condition,  and even this treatment can cause heart to have an episode  due to over exertion and stress. She is married, and her husband is currently overseas completing his job assignments while she is in the states dealing with all of this without him.

My heart wrestles with these scenarios and ponders the possibilities as I read yet another status from a friend who daily struggles with a condition of Anaphylaxis where she can simply awake in the night and have to inject 2 or 3 epi’s into her body just to have the time to get to the ER before she takes her last breath.

Each one of them have their own fears, doubts and questions as these circumstances play out in their lives. Each one have share both their hopes and their trepidations in living with these conditions. And each one amaze me time and again by their unfailing faith in their God. For all of these dear friends of mine know the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

I cannot adequately tell you of the hope He brings in times of struggle. I cannot clearly express to you the peace He gives in moments of crisis and distress. I cannot give you a description that truly describes the abundance of His unconditional grace which you will find when you believe.

Yet, I can tell you this. When you believe, and when you completely surrender your heart to His, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You will realize the hope my friends have found.

I pray you find Him, and I pray He reveals Himself to you in such a way that you have no doubt, no question, no way of denying what we have found to be eternally true.

Sometimes You Just Have to Walk

Yeah, you heard me right. There are times in your life when the best thing you can do is walk. Walk away from the anger. Walk away from the pain. Walk away from the confusion and strife. Walk away from all the drama that one person is bringing into your life again. And again. And again.

Now, there’s a whole blog I can write on endurance and perseverance and determination not to quit when the going gets tough. In fact, I’ve written those, and this post doesn’t change that. I am, also by no means, giving you permission to walk out on your spouse, your kids or your job. Use some common sense, and don’t try to justify your own desire for freedom from the commitments you’ve made. 😉

However, there is something to be said about getting drama out of your life. Over the years, I have watched too many people simply stay put in the midst of drama that they were never meant to be. There are people in this world who live their lives from one crazy crisis to the next, and they live with the expectations that you should live it with them. No, you should not.

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If you are an adult, and you are surrounded by drama that someone else is creating, ask yourself, “WHY?” Why is the drama going on, and why do you feel you have to be a part of it? If it doesn’t concern you, why are you still there? If it does concern you, is it legit yours to own, or is it simply stupid drama drummed up by this other person?

Answer that “Why?” Do you need something from that person? Do you feel obligated to him or her? Do you feel an expectation to stay? (Again, why??) Do you gain some sort of self affirmation when you are in the midst of their drama? Do you simply need to feel needed?

Answer the “Why?,” and I promise you, you’ll realize you can walk away from this needless drama (or you’ll recognize your own fleshly desire for it). Drama causes strife. It causes unrest. It causes chaos and disorder. It can even cause health issues and sickness. It is not good. Walk away. Avoid it at all cost.

Sometimes, true love is shown by no longer being a crutch, an enabler or a punching bag for someone else who refuses to grow up and be somebody. Sometimes, you have to fight for who you are to become, and sometimes, that fight is walking away from needless drama in order to find and sustain the peace and clarity you need to live your life as it should be.

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Where Do You Run?

When the trials of life settle in like a cold, hard rain, where do you run?

When the pain beats in your chest in rhythm with your own heartbeat, how do you keep breathing?

When all seems lost, and the world feels as if it’s closing in around you, what do you do? Who do you call?

Some run to a friend. Some run to a lover. Others find solace in a bottle or a pill. Still others fight it, deny it or even lash out at all those around like a wounded animal.

Yet, can I tell you there is One who will never fail? Can I tell you there is One who will bring comfort and strength, grace and peace?

His name is Jesus, and He’s reaching out His Hand. He’s calling to you in the rain.

Can you hear Him? Just say His Name.

*I do not own nor possess any pictures in this post. A simple Google search led me to each.*