Thursday, October 27, 2011
As I faced my Maker at the Last Judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls.
Before each of us we laid our lives, the squares of a quilt in many piles. An angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that was our life.
But as my angel took each piece of cloth off my pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in everyday life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.
I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune.
I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened.
My angel was sewing my ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.
Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth.
The others rose, each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been. My angel looked upon me and nodded for me to rise.
My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, death, and false accusations that took from me my world, as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again.
I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me.
And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was. I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.
Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image, the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said, "Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you."
Lord, may my life be filled with You, Your warmth, Your grace, Your forgiveness. May my tapestry be rich in Light for all the world to see, an image of you, an example of You to be shown to others.
May there always be more of You than me in me...for it is You who makes me whole.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness...joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love,
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned,
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.
Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor vexation.
Where there is poverty and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice.
Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt.
Lord, may I do much while appearing to do nothing at all.
And may I always know and feel Your love eternally....for it is YOU who is at the center of everything.
Monday, October 24, 2011
The self-doubts, the "what-ifs," the old baggage from our past that threatens to keep us tethered to the ground, they only keep us from finding our true potential. These things are hindering our growth, our ability to find true happiness that is waiting for us at the other end. Letting go of that is so very difficult to do. When we are alone at times, our "pasts" will come back to "haunt" us, whether it be of our own making or at the selfish hands of someone else. We find we've become conditioned to certain attitudes or words that will throw us into a tailspin, that bring us to that place of self-scrutiny and doubt once again....
I've wrestled with insecurity all of my life. Majorly. Even in grade school I had to be the center of attention and the "funny" one. In FIRST GRADE I had to "get" THEE boy and I dragged Jeremy Harley into the coat closet and kissed him to make him "mine." In high school, I had to be the best one on the drama team and I even made "Who's Who" to show up my classmates. See? There I go again...bragging about my accomplishments, somehow hoping deep inside that you guys will be impressed. I could go on about how "wonderful" I am but it would be for the wrong reasons. It is baggage. It is the "Self-Doubt Suitcase" I've lugged around for years.
Believe it or not, we all have one, a particular thing that follows us around from day-to-day that hinders our growth. Not to say that at times it won't make us do better in our work, careers or school by making us push harder, but when it becomes a hindrance in our relationships, our ability to move past a certain point or stifles us with a suffocating self-dialogue, it needs to be addressed. Yes, subconsciously we allow our ball-and-chains to make us eat to numb the pain, or exercise to excess to quiet the voices. Some of us have used alcohol or drugs to distance the pain from ourselves. Some of us have even distanced ourselves from others.
I don't claim to know how to get rid of these things that bother us, but I think realizing we have them is the first step to getting passed them. It's the first step in healing. The day that I realized that my life did not have to be perfect from the outside was the day that a huge burden was lifted from my shoulders. That's when my personal healing began. Oh, I do struggle from time-to-time. You will struggle from time-to-time. But if we are able to say, "Oh. That's that little voice again trying to wreck my day!" maybe we can reverse the outcome. Maybe we can NOT give in to it and decide it's time to fight back.
To steal a few words from my "mentor" Myles Kennedy once again, he tells you to "discover the dusk of your day has reached its dawn." Night must give in to day, to hope, to light. You can only do so much in the darkness, you cannot see beyond your own thoughts, your own self-imposed limitations. But when you allow yourself the belief that you are worth fighting for, you will find that you will have the strength to burn down your old beliefs and come out of the shadows fighting for your worth. None of us are perfect. We have fallen to the ground at times, heavily, and have forgotten our will to move forward. We've allowed the curtains of our fear to hide our true strength inside. That veil must be parted. Then we must step from it, one foot at a time with a burning sword of hope and faith. It is painful. It is going against what our human nature wants us to do, detesting change. But can you imagine the satisfaction of breaking through those barriers and rising above them???
Burn it down. Discover that the dusk of your day has reached its dawn. Then find a new way to carry on. Find a NEW DAY. In YOU.
You are strong. You are a warrior. Now FIGHT. It's YOUR LIFE.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
"Oh, I-I-I-I remember you. You're the girl who struggles with self-doubts, who questions every action, every feeling under a microscope, who places heavy scrutinization on every thought and word...yes, I remember you. Remember how bad it made you feel because you couldn't be perfect or, gulp, "normal?" Didn't that make you feel closed-in, isolated, almost to the point of distancing yourself from the ones you loved the most?? C'mon, now, snap out of it. Get back to that peaceful center you once found. Remember how good it made you feel to let all that baggage go? Remember how wonderful it was to accept yourself for who you are and accept your flaws, your mistakes, your life for what it was???"
Putting the mirror down, I closed my eyes and drew a deep breath. Then I prayed. A short prayer. A simple, "God, here I am. Let me hear Your voice. Reach down to me again, pull me free from the mucky mire and lift me up, once again. In Your sweet name..."
It's such human nature to wrestle with yourself. It's easy to fall back into the same old habits, even the self-destructive ones, that will drain the energy from you. You would think that after miserably failing, trying to do it all on your own, you would learn, after awhile. Why is it that we keep re-trying what doesn't work and not use that energy to find a better solution? My solution, as of late, has been God. He has continued to draw me closer each hour, each day, each week...then I started not feeling well again. I have felt drained, to the point of total exhaustion, nauseated, weak...and then I decided to shelter myself. I decided to pull away, to wither within and try to "tough it out." Then the downhill slide began.
BUT!! I recognized it for what it was. Human nature. I can't feel bad for being human and having self-doubts but I have to recognize it for what it is and do something about it. Improve. Call out to my heavenly Father and ask for His assistance, then simply wait for His loving voice, His loving arms to encircle me. And guess what?? They were there. HE was there. Smiling, arms outstretched, ready for me to fall into them and rest, to lay my burdens at His feet as He enveloped me into His loving embrace.
"As your will is bent and broken
And every vision has been cast into the wind,
As your courage crashes down before your eyes,
Don't lay down and die.
(Because) I see in you
More than you'll ever know.
And I ask you "Why you question
The strength inside?"
'Cause You need to know how it feels
To be alive.
When every wound has been re-opened,
And in this world of give and take you must have FAITH,
And the distance to your dreams stretch beyond your reach,
Don't lay down and die...
Because I see in you more than you will ever know..."
God sees in us more than we will ever know. He sees we are insecure at times, that we are just HUMAN, that we struggle with our inner voice. He knows us better than we know ourselves. So if that is the case, then shouldn't we believe that He will never give us more than we can handle, that we do possess the inner strength to rise up past our conflicts, our weaknesses? We have to change the way we think. We have to see our worth for what it is. And our worth is priceless in the eyes of our God. He has saved me because I'm worth it. I have to remember that He loved me enough, thought me worthy enough to sacrifice His only Son for me. AND YOU.
Okay, trying to do it all on my own equals fatigue, doubts, insecurity. Doing it GOD'S way equals love, patience, acceptance. Duh.
It didn't take me long to realize it this time.
Perhaps I'll stick with what works now? God bless....love you all.
Saturday, October 01, 2011
The last few days have been challenging, mentally and physically, for me during work. Sometimes this body doesn't want to give up the goods like it used to and if I don't feel the miles on my legs that day, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will feel them the next. (I once wore a pedometer during one of my shifts just to see how many miles I put in on an average day and it registered 10.7. JUST DURING MY SHIFT.) I have to say that in some aspects I'm pretty proud of this...I think my body is in better shape now than it used to be. I remember when I wasn't working and I was trying to find a regimen right for me. I tried running. I tried bonking. I tried weight lifting. Each time I would fall miserably flat on my face due to the limitations on my health. But just this simple act of walking, albeit at a frenzied pace at times during work, has seemed to help stabilize my weight.
But these last few days have been very challenging for me. With the change of weather my joints ache more. I've been experiencing more headaches. But I keep trudging ahead...and I have something very good to come home to for a few more days. My beautiful grandgirls, two twins and a new one that just makes my heart absolutely SING are moving from Arizona to Kansas. (They kinda took a wide detour to see us before heading out there...)
When I look into two month old Jaycee's gorgeous deep blue eyes, that are as blue as the sky above me, as blue as the ocean that was once before me, I get lost. I get lost in the innocence and serenity of a something that is bigger than me, bigger than my aches and pains, larger than any problem that has been placed before me. When she smiles at my peek-a-boos and grabs my fingers in her tiny little grasp, I truly feel like I'm holding onto something so precious, fragile and I cannot breathe. I FORGET to breathe. I also get transported back 19 years ago when my daughter was this small and I was amazed at the beauty, the wondrous perfection of a new little life that was placed in my arms by the hands of my loving and trusting God...
Again, He has given me a gift. He has once again allowed my arms to encircle the most precious thing this life can offer. How can I NOT feel so special? How can I NOT feel loved when this little baby girl looks up into my eyes and smiles? I rocked her to sleep last night and I felt her little body curl into my own, as she grasped my finger and drifted off to the place that is only for little angels to explore...I could not tear my eyes, my heart, or soul away. Her soft breathes, gentle coos and little tiny hiccups captivated me, mesmerized me, lulled me into a deep place of serenity and peace.
I can't put my finger on it but this is different than being a mother. As a grandmother, you look at your grandchildren...then look at your children taking care of them. Such irony to see yourself in them, loving their own children, doing everything you did while they were growing up. But I'm going with it. And it pleases me to know that one day they will have this moment with THEIR grandchildren...I wish I could be here to witness that....
Aches and pains I have in this weary body.
But joy, love and peace in a heart that feels forever young.
I have my beautiful grandangels to thank for that.
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