‘Tis The Season (Reflections…)

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The holidays are my favorite time of year.  I love spending time with family and I love good food and the holidays combine both those things.  Besides that, during the holidays I find that the atmosphere is…different…there is more cheer and happiness in the air than usual, and I love that.  This year has been unexpectedly challenging for me (some challenges are still not over!) and so as this year starts coming to a close, I reflect. ‘Tis the season for a lot of things, but for me this year ‘tis the season for gratitude. 

I feel like I grew up a lot this year, it’s funny because even though I am quite grown, I feel like I grew up some more. The biggest lesson that I’ve learned this year is keeping things in perspective.  Some things are extremely important, some are not, some people are extremely important, others are not.  Some things are definitely worth fighting for, some are not, some things are worth your time and energy and efforts, some things are not.  It’s so important and at times difficult to figure out which is what.  Life is definitely crazy (some times more than others), and you have got to learn to keep things in perspective.  I learned that a lot this year and for that I am grateful.  I am grateful for the unexpected and challenging experiences that I faced that taught me these lessons.  These experiences also revealed to me the beauty and the strengths in the relationships that I have in my life causing me to appreciate and value those people all the more. What have you experienced in 2013 that you are grateful for?       

Dear Past

And so, as 2013 begins to end and 2014 is almost upon us I am ending the year on a good note.  I’m choosing to keep the right perspective, grateful for everything that has happened and hopeful for everything that is yet to be because in reality it could always be worse.  To me, every year begins a fresh new start, even moreso every day can be a new start, if you need it to be.  This year, 2013, has not been easy for me (and maybe for you too!) and that’s okay.  We survived it, we made it through 2013 and now we stare down the barrel of 2014…

i will choose

A lot of times, life may not turn out the way we wanted, the way we expected, the way that we worked hard and planned for…but the gift of life is still a very precious gift… even when we can’t bear it or understand it.  Merely being alive is a privilege denied to many, so, as 2013 draws to a close, if you are at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.  Hold onto your faith, your hope, your gratitude …because we don’t know what amazing things may lie just ahead on the horizon.

For me in 2013 things got a lot worse before they started to get better.  And for you, 2014 can be the best year of your life, but you won’t know until you get there, so hold on.  No matter what happens, no matter what tomorrow brings, or next month, or next year….continue to give this life YOUR best shot, roll with the punches, give it all you’ve got, never give up, never surrender because with life you really only get one shot, this is the only life you get. So whatever your life circumstance or situation embrace the ups and the downs, it’s what makes life exactly what it is, a very unique one in a lifetime experience, for you and you alone, THIS is your life. So, if you need help seek it, if you need guidance get it, if you want to change your life, do it, the time is now. If not now, when?life is beautiful                moving forward

1 Thessalonians 5:18

King James Version (KJV)
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Relatable Song:
Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns

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The Passionate Pursuit of Perfection

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   perfect a seven letter word

I think it’s safe to say that most of us do this; passionately pursue perfection.  People all around the world want the perfect clothes, the perfect looks, the perfect mate, the perfect job, the perfect car, the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood, the perfect kids, the perfect school for their perfect kids so that they can have the perfect family, and on and on and on…the passionate pursuit of perfection never ends.  And what “perfect” is varies by person, but everybody’s chasing their version of perfection because they think it will make them happy and successful.  This world is not perfect, we are not perfect, so why are we investing so much time and effort chasing these very non-existent perfections?  In addition and more importantly has anyone noticed how increasingly frustrated we become when we don’t obtain these things…triggering feelings of failure and diminished self-worth.

This post will only seek to address the passionate pursuit of perfection as it relates to a perfect mate and a perfect relationship.  I am in no way an expert qualified to speak on this subject, but I’m going to share my thoughts anyway.  So, since we know that we as humans are by no means perfect, why is it that we expect perfect partners or expect our relationships to be perfect? We all know relationships shouldn’t be perfect but somehow we continue to expect perfection and become disappointed and confused when we don’t receive it.  Obviously, that’s unrealistic, right? Perhaps so, but not as much as it should be. 

Let’s take me for example, I had this pre-conceived notion that God had someone out there for me and not just anyone but he would be God’s best for me. So in my mind God’s best for me had to be nothing short of perfect. I mean if God himself is gifting you a person wouldn’t you expect something exquisite and perfect? I thought that he would literally be the perfect man; with no issues, no flaws, no baggage, no drama, no fighting, just a flawless beautiful sweeping romantic existence at all times. Clearly I was quite delusional! I mean really what were he and I going to do with ourselves, just bask in our perfection for 50 years or so and then wait for death? In all actuality if God did send me the perfect man, that man honestly would have left me quickly because I am not perfect at all, I am flawed, so what was he (Mr. Perfect) gonna do with me?! So yes, I was quite delusional.  This is a prime example of when you think you know what you don’t know.

ask yourself whts important

Let’s be clear I’m not saying settle for less than you deserve, no way! Doing so just leads to disappointments, regrets and finally resentment. What I am saying is instead of chasing perfection there is something far more valid worth chasing.  Instead of chasing perfection chase what you value and what that is is going to be different for everyone.  The irony is when you chase what you value, when you chase all of the qualities and characteristics that are of the utmost importance to you then you win because in the end that person will be “perfect” for you. 

The key to this though is, you have to actually know what you want…and you’d be surprised how many people don’t really have a clear vision of exactly and specifically what it is that they want. Wanting “someone to love me” or wanting “someone to share my life with” is not enough, you need to know what kind of person.  So, you have to know what’s important to you and what you value, because if you don’t know what you want, you may not recognize it when you see it, even if it’s right in front of you.  It’s also so very important to know what you don’t want, so that when you see that you know to quickly head in the opposite direction. Why? Because if you don’t know what you don’t want you may naively and unnecessarily entertain the wrong things for you until you realize in the worst way how much you actually do not want that. Unfortunately by then the damage is done and the time has been wasted (well not completely wasted if the lesson is learned).

dont want perfect relationship

Well, with age brings wisdom (allegedly) and so what I understand now is that God’s best for me was not a “perfect man” but instead a man that was designed to challenge me, teach me, push me, inspire me and grow me.  He is kind, humble, respectful, honest, smart, creative, hilarious, thoughtful, extremely hard-working and he’s a fellow believer in the Christian faith (those traits are valued by me!).  As compatible as we are, he is my opposite in a few ways but I am realizing now that this is by design, we both have traits that the other needs to learn.  I realized that being in a relationship with him has made me aware of major flaws within myself, flaws that I chalked up to just being “me” and part of my personality.  Now I see that these flaws within myself are not “me” they are choices, they are room for improvement, they are things I need to work on, things I want to work on because I want to be better for me and for us.  He makes me want to be a better person for both our sakes.  What I’m saying is what you think you want and what God knows you need are sometimes two completely different things.  I’m not perfect, he isn’t either but we make allowances for human weaknesses so we don’t expect perfection. 

Im not perfect are you

If you are in a relationship right now and you love this person and you think they are “the one”, still…do not expect perfection from them or the relationship, you will be sorely disappointed. Do yourself and your mate (or future mate) a favor when things go wrong as they sometimes will exercise grace, patience and forgiveness.  A lot of things that happen in the course of a relationship are just that “something that happened”, 9 times out of 10 the person you are with isn’t doing things just to hurt, anger or spite you (if they are perhaps you should run the other way!), so when they make mistakes think the best of them, not the worst, learn from the experience together and move on.  And pick your battles, learn to let things slide, you don’t have to attend every argument you are invited to, every hiccup or disagreement does not need to turn into world war three.

Also, here’s something else that needs to be said; don’t compare because it is true what they say comparison is the thief of joy.  When you start comparing someone’s relationship will always appear better than yours and yet another’s relationship will seem clearly worse off than yours.  Just as we know that each person is unique each relationship is also unique, so don’t compare.  And another thing, people sometimes have an incomplete picture of love and what it should look like, they think it’s all rainbows and sunshine and butterflies, sure it can be and it should be most of the time but it’s certainly not like that all the time. Sometimes love is sacrifice.  Jesus sacrificed his life on the cross for us, that was love, there has not been and will never be greater love than that. Similarly if you find yourself making a sacrifice (and I do not mean compromising your safety, your beliefs or anything else of value!) but a pure and genuine sacrifice that you would make again in a heartbeat if needed, then you know it’s real true love. 

So please, I urge you, from now on, change your mindset, change your perspective.  From now on in your life, in your relationships, in your career, everywhere you go and everything you do, look for what you value, chase it, and when you find it, cherish it and appreciate it, but don’t chase perfection because you will never catch it.

Also, regardless of who or what you have or don’t have in your life I hope you know that Jesus loves you and accepts you just as you are. If you want to receive his unconditional love, his forgiveness (there’s nothing too big or too bad that you’ve done), his grace, his peace and the free gift of eternal life then click here for more on that.

Matthew 6:33
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
33 What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what he wants you to do. Then he will give you all these other things you need.

Life perfect to be wonderful

Life not the party

Relatable Song:
Who Am I by Casting Crowns


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@MerakiBlog

Honest Thoughts on Marriage (from back then…)

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Cross with marriage rings

I pray for him sometimes, not every day, but when I do I pray for help for him, for guidance, for his happiness, his health, his prosperity, and that he finds a wife, because the bible says that he who finds a wife finds a good thing (Proverbs 18:22).  This guy had been through a lot and was a little bit jaded, he was vulnerable yet he was so gentle and so sensitive, so sweet. I could just feel in my soul how much he needed a good woman in his life to love and nurture him, even if he couldn’t see it, yet.  I realized that he may not know it or be able to acknowledge it yet, but this guy is the kind of guy that would actually benefit from being married to the right person…

Allow me to clarify; I honestly believe marriage isn’t for everyone.  I’m not saying companionship isn’t for everyone, but what I am saying is that I believe that some people do better alone and perhaps were meant to live and die unmarried.  We all have our callings and our purposes and I truly believe that being unmarried is an integral slice in the pie of some people’s lives. Vague examples that come to mind are Mother Theresa, the artist Michelangelo, and Sir Isaac Newton.  Their causes, their purposes for being here on this earth were greater than themselves and a marriage and the commitment of all that marriage entails may not have been fair to them or their spouse.  I truly believe that people like that may have lived and died absolutely content, fulfilled and even happy being unmarried the same way that two people that married the right person would have live and died fulfilled and happy also.  I believe this to be true simply because in each case each person would have lived the life and walked the path that they were meant to.

I don’t consider myself a person meant to live and die unmarried.  I crave the love, passion, companionship, support, stability and acceptance that a good marriage provides. Yet still, I both fear and love the idea of marriage.  I love the idea of having someone to come home to, someone that gets you, that truly understands you, someone that will be there for you when you’re happy, when you’re sad, when you’re mad, when you’re sick, someone who has agreed before God and man that no matter what happens, they will not leave your side, they want to be with you, always.  The idea is truly breathtaking.  At the same time I’m terrified of marriage; one person to be with, forever…until you die…  How do they not get sick of me, how do I not get sick of them, how do I live my life, my whole life, with another person there at all times, who will see me and be around me all the time, and still love me, and still want me, and still be happy, and will I still be happy too? Thousands of people do it, every day, and many fail, but, is it something that I can pull off, me, successfully?  The idea of it is breathtaking, but in a more gasping for air kind of way.

The reality is being single is a gift. The gift of singleness may be a seasonal gift or a lifetime gift. Equally so, being married (to the right person) is also a gift.  I think deep inside each person knows or eventually starts to figure out which path they are meant to take…so, whatever that path, accept it and embrace it, it’s YOUR path for a season or for a reason.

Psalm 37:4-5

New King James Version (NKJV)

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.
someday someone will walk

love never fails

Relatable Song:
God Gave Me You by Blake Shelton

Follow me on twitter: @MerakiBlog

Purpose (A Riddle Wrapped Up In An Enigma)

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If you are waiting for a signI heard a song on the radio the other day that mentioned purpose and it got me thinking about the “big picture”.  The questions that cross our minds from time to time like; are you happy with your life? What am I doing with my life? What do I even want to do with my life? Are you going through life aimlessly? Are you just going through the motions; school, work, home, then whatever it is that you do with your spare time. Are you fulfilled by that?  Have you ever wondered if this is it, is this all there is to life, is there more?

I believe that there’s more.
the only you there will ever be

I believe that many of us for the most part lose sight of a very important fact of life.  There is only one YOU! What does that mean? It means that you were born with a unique combination of skills, talents, abilities, ambitions and dreams that no one else has, nobody…just you! Do you have any idea how special that is!? There is only one YOU! That is a beautiful yet powerful thought.

So now what? Now that it’s being brought to your attention what are you going to do about it?  See, life is short, shorter than you know.  SO all those things you’ve been meaning to do, to say, to try, go make it happen because the future is guaranteed to no one. 

I’ll be the first person to admit that this life is by no means easy and that dreams and goals can’t be accomplished in the blink of an eye.  However, if despite everything you’ve faced, everything you’ve been through and everything you’ve survived you are still here, then you are here for a reason. There’s more to your story.  Your future is filled with endless possibilities.  No matter where you came from, no matter where are you now, what matters most is where you are going and what you are going to do with the time you have left.  Because of your unique mix of skills you can do something on this earth that no one else can do, because no one else has what you have…so, what are you going to do about it? 

 guide me lord

I believe God created the earth, I believe he created each and every one of us, and I believe he created each person with a purpose.  I believe that YOU were made to fulfill a purpose that only YOU can do.  For me, it’s an unbearable thought to live and die without finding and fulfilling your purpose.  I believe a lot of people want to do more and be more but sometimes they just don’t know where to begin.  This is because most times purpose seems elusive like a mystery, a riddle wrapped up in an enigma.  I read recently on someone’s blog that purpose doesn’t have to be tied to your career and it gave me the biggest light bulb moment. (If I find their post again, I will include a link). It made me realize that even the smallest thing like smiling at a stranger could be your “purpose”, for that particular moment in time.

If your breathing

I believe that you can have many purposes in life and that your main purpose in life is tied to your passions, your talents and tied to your natural skills and abilities.  It is like the thing that is your essence, which comes so easily to you that you think certainly anyone else can do this, but they can’t because it’s your gift.  That does not mean that fulfilling your main purpose in life will be easy.  Sometimes life’s best gifts come in boxes that take a lot of work and time to open.  But I honestly believe that in finding and fulfilling your main purpose it will completely enrich your life.  Remember life is all about choices, you don’t have to do anything, you can do as much nothing as you want, or you can do something with your life and make it count.  With your gifts and your purpose what you have to offer and what you have to give may not be the cure for Cancer, but that does not make it any less valuable.  You think about that! 

What I wish for each of you is the courage to pursue your dreams, the vision to see the beauty in your dreams and the perseverance to never give up until you achieve your dreams.  No matter what.

Philippians 4:13    New King James Version (NKJV)

13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

  follow your dreams

 one life to live

 

 life is not a guarantee

Relatable song:

Good to Be Alive by Jason Gray

Follow me on twitter: @MerakiBlog

3 Months To Live (At Work)

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Show God your faith

The company that I work for just announced that they are closing the branch where I am employed.  The announcement came as a shock to those of us employed there.  This was clearly something management had deliberately kept hidden and based on recent events it didn’t seem like a part of a strategic plan it seemed like a decision that was made rather quickly.  We each had scheduled meetings with management.  I’ve been in the workforce since I was 16 years old and this was my first experience with something like this, I have never been fired from anywhere, but first time for everything, right? Waiting for my scheduled meeting was nerve-racking to say the least. I feel like I finally have a real and honest glimpse into what it feels like to lose your job suddenly. Yes, we all know about the unemployment situation that exists in our country but until it happens to you, then you don’t really know what that feels like.  You don’t really know all the thoughts that go through your mind, the doubts, the fears, the anxiety, the unlimited stress that comes at you from every angle.

In these individual meetings with management each employee was given a specific timeframe for the remainder of their employment.  Some people were asked to leave immediately, some were given 6 months, some were even given a year, me, I was given three months. Yes, three months to live (at work).  Now, I’ve always heard that the mature responsible thing is that you should have a cushion of savings in the event that something like this happens.  The recommended amount has always been enough to last you about six months to year.  I don’t know about you guys (the average person) but I do not have 6 months to a year of savings set aside to cover my expenses, so naturally panic set in, severe panic.  The thing is I’ve already been dealing with some stressful medically related financial situations as a result of the accident that happened earlier this year that I was trying to finalize and wrap up and now this. I don’t need to be unemployed now! I certainly did not need this added stress.  So, the panic set in and the anxiety so I prayed and waited on that peace that passes all understanding because clearly in this situation I’m not there yet.

So, here’s what happened next, someone I worked with previously that had been my manager in the past reached out to me when they heard the news.  We kept in touch, so it wasn’t strange that I heard from him, but what was surprising is that he wanted to offer me a job.  That’s great right? No, it’s not great actually.  He didn’t go into great detail about the position but he did mention that I would need to learn some new skills and that there was some finance and accounting involved.  The thing is, I hate numbers, with a passion.  I could not imagine leaving what I do now to crunch numbers for eight hours a day for the next however many years.  Now to be clear, I can manage finances and accounting just fine, my own that is, but I have absolutely no interest in immersing myself in that for a career. Was I grateful for the opportunity that he was extending to me? Of course, I was about to become unemployed soon so any job is better than no job in my case.  However, if I’m given 3 months to live (at work) is it so wrong to want to take the time to seek  new employment doing something that I would actually like and enjoy?

So I spent the next few days looking for other jobs and coming to the realization that I don’t really want any of these other jobs, they don’t excite me.  There didn’t seem to be anything else out there that I really wanted to do.  I had to wonder, don’t I fit anywhere else? What I really want is to just write and evangelize, but unfortunately no one is lining up around the block to pay me to do those things. Why wasn’t I borne into a wealthy family where getting my bills paid would be the least of my concerns? Am I really the only one who has ever thought that thought? Regardless, I’m  educated, experienced and I have a good skillset so I knew I was employable but what if I didn’t find an equitable job within the three month timeframe.  So I worried for a few days about not finding another job in time and being forced to take the finance related job and being miserable but at least I would be earning a living and have my bills paid. That’s what it’s all about right?  I owe, I owe, I owe, so off to work I go. My mother used to say that to me, I get it now.

Then one evening a few days later I got the call, the hiring manager for the position called me and said I was referred to him by my previous manager.  I was completely caught off guard and unprepared; I wasn’t ready for an impromptu phone interview.  Surprisingly the conversation was natural and went very well.  I learned more about the company, their vision, their goals and much more about the position and at that point I realized I had literally been worrying for nothing.  There would be some finance and accounting related to the position but it would not be the bulk of my duties, what I would be required to learn and know would actually be performed by other staff members but the position simply required that I know it as well.  The reality was that this job was an advancement opportunity in my career field, it was a promotion.  Now that I had more information and a better understanding I began to feel excited that I can actually do this job, and be good at it.  The hiring manager ended the call by saying that they would like to bring me on in a few weeks and that he would be in touch with the details.  One door closing, another door opening I was beginning to feel better about everything.  I felt like God was looking out for me and that he had lined this up just for me, my heart swelled with the utmost gratitude.

There’s more to this story, the irony is I never intended to stay with this company as long as I did. During my employment with them I was always on the lookout for something else, I had even been on interviews but for some reason things never worked out.  This year was the year that I was determined to leave but then I had a sudden accident and that changed all my plans.  This company that I was so determined to get away from treated me with extreme kindness and generosity while I dealt with my accident related health issues.  I now know why God kept me here as long as he did even though I tried many times before to leave. He knew that the accident would happen and that he would use this company to bless me and sustain me during that situation.  I had also told God that I want this year to be my absolute last year with this company; I needed to move on and grow.  According to my scheduled management meeting guess what my last day there is supposed to be…December 31st 2013. How accurate is that as an answer to my prayer.

In my About Me page I stated that I am an ever learning ever growing child of the Most High God and I really am.  Sometimes I think I’ve mastered and understood something like faith or patience and then a situation happens and I have to learn to apply these things all over again.  Sometimes you pray a prayer that seems to not get answered for a very long time or sometimes you wonder if God is even listening or paying attention at all.  We will not always be privy to what God is doing and working on for us behind the scenes.  So through all the strange, weird, and crazy circumstances I have experienced I am learning and trying hard to remember that none of this that I experience should scare me, because I can trust my God, he knows what he’s doing.

Hebrews 11:6

6But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Deuteronomy 31:8

8 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

When a train

Trusting God Completely

Relatable song:

He Is With Us by Love & The Outcome

Follow me on twitter: @MerakiBlog

 

Revisiting Death (Death and Dying) Part 2

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Everday is

The reality is time flies even when you’re not having fun.  It was the two year anniversary of her husband’s death and now she said she was finally ready to close the chapter and turn the page on this part of her life.   She was back in town now, and on that morning I sent her a text to say “May the Lord be with you today, and how are you?”  She replied with, “I’m hurting”.  I met up with her later on and as I watched her empty out her storage unit once and for all my heart broke for her as I was reminded of everything we had been through together.  I couldn’t imagine suddenly losing my husband, my soul mate, after mere months of blissful marriage, they were only newlyweds.  I could not fathom what she went through and continues to go through as a result of that experience.  As I stood helping her unpack and repack, I saw that the person that stood before me was a frail thin shadow of her former self.  Clearly and understandably his death had taken a huge toll on her.

Over dinner on the night before she still struggled to understand why he died so young, so tragically.  She had accepted his death now and I was comforted to learn that in the end the experience had brought her closer to God. Then she confessed to me that sometimes even now, two years later she still doesn’t have an appetite. She didn’t have to confess it, it showed.  Very late that night, when all the packing was done and everything was ready to go, she made a little speech to those of us who had gathered to help her pack away her past. She gave heartfelt thanks to us, for being there for her two years ago and for being there for her now. After many sets of hugs and kisses we said our goodbyes.  Her speech solidified for me the feeling I always had about our paths crossing, because little did I know that after we met she would need me like she did and that I would be there for such an important part of her life.  I was grateful for the way that God had allowed me to be a blessing to her because if I had to live through what she did, I would definitely want and need people there for me.  It was a horrible experience and I am so glad she did not face it alone.

The next day after everything was taken care of and she had flown away I had some quiet time to reflect on her visit and I realized perhaps we were taking it too personally.  Perhaps she and I were taking his death and the loss too personally.  However, I don’t think this was personal, I don’t think it had anything to do with us, whatever went on that resulted in his death was between him and God. God is a good God who loves us and ultimately wants the best for us, God certainly didn’t allow his death to happen just to spite us or to purposely cause us pain.  The more I reflected on this the more deeply I understood that when bad things happen, we shouldn’t take it personally and we shouldn’t blame God.  Bad things can be a result of enemy attacks, bad luck, or a series of decisions we have made over time, or sometimes all it takes is one bad decision to set things in motion causing a permanent negative effect for us.  All actions have negative and positive consequences and once an action is completed the consequence (whether positive or negative) has to follow.  That’s simply a basic fact of life.  Even so, there are things that are unexplainable and will never be understood, for me seemingly untimely deaths fall into this category because I am still unable to say for certain whether this death was God’s plan for his life or whether this just happened.

At the end of the day, God has a plan, his plans were laid before the foundation of the world, he knows everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen. We are the ones caught by surprise, not God.  We have to trust God’s wisdom that in allowing us to experience painful losses we get a deeper understanding of who he is and also a deeper understanding of ourselves. Death is inevitable, most times you don’t get an invitation to die, death just shows up.  That’s amongst the many reasons why we must be born again and be ready to die at any time because the truth is any breath could be your last.

Ecclesiastes 3
King James Version (KJV)
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven… a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

Ecclesiastes 12
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
13 Now, what should we learn from everything that is written in this book? The most important thing a person can do is to respect God and obey his commands.

God can heal a broken heart When God Pushes You Gods purposes for today

Relatable song:
No Matter What by Kerrie Roberts

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Unexpectedly Death Came Knocking (Death and Dying) Part 1

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When my heart is overwhelmedUnexpectedly death came knocking, literally days after the highly anticipated dinner where I was finally introduced to him for the first time.  I had no idea what we were all about to encounter together.  The next time I saw him, he was laying in a bed in the ICU with tubes everywhere, machines beeping and an oxygen mask on his face. He flashed me the biggest warmest smile that he could muster then just a few short moments later we were ushered out of the room and he slipped into a medically induced coma.  I spent the entire two weeks that he was in that hospital ICU either by her side, by his side or thinking about them. Despite all the medicine, prayers and well wishes, he still died.  The experience solidified for me everything I’ve always heard; about life being short, here today gone tomorrow, and not taking people or anything in this life for granted.  This isn’t the first person I’ve known that died, but this death and the way it happened was so up close and personal for me and I felt personally invested in the fight for his life. She spent every single day in that hospital, she lived there with him for those two weeks, and for a lot of that I was with her, crying and praying there, sleeping there, eating there and practically living there for a few days too.

This loss was especially difficult because from the moment that I met this girl she and I had a connection and it was clear to me that our paths were meant to cross for a reason and in the two weeks I spent at that hospital I now knew exactly why.  When we first met we clicked instantly and in many ways she became like a sister to me.  One of the reasons why I felt our paths were meant to cross was because our lives ran parallel to each other, or at least to me it seemed that way. When she and I first met we were both pretty comfortable in clearly uncomfortable relationships, meaning we were both in relationships that needed ending.  At that point I already knew I wanted out of mine but the timing never seemed quite right.  However, with a lot of prayer and a shocking revelation my relationship ended quite abruptly by my choosing.  Having cleared my own hurdle I urged her to do the same, but as the saying goes you can only lead a horse to water. As always, timing is everything and hers was coming very soon I just didn’t know it then.

Four months after my relationship ended things between an acquaintance and I began to get pretty interesting and I got to know this acquaintance much better and fell hard for him.  This happened for me in February and for her in April.  So, I now saw another parallel in our lives begin.  When I finally met him they seemed to fit perfectly like two puzzle pieces and they were so happy together, this was the happiest I had seen her, ever.  They were in love and had just been married, so when he died so suddenly it crushed me because I knew what she had found in him.

After he died, she said to me that they had a lot of beautiful memories and that she has absolutely no regrets.  Her statement made me realize that length of relationship is not always equivalent to depth of relationship, and I can agree from experience that this is true.  They were in each other’s lives for less than a year. During that time together neither of them had been happier and then just like that he died and it was over.  As she struggled to come to terms with the reality of the situation, so did I. However, I had come to the realization a long time ago that I will live and die and have many of my questions unanswered. So in order to gain some sort of peace I had to just accept these circumstances and just be grateful for the gift of life because for right now it was still mine, still hers, and for now it’s also still yours…

Ecclesiastes 3
King James Version (KJV)
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. 2 A time to be born, and a time to die…

God has a reason

God is there

God is our refuge

Relatable song:
Praise You In This Storm by Casting Crowns

Follow me on twitter: @MerakiBlog

Big Big Plans (or so I thought!)

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and this is the partThe accident was devastating for me. The year 2013 was supposed to be my year, I had big big plans, this was supposed to be the year that everything in my life finally came together, everything was so close I could just see it!  I had my goals all laid out; in 2013 I was getting a better job, I was in a great relationship that was certainly headed for the next level in 2013, and I was starting a house re-modeling project and eventually moving, these were my plans. The accident halted all of that almost as soon as 2013 began.  Everything happened so fast and so suddenly and absolutely through no fault of my own. I didn’t even know who to blame, God or the devil.  Now I was facing 3 to 6 months of physical therapy at a frequency of 3-5 times a week, no high heels (are you kidding me!) and no lifting – carry nothing over 5lbs. I felt like the proverbial rug had been pulled from out under me just as I was on the brink of a great year and that I had been literally crippled because of it.

I’m very independent and self-sufficient always have been, how am I supposed to do anything now…rely on others, yeah right?!  Thinking of the months ahead seemed like my worst nightmare come true.  The experience has not been fun, to be completely honest; I’m still dealing with this, still working through it, still coming to terms with my new reality, many months after the fact.  But, the good news is God never fails and he placed people in my life to ensure that all my needs were always met, even needs I didn’t even know I had.  Yes, the pain was excruciating but it did not match or come close to the pain of losing my independence. It felt like my essence had been taken from me, like everything that makes me who I am had been taken from me, or almost everything.  In short, I hated it.  I don’t feel like the situation broke me, but I felt broken, this is blatantly contradictory, I know, but its my reality. Of course the situation could have been worst, much worst and I’m absolutely grateful that it wasn’t but I still hated the way that in the blink of an eye this situation immediately and drastically changed my way of life.

I know who I am, independent, self-sufficient, can do it all and in 6 inch heels and now since the accident I was helpless, dependent and very very humbled.  The circumstances forced me to focus on whose I am. I knew God would continue to take care of me as I dealt with this and that he probably had some lesson or lessons to teach me in this experience, but at the start of this I was nothing short of furious, I had my own plans for this year and the accident was not at all a part of it.

The moral of the story is that we can plan all we want throughout this life, but we will oftentimes receive a subtle (or not so subtle) reminder that we are not in control, God is.  As I started to end this post I was reminded of the Apostle Paul, perhaps his attitude is one of the lessons that I needed to learn and adopt during this experience.
 
Philippians 4:11-12 New International Version (NIV)

“11 …for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

Paul’s secret was simple, he knew that no matter what state he was in, God was in control and that he would be taken care of, so why worry, why fret, why get upset. God is in control!

Let us also be reminded of Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV), because no matter what we encounter, God has a plan, his plan, which many times is not the same as our plan…

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ”

Serenity Prayer

Relatable Song:
Click on the link below
Help Me Find It by Sidewalk Prophets

Follow me on twitter: @MerakiBlog

Aside

The Unspoken Truth (Suicidal Thoughts)

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most comforting words

In general, and definitely within the circle of people that I knew, no one liked to talk about it, think about it, or really even acknowledge its existence.

Whether you believed it was an escape from all the crushing burdens of life that you could no longer bear or whether you believed it was a guaranteed one way ticket to Hell where you would be damned for all eternity, even if they will never ever be honest enough to actually admit it, I’m sure that the majority of people that have walked this earth have at least once, even if only fleeting, considered suicide.

I know I have, and today, I considered it.  Not in the sense that I had my note ready and my rope, or razor, or gun, or life-ending weapon of choice picked out and prepared.  But in the sense that today, life was feeling very much like a crushing burden I could no longer bear and even worse, a crushing burden I simply no longer wanted to bear. I was just tired, mentally and emotionally spent.  I was tired of the trials, the failures and the unmet expectations.  Today I wished that someway, somehow, even if just for a little while I could just escape the constant dull ache in my soul that I had been feeling so strongly for the past few days. I wasn’t happy today, and I couldn’t generate any thoughts in my head that would lead me to believe I would be happy anytime soon.  Each day was just more of the same and I had absolutely no enjoyment in life. 

Sure without fail every single day I got out of bed, went to work, met with friends, watched TV, etc. etc. etc. I went through all the normal motions of life.  On the surface I was absolutely fine.  There was no way of telling that I literally felt on the brink of ending it all.  No one would suspect me of these thoughts either because I was always the strong one, the funny one, the responsible one, the one that encouraged everybody else, and that in and of itself is a tiresome burden to bear.  Even though I do not at all condone their actions or choices, I do not judge drug addicts or alcoholics because after all my time here on this earth I truly deeply understand the need to escape reality sometimes; no matter how misguided the direction of that need is met.

It was really astounding to me how life around me went along as usual, when I felt like my entire insides had been ripped out and that I had died somewhere in the process.  I felt like I had been wiped clean of all joy, and the ease of myself being drawn and slipping into a very dark place.  I knew but didn’t seem to comprehend or care that everyone in life is carrying some type of burden, no matter how happy they seemed with their present life, just like me.

If you can relate to any of this at all or even if you can’t please join me in praying for those who are facing and have faced suicidal thoughts.

For those of you who have faced those thoughts, know this; 2 Corinthians chapter 4 (NIV) verses 8-9: “8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

Also, Matthew 28:20 King James Version (KJV) ”…lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. “ 

God is always with us, even when it doesn’t seem like it.

burdens prayer

The lonely path

Relatable Song:
Click on the link below
Need You Now by Plumb

Follow me on twitter: @MerakiBlog