I’m Just Not Feeling It and That’s Okay

I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.  He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. -Psalm 40:1-3

 

My mentor told me that from ages 38-52 years old, many go through a life change. I imagine this change to be amazing, a chance to become what God created me to be in this life. However, it doesn’t feel that way. It hurts — a lot.  

 

There are many things I used to enjoy that I don’t anymore. There are relationships I have had with friends that have ended. Many of my interests aren’t interesting to me anymore. Right now, I do not know what I want or like, and that frightens me. I usually love writing; except recently, I haven’t had a desire for it. It scares me because this is what I want to do. In the past few months, I wanted to give up. It feels like a midlife crisis of some sort. But one thing I know is that God is faithful, and there is a reason for all this change.

 

Sometimes I wonder, “where are you, Lord?” Even King David, in the book of Psalms, wondered where the Lord was in his times of grief and despair. David was faithful, though. Me, not so much. When I am in the midst of change, it is hard to see the outcome. The enemy comes and distracts me from what I should be doing to get there. 

 

I feel pressure to perform and to pan every second of my life.  But, I cannot know until I try and even possibly fail. Failure isn’t always a waste of time. It can also be the opposite of regret.

 

If you feel like giving up, please do not! Doubt and worry are the enemy’s tools for stopping us from attaining God’s purpose for us.  I want things done quickly and easily. But God does not ever do anything in a hurry. He moves in His timing. May you take shelter in the mighty arms of our God.

 

Lesson Learned: Change is inevitable and necessary. Allow God to work it out.

 

Prayer:

‘Dear Heavenly Father, help me in my times of need. Give me endurance and energy to make it through tough times. Thank you for your protection. May your will be done. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

A Blessed, Hot Mess

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:17

 

There are days where it feels like a struggle to exist.   In those days, there is too much going on, or the worries are piling up.  However, when we are in the midst of difficult, we need to remember God is still in control and there is a lesson to be learned.

 

The enemy likes to attack Sundays before church.  Here are some instances that have occurred in my family:  no one wants to get out of bed, and then the family is running late,  getting dressed is like attempting a common core math word problem and breakfast gets dropped on the floor or stains a shirt.  Oh, joy!

 

I was having one of those Sundays, where there was no flow.  It had been a few weeks after my concussion, and I still had vertigo episodes.  While I was still recovering from the issue, my father started having excruciating pain from back and hip problems.  The stress was building up, and I was being to feel it more in my body.

 

I was trying to listen to the worship music at church, and I was sensitive to the sound and had to leave the sanctuary.  As I walked outside, a woman I knew saw me and said hello. She could tell I was not feeling well. I told her about my vertigo and my father’s health issues.  The woman said, “well aren’t you a hot mess?” For some reason, that upset me hearing that. It was not her saying it, but how I was sharing all of my problems and giving that impression that my life was a hot mess.

 

Our negative words and thoughts produce adverse outcomes.  Words can be life or death. Even though these problems I was facing were temporary, I was still blessed.  I had so much always to be grateful for though I felt terrible and worried.

 

There have been some bad experiences in my life.   But those experiences have helped out someone to avoid them.  Some of these failures have become our most excellent teachers, and through our sufferings, we find Christ.  In our worst days, we can remember that God loves us. That is the best thing in the world. Allow that to change your negative bias into a positive one.

 

Lesson Learned: God loves us even if we feel like a hot mess.  We are more than that to Him.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for only seeing the bad in my life.  Thank you that those times are temporary. Let healing and restoration take place in all areas of our lives.  Help us see how blessed we are so we can help those in true need. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Let’s Stop Beating Ourselves Up

“Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by hand.” Proverbs 37:24

In life there are past situations that we mull over and wonder, “what were we thinking?” We ruminate and examine other outcomes. These thoughts negatively change the way we view ourselves. For some reason, we will rehash these thoughts even though it can’t help what has already passed.

A friend of mine told a group of us about a mistake he made. I could feel the pain and shame he felt from it. However, it was easily fixable and something that would not cause a lifetime of pain. He just felt it was one of those mistakes that could have been avoided. We have all been there.

His story reminded me of a car accident I had about 10 years ago. I was in a parking lot where there was a Costco and PetsMart. Costco was not open yet, so the parking lot was virtually empty. I parked on an end spot which was next to a cart return.

After I got my items at the pet supply store, I got in the car and drove forward since no one was parked in front of me. Then there was this sound that occurred that I will never forget. I did not realize how close I was to the cart return and I scraped the entire length of my truck. There was a man standing watching me do this to my truck. His has a pained look on his face. As I got out of the truck, he said, “I don’t think you want to see the damage.”

I took my car to the auto body shop to get an estimate. The adjuster asked me what happened. I started to tell him and began crying. He walked over and saw it and went , “oooooh!” The expression on his face described exactly how I felt. I kept telling him, how stupid I felt. He said, “this is the first time I have heard or seen this and it won’t be the last. Please forgive yourself. It is okay, we will fix it.”

It took me awhile to forgive myself but I ultimately did. I realized we all have had a “facepalm” moment. Mulling over them shakes our confidence and causes us to be doubtful about our abilities. As embarrassing and annoying as these mistakes are, it should not define us.

Lessons Learned: Facepalm moments are inevitable. Learn from those mistakes and try not to mull over them. And avoid parking next to the cart return.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, let us learn from our mistakes and not rehash them. Forgive us and heal us from our shame. Let us be able to laugh it off. May our identity be in Christ instead of by our mistakes. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

Guarded by God

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”  Psalm 91:11

 

Have you ever wondered why things happen the way they do?  There have been countless times, when things go badly, I grudgingly ask, “why?!”  God has good reason to allow things to happen.  One Sunday Morning, I was thankful for something going wrong.

 

Every Sunday, before church, I go grocery shopping at two stores.  One Sunday morning, I put cash, allotted from my budget, in my pocket.  Usually, it goes straight in to my wallet, but I thought my pocket was deep enough not to worry.  Also, I just had a car accident, where someone hit me from behind and I wasn’t feeling so great. (It turns out I sustained a concussion from the accident, so I definitely wasn’t well.)

 

At the first store, I did my grocery shopping.  When it was time to pay,  I reached into my pocket and my $100 bill was not there!  Reluctantly, I paid on a credit card.  However, I  decided to go home to look for that $100 bill instead of going to the second store.

 

By the grace of God, I found the $100 bill on the floor.  I put away the groceries and went back out to the second grocery store with that cash secured in my wallet.  I did my shopping and asked for help out, since I was starting to be in some pain.

 

One of the clerks at the store went out to the car with me.  As we exited the store, one of his co-workers was coming back from her meal break.  He said, “you will not believe what happened when you were out on break.  I will catch you up when i come back inside.”  Anyone would have their curiosity piqued by that comment, so  I asked him.

 

He told me something sad happened.  He began to tell me about an elderly customer that always comes into their store.  I interrupted him and said, “does he wear glasses and looks homeless?”  He said, “yes, but he isn’t homeless.  He just died in our parking lot about 30 minutes ago.”  He started to describe what happened.  Thankfully, he spared me most of the medical details.  I told him to take it easy because he witnessed something quite traumatic.  After he put the groceries away, he went back into the store.   I got into the car and began to cry.  

 

I was sad because he died so suddenly and traumatic.  But I heard the Lord say, “this is why I let you temporarily lose that $100 bill.” If I didn’t lose that money and went grocery shopping at this second store, I would have seen the whole thing unfold.   I am in NO way minimizing his death.  But the Lord knows us so well.  If I witnessed this man die, I would have been anxious for weeks, maybe months.

 

This event happened a week after September 11th.  I have read lots of stories where people who worked in the Twin Towers in New York, who were late or didn’t plan to work that day.  Whether it was because they hit traffic, their child got sick, or they had to go to the dentist because of a toothache, these things saved them from death or injury.  I know realize that even though things don’t go according to my  plan, God still has the best plan for me.

 

Lesson Learned: Nuisances can still be a blessing in disguise or a lesson that needs to be learned.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive for wanting life to be easy and perfect all the time.  Thank you for days when they go well and even when days do not.  May I see that your plan is always better than my plan.  I pray for a hedge of protection and your full armor everyday.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

When People Disappoint

“He heals the broken in heart and binds their wounds.” Psalms 147:3

My child has just started 4th grade.  She loves her teacher and seems to desire to do well in school.  Unfortunately, she is having trouble socially.  She has been coming home sad that she lost a friendship.  It is hard to watch.

As a parent, all I want to do is fix the problem for her.  I want to make the hurting she is feeling, to stop.  Yet, deep down I know, this something we all go through in our lives.  These situations build character.

I may be hurt by this more than she. It stirs up a lot of old wounds where I was rejected by friends growing up.  I have done everything within my parental power to try to fix this situation, but nothing has helped.  

Then I came across this photo on Facebook and it came at the right time.  This photo is a great lesson for letting go.

 

        

There are seasons in life, where we  just have to let people or things go.  This can be friendships, relationships with family, a spouse or a significant other, commitments at work or school.  My daughter may have to let this relationship go.  I have to let go of trying to control that I think I have and let my daughter experience life as it is, hurtful and messy.   So, the only option maybe to walk away when we have tried our best to save it.  As difficult as it maybe, life isn’t fair.

We learn we have to cleave to God, when people disappoint us.  Otherwise, our situations or circumstances will continue to drag us down.  We pray for healing of our wounds and restoration in our life.  God never wastes any pain we experience.  God has something or someone better for us in the future.  

America has been going through some tough times.  This country is divided politically on many issues.  Both sides are relentless in their pursuit of trying to prove each other wrong.  It has been bad for the last couple of years and even uglier in the past month.  People are disappointing one another in record levels.  

Recently, North America (as well as other places in the world) have been encountering many natural disasters: hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, and major earthquakes.  In the wake of these natural disasters, we have been seeing strangers being kind to one another and people helping out in anyway they can.  They are giving food, water and shelter to those in need.  Many are putting their lives in danger to rescue others.  The human spirit is alive again.  

Seeing this example of love gives me hope that love truly conquers all.  We can still love someone or something after you have let them go.   And letting go of that someone or something, shows you love yourself.  Let’s learn to love ourselves enough to not be hurt or disappointed, is one of the greatest gifts.

Lesson Learned:  When people disappoint, let go and let God.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for putting my hope in people or circumstances.  Help me to forgive those who have treated me or my family bad.  Let anger, turn to love.  Show me compassion for myself to let go and move on.  Give me discernment when to let things go and when to fight for them.  Help me to remember the season of letting go is short and that you will bring forth a beautiful Spring.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Taking a Break

“Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.”  Proverbs 17:1

 

Rest.  It is necessary and vital.  Most times it is neglected.  But our body and mind feel it when ignored.

 

My husband and daughter began school this past week and it was a stressful week.  We all had to get back a schedule and getting up early. A new school year brings excitement but is also nerve-wracking for teachers and students.  

 

My daughter had a lot of tears and it affected me.  The stress caused me to throw out my back (again).  The pain from the spasms were excruciating and moving made it worse.   It was depressing and upsetting because I was in bed all day for 2 days.  But I knew I needed the rest.

 

I began to feel better and tried to go to the grocery store.  As, I walked around the store, I realized it was a mistake to have gone out.  My back began to tighten and saw soda was on my grocery list.  I saw a store employee in the soda aisle and asked her if she could put them in my cart.

 

This employee named, Patricia, put the soda in my cart.  I told her about throwing out my back a couple of days ago.  Patricia asked, “why are you running errands?  You know your limitations.  Rest and ask for help.  My husband is on permanent disability because of his back.  I hate to see you go down that road.”

 

Society teaches us to be self-reliant and if you rest, you are lazy.  Especially us stay at home mothers, people already think we sit around and do nothing all day.  So you are constantly trying to prove your value because you do not get a paycheck.

 

Besides physical work, mental breaks are important too.  A lot of creative people take breaks because sometimes, there is just nothing to create.  And that is okay.  By taking breaks, it prepares you to be ready when you do need to create.

 

Mother Teresa spent a majority of her life dedicated to serving the people who were sick and impoverished.  A biographer showed her typical schedule in his book.  One would assume that she spent all day serving others. 

This was her schedule:

4:30-5:00 Rise and get cleaned up

5:00-6:30 Prayers and Mass

6:30-8:00 Breakfast and cleanup

8:00-12:30 Work for the poor

12:30-2:30 Lunch and rest

2:30-3:00 Spiritual reading and meditation

3:00-3:15 Tea break

3:15-4:30 Adoration

4:30-7:30 Work for the poor

7:30-9:00 Dinner and clean up

9:00-9:45 Night prayers

9:45 Bedtime

 

Her day was busy, but she took the time to nourish herself and her soul.

 

A friend reminded me of the airline emergency plan speech, where if the oxygen masks drop from overhead, you put yours on first then assist others.   Remembering this is difficult but it is necessary and vital.  God rested too.  Let that soak in as well.  

 

Lesson Learned:  God rested, so I need to as well.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for trying to do too much.  Help me to delegate and ask for help.  Show me areas that I need to take breaks from and even eliminate.  Remind me to take care of myself and not to sweat it when life becomes overwhelming.  Heal us of our infirmities and make us whole again.  Thank you Lord, in Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

I’m not the Only One

I’m not the Only One

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified by His grace as a gift through the redemption that is Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24

In  September of 2002, my husband and I had been married about 6 weeks. We went to the Grand Canyon with some friends. We flew back to Los Angeles. He boarded an airplane with his friends to go hike Half Dome in Yosemite and I left the airport to go home because I had to work the next day.

I stayed with him until his flight left. There was a call for he and his friends to board their flight. I began to tear up because I was going to miss him. A woman saw me crying and walked over to me. She asked, “what is wrong, honey?” I told her, “we  just got married and this is the first night I will be away from him.” She said, “well, ain’t that sweet…but give it 10 years and then you will be happy when he leaves.” I didn’t laugh, I cried more.

Fast forward from that moment to the present, we had just celebrated 15 years of marriage.  My husband’s friend ask him to help their family move across the country.  He asked me if he could help him and I said, “have a great time!” So those woman’s words in the airport, kind of came true.

Part of me couldn’t believe I was glad he was leaving. Guilt set in and I thought I was a horrible wife for wanting some space. And then I wondered if he could take our daughter too. I love them both to the moon and back but for the love of God, I just wanted time alone.

The enemy began to tell me more lies. I began to think that I was the worst mother in the world. I see social media posts of friends with their children explaining about how much they love being home with them and how they do not want the summer to end. And I feel like the biggest jerk for feeling annoyed at my husband and daughter.

I expressed my guilt to my friends.   A lot of them said they were counting the days when school was back in session. Hmmm…so, it isn’t just me. Even my counselor told me that when her husband, who works from home, goes into the office, she feels like celebrating.

Maybe it is true, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I wanted a close knit family, where we spent all of our moments together.  But that didn’t happen. I love them deeply but not enough to be around them all the time. Life is about balance. The enemy wants me to feel isolation, that I am the only one with bad feelings. He reminds me of my history of Postpartum Depression and how rotten I could be around others.

But God reminds me that I am not the only one going through life’s ups and downs. He reminds me that I have a lot to be thankful towards and I can go to Him with my bad thoughts and anger ANYTIME. I can ask for forgiveness and a grateful heart for my life to change this complaining attitude. And still I have God’s grace when I feel annoyed when there are dirty socks and dishes left out.

Lesson Learned: I am reminded that there is always someone going through the same or worse than me. And there is still plenty to be thankful for in my life.

Prayer:
“Dear Lord Jesus, forgive me for complaining about my life. But I thank you for your grace and mercy in the times that I fall short. Continually remind me of your goodness and blessing in my life. Give me a new focus when things are bad times and they are temporary. Remind me to fill myself up with your word and to go to prayer for help. (And thank you that school is starting soon…). In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

I Was Left Out

“My friends, we beg you to warn anyone who isn’t living right.  Encourage anyone who feels left out, help all who are weak, and be patient with everyone.”  1 Thessalonians 5:14

 

Sharing pictures of gatherings on social media should represent fun.  However, when you are not invited and you find out about said event through social media, the hurt feelings come rising to the surface.  Now here’s a party you can attend “pity party for one”.

 

This happened to me, I found about about an event I was not invited to on Facebook.   In these pictures  I see a bunch of my friends taking part in the event.  I could feel all kinds of feelings: hurt, anger, and sadness.  So, I react how any level headed person would do, I post a comment and ask indirectly about the missed invitation to the event.  (Yeah, real classy.)  

 

I received an explanation that I was invited months ago but she said I didn’t give her an answer to helping out.  However, I remember things differently.  I was so angry.  All the bad thoughts started pouring in…“Am I that forgettable?”  “No one likes me.”  “I am always left out.”

 

God gently reminded me that I have a choice, I can either hold a grudge or be responsible for my own feelings and not be hurt by the lack of invites.  Life goes on and my life is still good even without the invites.  

 

No one knows what people are thinking and why they do the things they do.  The burden is too great to figure out how people think.  Move on and be the friend to others that you would want for yourself.  I went back and deleted the comment, since it was a mistake to even write it.

 

Lesson Learned:  You won’t get invited to everything and it is okay.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, may I see that I am valuable even if I am not on people’s guest lists.  Let me be encouraging to people who feel left out.  Reveal in me areas that need change to be a light towards others.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

Social Distortion

“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33

 

Social Media is a slippery slope.  Many people put things out there to share with their real and social media friends and their families.  Usually it is when they look their best or if something good happens to them.  Studies have shown how it triggers anxiety or sadness to those who constantly see it in their feeds.  The nickname, Fakebook, for Facebook is all too true.  

 

I was on Instagram and a lovely woman posted a picture and wrote about her husband.  She talked about how he is a mighty man of God and how blessed she is to have him be the leader of her family.  I imagined that he gathered his wife and kids and led a prayer everyday.  They probably studied The Bible together and had one devotional as a couple and one with their children.    I felt this twinge of disappointment. My husband goes to church and that’s about it.  But I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Pray for him to be what God would want him to be.  Not what this husband is for his family.”

My mind flooded with things that my husband has done that are awesome.  Here are some good that have occurred in our almost 15 years of marriage:

  • I have seen the toilet seat up 2 times
  • doesn’t play video games or have any social media accounts
  • doesn’t buy the newest gadgets or gamble on fantasy football leagues
  • works hard as a public school math teacher and has missed work 5 days in 18 years
  • takes our daughter on “daddy-daughter” dates every week since she was 4 years old, she is 9 now
  • tells me he loves me and our daughter everyday

I realized, I have it really good.

The fact is the enemy uses social media to create discontent and depression.  I have put myself on social media restrictions because of this very thing.  The moment I begin to feel disappointment, I shut it off.  God wants us to be thankful in all things, not depressed.

Honestly, I am glad that the lady I mentioned on Instagram has a wonderful man of God for a husband.  There needs to be more men like him and my husband in this world.

Lesson Learned:  I know what is true and it isn’t on social media.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father,  remove discontent from my life.  Show me daily your goodness.  Reveal the distractions that the enemy puts before me.  Give me the strength to not give into disappointment, real or manifested by social media. In Jesus’ Name.  AMEN!”

What We Need is What We Already Have

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Philippians 4:11

 

We live in a disposable society.  The newest version of whatever comes out and we are drawn to it like a moth to a flame.  Marketing and advertising agents create discontent in our lives, so we can buy their new products.  At what cost?  More debt?  An adverse environmental impact?  Junk we don’t need to impress people we don’t like?  I don’t what any of those.

 

I remember appliances lasting 20+ years.  Now it seems if you get 10 years out of them, you are considered lucky.  Cell phones?  Forget it.  It seems when your contract was up in 2 years, your phone is ready to quit as well.  My husband hardly uses his cell phone.  He gets calls, emails and texts and checks the occasional football score, but that is it.  I am lucky if I can make it the end of the day before I have to plug it in.

 

This past November, our cell phone contract was finished.  I was itching to get a new phone.  But as technology changes, so does the cell phone carrier’s way of billing you.  Now they charge you monthly just to have that specific phone besides the call, text and data.  My husband’s phone was practically new.  My phone still looked and operated just fine.  When we looked into the costs, we decided we are going to keep our phones until they disintegrated.   We also asked the carrier to adjust our billing rate since we are month-to-month now.  We were able to lower our bill $40 a month for the exact the same service.

I was stoked to say the least!

 

Many times, we are discontented because someone else has something better: their relationship with God seems more holy, their relationship with their spouse seems happier, their kids are more well-behaved, they have a nicer home.  We see their edited pictures on social media.  Little do we know, it took 20 times to get the picture just right.  Not real life.

 

I realized that I already have what I need most of the time.  There is nothing wrong with new stuff.  I like it as much as the next person.  As long as I can afford it and there is a true need for it, there is nothing wrong with having it.  But when I already have gently worn shoes and clothes, do I need more?  Do I need a new phone and computer that works just fine, even if there are 5 new models that came out since I purchased it?  No, of course not.

 

I hope that God continues to show me, I already have everything I need.  May I give to those who are truly lacking and appreciate my blessings.

 

Lesson Learned: There is someone who wishes they have what I already have.  I am thankful for my current life.

 

Prayer:  

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for my life as it is already.  I pray that my life does not harbor any discontentment.  Thank you for the country I live in.  I thank you for everything I take for granted.  Help me take care of all in my life.  In Jesus’ Name.  AMEN!”