Neutrality Does Not Bring Forth Change

The last few days, feelings of sadness, despair, hopelessness, and anger have been ruminating in my soul. I have not found the right words to describe my feelings. But, I cannot wait for the right or politically correct words anymore. Racism needs to end now. Police brutality needs to end now. The violence needs to end now. Justice for George Floyd and all those who died at the hands of an oppressor.

I used to dream of living in Switzerland. Ever since I saw the movie musical, “The Sound of Music” and saw the Von Trapp Family escape the Nazi controlled Austria into Switzerland, I thought, being neutral seems like the way to go. No war meant, no innocent lives lost, no soldiers lost, death and destruction would be eluded. However, if the voice that spoke out against injustice would remain ignored, there would have been no advancement in society. If you remain quiet, you will not be heard and change cannot occur.

I’m half Korean and half Ashkenazi Jewish (according to the genetic tests), born in Los Angeles. I’ve been called a mail-order bride from a white person, who I thought was my friend. They said they were joking, but I wasn’t laughing. People asking me if my parents got together because my father was in the Army and he rescued her from her country (no, they met in Marina del Rey at a dance club in the 1970s). A couple of male co-workers, who sexually harassed me, saying I’m their Asian fantasy (and no, I wasn’t dressed inappropriately or showed any interest in them).

And because I am bi-racial, I get confused for other races, like Hispanic. About twelve years ago, I was pulled over for a burned-out brake light and then harassed by the local Sheriff for 20 minutes, accusing me of having drugs because I had a similar vehicle of the apparent drug dealer. And there were no drugs in my car because I don’t do the drugs. I was compliant and answered all of his questions, but he continued to scream at me. I shook because I felt scared. After all, I didn’t know where this would lead. He was so angry and accusatory without just cause. When he realized I wasn’t the Hispanic person he was looking for, he said I was free to go. I sat in my car thinking, “Is this what a black person or other minorities goes through daily?”

The debates on why things are happening right now are endless. There are blanket judgments formed against the protestors, where they are being lumped into the actions of the looters. Now is not the time to distract from the systemic issue, racism from powerful entities. You can go back hundreds of years, on how America was stolen from the Native Americans, how slaves-African and Asian built this country, and where Hispanics continue to do the work Americans don’t want to do for way less money. The violence against them is ingrained into generations. You cannot expect the oppression against them to produce peace. Once their voices have been heard and change has become final, then peace will be produced. It starts with you voicing your outrage, creating change in government by your vote, and most importantly-what you teach the next generation.

No matter your religious belief, it starts with you and me. In my opinion, I do believe Jesus is the answer to all of this. If we imitate Jesus, love one another, and allow God to change our hearts, we can help complete the necessary change. I hope everyone who encounters a true follower of Christ will see Jesus in us.

If you are a Christian and people don’t know this about you, examine your life. Look within yourself and ask if you contribute to the problem. Do you listen to the wrong voice that keeps racism alive? What do you support and promote? Do you think and react like that woman who wanted to call the police and falsely accuse, Christian Cooper, a black man of harassing her, just because he asked her to put her dog on a leash in an area where dogs were supposed to be on a leash? It is time to stop pointing fingers, judging one another, and start creating the right kind of change. Seek forgiveness from our Heavenly Father.

The world feels like a chapter in Revelations right now. If you can see all the things that have come to light in the past several years in the world-human trafficking, climate change, sexual harassment, gender inequality, police brutality, racism, and this pandemic of Covid-19 (to name a few). We can learn from every single one of these problems, things need to change or we will fall deeper into evil.

May we find hope our hope in Jesus Christ and help to create the healing necessary for one another. Pray for the world.


Lesson Learned: Neutrality never solved problems.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, may the peace that surpasses all understanding flood Earth right now. Let the violence end right now. Heal the hearts of the broken. Change the hearts of those that cause the issues. Protect the innocent and let your justice be served. For all of those who lost their business due to looting, redeem their losses. Open the ears and hearts of the complacent government leaders to bring forth change. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

Self-Discovery in Quarantine

My faith was shaken today. I cursed at God. I told Him, I don’t want to believe in Him anymore. More unpleasant words flew out of my mouth, and tears streamed down my cheeks.  

Yesterday, my husband and I got into an argument on our walk with the dog. I saw huge amounts of dog poop on the grass for anyone to step in. I said, “these irresponsible, f-ing people piss me off!” He got upset with me and said I have been complaining about everything. I call my husband, “the great compartmentalizer.” He can leave work at work and home life at home. All areas of my life bleed into one another.

I asked him what he wanted from me. He said, I want to come home without hearing you and our daughter argue (our daughter is 12, almost 13 years old-easier said than done) and for all of us to go on a family walk willingly. Maybe that isn’t too much to ask, but when I am angry, and in pain, I don’t feel capable.  

I came inside after our walk and Googled, “why do I complain too much?” And this article came up. One of the steps said to be less judgmental. I thought, “well, I don’t judge.” Well, I admit it now, I do(a lot!), and we all do it! When I stay in that mindset of negativity and only seeing the bad in everything, how can I ever see anything good?

The world has seen a lot of change in the past few months. We all have had to re-arrange our lives. In some way, we all have had to grieve something. A lost job, canceled events, no school, even losing a loved one. Traumas we have dealt with in our lives somehow found a way back. My trauma is an eating disorder.

Every morning during this quarantine, I have stepped on the scale. Ounces gained became pounds, which turned into binding shame. Those voices of negativity and hatred are in my head again. I want the ground to swallow me up. I don’t look down at anyone the way I look down at myself. The pain is deep and vast.

So today, after I cast my anger at God, I asked for forgiveness. I prayed for God to reveal Himself to me in my daily bible reading. I went to my Bible app, and the reading consisted of Job Chapters 1 and 2, Luke 6, and Revelations 4. Job 1 and 2 dealt with his life in utter turmoil and pain, yet he never cursed God. Luke 6 explained judging others, amongst other important things. And Revelations 4 ended with verse 11, “worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and your will they existed and were created.” God delivered me answers to my pleas. Also, today is our trash pick up day, and the scale found its way into the trash bin.

I have years of experience in thinking in a negative way, which developed neural pathways of negativity. It hasn’t been beneficial to me. The good news is, neural pathways can change. My therapist said two things to me that helped me today—the first piece of advice, the brain changes in increments, not all at once. So, do not expect negative behaviors to go away after you decide to change. And second, when you do catch yourself reacting negatively, you can say, here is the new way I can handle it.

Everyone is affected by this COVID-19. May the virus be eradicated, and we find real meaning in our lives. Until then, be gentle with yourselves!

Lesson Learned: I see God cares for me, and neural pathways aren’t permanent.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I believe for the complete eradication of COVID-19 in the name of Jesus. I pray for healing and restoration for everyone who has become a victim of it. I pray for the loved one who lost a family member to COVID-19. I pray for comfort and peace during their mourning. Protect the first responders and hospital staff who are treating patients every day. Father God, I lift every person with mental illness and who are in abusive situations during this quarantine. Make a way Lord, for clarity or a way out. Thank you, Jehovah Shalom. Give provision to those who have lost work and revive this economy. Forgive us, Lord, for not trusting in you. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

It is Never a Good Time to Worry

I read a devotional this morning on the Bible app, You Version. The study is entitled, “How to Stop Worrying.” The devotion defined worry as to torment oneself with cares and anxieties. As I read that definition, it felt like a 2×4 to the face.


Everyone has thoughts on the things that most concern them. We can plan the best ways to meet our goals or take care of dire situations. But when these thoughts turn to worry, they torment us.


I allowed worry to be a daily exercise in my life. However, most times, the things I worried about never came to pass.


Be conscious of your thoughts and the words you speak. When there is a deep history of living your life in worry, it will take a while to undo it. Have grace with yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up when you catch yourself worrying.


If you catch yourself in that mode of worry, say, “Oh! I have a worrisome thought.” Then ask yourself, “If I continue to dwell on this, will I be able to remain positive or be anxious?” If it is the latter, choose to change your focus.


In these perilous times, worry will not solve anything. I have spent the last few weeks, taking a lot of deep breaths, finding solace in prayer, trusting in the Lord and meditation, communicating with others (online), and watching light shows. May you find peace from worry today.

Uncover Your Faith

DF1EF0CD-4AB6-4643-9611-AE3A58D9FF16

Today, I saw a feature on a television program about Reverend Dr. Lakeesha Walrond.  She became the first woman president of the New York Theological Seminary.  The feature story contained her recollection of when she heard her calling in the church, her plans for her presidency and how she endured sexual molestation at the age of nine.

The interviewer asked her how do you talk to people who have lost their faith.  Rev. Dr. Walrond answered, “Faith isn’t lost, it’s just covered.”  I felt this surge in my spirit.  Faith is covered by many things, such as our circumstances, fear, anxiety, health issues, and doubt.

Our God is bigger than our greatest obstacles.  Be encouraged today to uncover your faith!  Remove that negativity and put your thoughts towards God.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, may I put my trust in you each and every day.  May I remember all the blessings in my life and for my faith to increase.  Give me strength and endurance during difficult times.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

Allow God to Surprise You

 

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21

Christmas time is here. Tomorrow, many will open gifts and admire all they received. Children have been eagerly waiting for this day to open their gifts. Their wait will soon be over.

When I was a 6th grader, a popular brand of clothing was “Maui and Sons.” They were a surf brand. If you wore an item of clothing from this brand, everyone noticed you at school. I asked, actually begged and pleaded with my parents for a sweatshirt. This brand was not cheap, so I knew my only chance was to receive it as a present for Christmas.

My mom would place empty boxes under the tree as decoration. Then she would put items for us in those boxes the night before, so the presents were ready on Christmas Day. A couple of weeks before Christmas, I sat by the tree, admiring the decorations. I saw the empty boxes under the tree, and curiosity struck me, so I picked one up and shook it. I did not feel anything. I picked up another and shook that one and heard something inside. The temptation was too strong, so I carefully slid my finger under the lid and lifted the corner of the box. I peaked inside and saw a pink “Maui and Sons” sweatshirt. My heart was beating out of my chest from the excitement. Then I thought I ruined the surprise and now I have to keep this from my parents.

As the day continued, I felt more guilty. I didn’t realize it, but the guilt showed in my actions. My dad asked me what the matter was. I couldn’t take the guilt, and I began crying. I told him I peeked and saw my Christmas present. My father was not happy. He said, “well, that was your big gift, and now you won’t have anything to look forward too.” That mistake was a defining moment in my life to learn to be patient.

That moment in my life reminds me of how impatient I am with God working in my life. I keep wanting to know what He wants me to do with my life. I try to force things and make things happen when it isn’t time. I feel like an impatient child in those days leading up to Christmas. I am peeking in the box before it is time.

God knows what needs to happen. It may feel like we are going around in circles or moving farther away from the goal, but God aligns everything for us in the perfect time.  Allow God to surprise you!

Lesson Learned: Allow God to surprise you. No peeking!

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me when I try to figure out everything on my own. I put my trust in you. You know the way. Thank you for every surprise you give me. Help me anticipate with wonder and excitement for all you plan for me. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Everyone’s Journey is Different

#165 Blog Post-Everyone's Journey is Different

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

As I entered adulthood, I began to have debilitating anxiety. I would receive (unwanted) advice from people regarding anxiety. Their advice of “stop worrying so much” hurt me more than it helped.

A former co-worker of mine wanted to become an esthetician. She asked me if she could practice giving a facial. Of course, I jumped at the chance. For some reason, those intimate environments cause people to open up. I brought up the subject of anxiety and the troubles I had. She scoffed at me and said, “aren’t you a Christian? I thought your God helped you?” Her words hurt me. I wanted to melt into the table and evaporate.

My issue was this, the trauma that I experienced in my life clouded my ability to trust in the Lord. She was sort of correct, though, in a mean and condescending way.

Everyone’s journey to healing is different. Here has been my path (so far). I prayed. I cried. I had others pray for me. I read the Bible. I did Bible studies. I attended church and weekend conferences. I had years of therapy, coaching, and bodywork. I took medication. I ended toxic relationships. I kept boundaries. All of these things helped me to get on the path of healing. I did wish for God to heal me after one prayer. However, I know every hurt I experienced brought me the knowledge I have today. Neurolinguistic trainer, Al Sargent said, “There are no experts in a new experience.” In my young adult days, I wasn’t experienced yet to walk in victory. As I look back, it was okay that I didn’t have all the answers.

My name, Colette, means victorious. The enemy knows my weaknesses and wants me to forget God has already made me victorious. God doesn’t want me to suffer but to thrive. I can rest in His arms and allow Him to fight my battles for me.

Lesson Learned: My journey is different than others, but I am already victorious in Him.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you, Lord! Help me walk victoriously in you. Remind me of all the times; you have carried me. Thank you for your grace and mercy. I believe I am healed. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Spring Forward

“But the path of righteousness is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.”  Proverbs 4:18

 

Springtime brings forth growth and possibilities.  We see it in nature with beautiful blooming flowers and the birth of baby animals.  The winter snow begins to thaw and we feel like we can take a breath. I feel renewed during this time of year (along with my allergy medication).

 

The time change happens this time of year, as well.  Though, this is no fun. I feel like I have jet lag for 3 weeks until my body adjusts.  After the adjustment, though, I feel like I have energy and motivation to do better.

 

One morning, I woke up to the words, “Spring Forward!”.  It felt like bolt of electricity and it jolted me to sit up quickly in bed.  I knew it was the Lord. I don’t know who the word was for, but I knew it was important and I had to share it.  There was a sense of joy and confidence from that term. Usually, when I hear “Spring Forward”, I think of the dreaded time change.  However, this time, I knew it was a comforting word from the Lord.

 

I feel there is a shift in the atmosphere for a lot of us.  This is the time, where many things we have been waiting for or working towards, will happen in this season.  We must remain alert and open to hearing direction from God.

 

There is no time to quit.  The work of God will be complete.  Remain hopeful and expecting for this season.  

 

Lesson Learned:  When you hear a word from the Lord, test it out and share it with others!

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for ears to hear and eyes to see and a heart open for towards you.  I am blessed to hear you, Heavenly Father. Help me remember what you say and direct my ways. Thank you for renewal, restoration, and answered prayers.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Don’t Get Sucked into Overreacting

“But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”  Galatians 5:15

Confrontation is a part of life.  Some people avoid it; others engage happily.  There are times, where we will have conversations with people, who want to suck the energy out of us.  Try to avoid having your power from getting sucked out of you!

Many years ago, I was the office manager for a Family Practice Physician.  When people are sick, it can bring the worse out of them. Add in, owing money for services rendered, makes people even more upset.  

I had to deal with a trying patient, who owed a large balance.  She began to argue with me. I said, “the doctor deserves payment for the services you used, so how would you like to take care of this payment, today?”  She tried to rile me up.   I paused and repeated the same thing. After the third time, I replied, “since you cannot speak to me politely, you have a choice, you either pay now over the phone or by 5:00 p.m. Otherwise, you will be sent to collections since you are 180 days past due. The choice is yours.”  Thankfully, she paid.  She tried one more jab and said, “I don’t want to be a patient here.” I told her, ‘“sounds great! Let me know when you decide for sure so that I can assist you,” and I hung up the phone.

It is never easy to deal with people who have messy lives.  They want to blame everyone for their unfortunate situation and bring everyone down with them.  Your energy and health will suffer when you try to converse with people like this. It is just not worth it.  God wants us to have healthy boundaries with unhealthy people. It is not our burden to try and save everyone; only God can do that if they want it.  Free yourself from any unnecessary drama.

Lesson Learned: Do not engage with people who are energy suckers.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, give me discernment when I deal with difficult people.  Remind me not to get involved with the drama of the situation. Help me be a light to those who need you.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

Don’t Let Sin Destroy Your Life

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Sin comes in a variety of ways. It can be outright evil, or it can be sneaky. Sneaky sin is scary. If you don’t ask for forgiveness and help from God to resist it, it takes root in your life.

When I was nine years old, my parents and I were at a mall at a surf and ski shop. There were magazines and pamphlets by the front door. At first glance, they were labeled “free.” I noticed one magazine with its bright, beautiful pictures of the ocean. I knew I wanted these pictures for a wall in my room. We left the store, and I had the magazine in my hands.

My parents and I got home, and I went straight to my room. I grabbed a pair of scissors and looked at the front cover to see a price of $5.99 on it. I could feel the blood drain from my face. “Oh no, I’m a criminal!” was my thought. I ran to my dad and begged him to drive back so I could give back the magazine. My dad sighed and said, “no, it’s too far, and it’s fine.” I had tears streaming down my face. My dad soon realized this was not the right way to rectify it and consoled me, “sweetheart, we will go back tomorrow.” And we did.

At that age, I wanted nothing to do with sin. As children, we are taught not to lie, cheat or steal. Something happens to us when we aren’t stable in our faith and follow the ways of the world. We may think we are safe if we know God and have a deep relationship with Him, but the enemy loves to distract and confuse us, especially when it comes to sin.

A few days ago, I was at a bi-monthly gathering. The same people usually attend, but every so often someone new comes. There was a man who I met for the first time. He smiled at me, and I immediately felt an attraction. It felt weird and sweet at the same time. He was making small talk, but he seemed genuinely interested. I soon realized we talked for over 20 minutes straight, I decided to bring in more people into the conversation, so I wasn’t alone. For days, I thought about this situation. I felt guilty and sad that as a married woman I would be feeling like this toward someone else other than my husband.

I decided to confide in a friend, a person who I think, also as a spiritual mother. Thankfully nothing more than conversations happened between the man and me. But I told her how I felt and cried tears of shame and guilt. She lovingly listened and comforted me. My friend was truthful but understanding. She revealed that there was something deeper that I needed to explore with myself and my husband. Expose the sin and work on those areas of weakness and pain.

I think back to that time as a little girl being so guilty of accidentally taking a magazine. Why isn’t that the same reaction I have to sin as an adult? We live in a world where most sins get a free pass because everyone is doing it. When faced with temptation, ask God to intervene right that minute. Please know, that no fleshy desired fulfilled is worth the torment it will bring for months or even years. I want to spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus!

Lesson Learned: If we allow Jesus to intervene, no temptation is too great for Jesus to save us. Sinning is not worth it.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for allowing sin to take a foothold in my life. Cleanse my mind, heart, and soul. Reveal those areas that need work and your intervention. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Know Your Value

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  How precious are your thoughts, oh God! How vast is the sum of them.” Psalm 139:16-17

There is so much pressure in the world today to be successful; it overwhelms us.  That pressure and stress have become unbearable for some. You can feel it in the atmosphere.  Sometimes you hear about it in the news because the story is about someone committing suicide and the aftermath.

Our niece is a high school senior.  She has many wonderful qualities: kind, intelligent, athletic and beautiful.  Her grades are perfect, and she has many extracurricular activities.  She wants to be a surgeon someday, so she has to be tough and be able to handle a lot at once.  Over the holidays, I heard her extensive schedule for the next semester, and it floored me.

A few days after seeing her for the holidays, I learned of a popular newscaster who died of a drug overdose.  Even though it was not a suicide, he allegedly used drugs to cope with the stress in his life. Sadly, many people deal with stress through the use of drugs, alcohol, smoking, video games, eating disorders, etc.  The pressure becomes too much to handle.

For some reason, God put our niece heavily on my heart when I heard about this newscaster. I felt like I needed to tell her that she is valuable, I was proud of her,  and no matter what, she would be successful in all she planned to do. I sent her a text. She responded that she needed to hear that.

Whether you are heading into college, getting a job in a career that you want, finding a spouse or even planning a birthday party, they are so many expectations-real and unnecessary.  The competition alone can bring people to their knees. In my daughter, just as a Fourth Grader, I saw the stress of the state testing week make her physically ill. I know she prepared the best she could, so I told her, that I did not care about the outcome of this test as long as you try.  She relaxed and tested at her grade level. I do not need her developing ulcers, worrying about a test score.

In January 2018, there was a suicide of a high school student in South Orange County, CA.  He wrote a letter about his discontent of living a pressure-filled life and trying to attain a perfect grade point average.  He enjoyed playing a sport, not the constant drive to achieve championships. It broke my heart.  He wanted to be a teen and have fun and try his best.  He felt he could not be himself.

Our worth should not be defined by the world, but by God.  God has a unique plan and purpose for each of us. Death and destruction are not a part of His purpose for us.  No matter how difficult life gets, God wants us to finish well. Let us relax the unrealistic pressure put on ourselves by the world.  Pursue God and seek His will. If we fail, then it will not be devastating. God loves us, and we are all valuable and worthy.

Lesson Learned: My value and worth are in the Lord, not the world.  In knowing that then I will be free.