The Spaces Where They Were

The Spaces Where They Were

“Doesn’t your world feel empty to you?” I asked him.

“What do you mean?”

“So many people that were so big in your life for so many years are gone now. And in the spaces where they were there’s just emptiness.”

“Yeah, I guess I’ll just have to fill the spaces with something.”

“But with what?”

“Like they say, time heals all wounds. Maybe it fills in all the spaces too.”

I sat and let the silence digest his words for me. Time is its own entity. You only have it for fleeting moments, and when those moments are past they are only yours to recall, never to bring back and give away. When the time hasn’t come to pass yet, you can’t just take it, you must wait. Time is an intangible resource that distributes itself at no one’s will but its own. The filling of the spaces was left to the mercy of something that passes as quickly or as slowly as it wants.

“But we have no control over time. Doesn’t waiting on time make the emptiness seem, well scarier to you?”

He looked at me and shook his head. I knew what he was thinking. ‘I think too much,’ he had told me enough times with that same expression on his face for me to understand.

I shrugged off his noiseless reply but inwardly shuddered. The emptiness, it haunted me, I couldn’t possibly imagine how he was holding up to it. And then I felt it, as his shoulder next to mine began to shake. Gently, like a shiver, but enough that I had to slide my arm around his and press my cheek up against him. It was all I could do to help. Time would have to do the rest.

Murmuring, so softly I wasn’t sure if he could hear me or not, I couldn’t help but add, “I pray to God time doesn’t take too long.”

I started a little when he replied just as softly, “It will take as long as it has to.”

 

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At Large – the mind without a tether…

At Large – the mind without a tether…

I am trapped in a hot air balloon, at large in midair. The tether has been cut, and all the sand bags abandoned ship. I am captain of the Derelict, with no way to steer my vessel or return to port. The wind blows me about, until I fear I will be as Icarus, blown into the sun, everything that holds me together burnt up, leaving whatever is left to plummet back to earth. Yet the sun sinks beneath the sea and I am left to drown in the emptiness of the night sky.

My fear now is that I will freeze in the upper atmosphere, or perhaps I will float too fast and burn up as I leave this planet behind. Part of me longs to reach the stars and feel their tingling light, but science tells me I would die in the vacuum of space before that could ever be.

He asked me, “what does it mean when you say you don’t want to be you right now?”

I ask him, “what do you think it means?”

He told me he was afraid it meant I didn’t want to be here. The thought scared me. I didn’t know how to explain to him that he didn’t have to worry, I wouldn’t be jumping into any hot air balloons any time soon. Not willingly at least.

I wonder, if I was to fall into an air balloon and float into the toxic stratosphere of euphoria, would I meet others there? Am I the only one that fears hot air balloons and wings made of wax? I can’t be sure what is worse, the thought that I am alone, or the thought that others have floated away before me.

IT – The monster in my closet…

IT – The monster in my closet…

It hits you like a train. A derailed train of thought that is on the berserk barreling through your mind. You cannot stop it, direct it, or even slow it down.

It attacks with the ferocity of the escaped circus lion. It hunts for vindication. Prowling through your consciousness, and even your subconscious, it feeds on the fear, the confusion, the doubt, and the self loathing. Its appetite is never sated, until you have no feelings left to remind you that you are alive.

It is the fight you stop wanting to win. It is the fight that forces you to lay down and play dead until it, like a territorial Kodiak, passes you by. Only a snort of distaste for your meager struggles as it ambles by.

It drowns you with a heaviness you cannot tread. You cannot breathe or cry out for help. You are pulled down to the dark deep with no clue of up, down, forwards or back. It is an intangible weight that can only be noted as an unfortunate symptom of gravity.

How do you fight IT? Especially when it flits around your brain and defies understanding and sanity? It is an enemy that lies dormant, and moves invisibly. Its advancement is so subtle that you do not note its presence until your mind has been ensnared.

All you can do is lay there.

Paralyzed.

Unable to breathe.

Unable to close your eyes to the nightmare.

The only act of defiance you can muster is a single tear that escapes the corner of your eye.

The only outward sign of a tiny, humble, and silent cry for mercy.

It shudders at this sign of your desire for mercy. For such a desire will be met with incomparable love, by your greatest asset. The weapon you must draw. The weapon called VICTORY, for those that possess such a weapon will emerge victorious. The first and last weapon in your arsenal, your SAVIOR.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” -Ephesians 2:4-5

Be Made Well

Be Made Well

This morning was a lay service at Bethel Lutheran. During a lay service a member of the congregation will read the sermon. I read the sermon this morning. I chose a sermon based on this morning’s Gospel lesson from sermoncentral.com that was entitled Give Thanks: You are Cleansed and Free by Eloy Gonzalez. Life has really thrown me for a loop this month, but God has taught me a lot despite the heartache. As a result, I felt the need to share a personal note when I read the sermon. Following is the Gospel lesson from today, and the note I shared.

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?”19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.””

  • Luke 17:11-19 NIV

 

As most of you already know my grandfather and my boyfriend’s father passed away within a week of each other. I have been meditating on what I knew about these two men, and have come to realize something.

Grampa had Alzheimer’s, but as he became less lucid and more confused, he did it with a dignity and grace that I believe was a sign of God’s presence in his life.

Lisle, my boyfriend’s father, was not a healthy man. Diabetes complicated his health for many years. By the grace of God and the generosity of his sister his family was given an extra fifteen years with him, however life was far from easy for him. If you ever talked to Lisle though, it didn’t really matter the day, he always had words of love, encouragement and kindness for everyone. And Lisle would always be the first to tell you, “God is good”.

Reflecting on the testimonies of these two men, and on the Gospel lesson for this morning, I step back with a lesson. We do not have to wait for healing to be made well.

Grampa and Lisle did not wait for healing to be well, because they knew the truth. The truth that Christ made us well when he died on the cross to save us. Christ makes us well when we accept him as our Saviour.

I pray you have someone in your life with the faith and conviction that both my grandfather and Lisle embodied. I pray that you are that person for someone else. I pray that you turn to Jesus today so that you might be made well.

Now, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

 

My Timing was Off

My Timing was Off

I have missed you guys, so when I had a moment of revelation yesterday I just had to share.

Maybe as far back as a year ago I decided I had lived with my parents long enough. Praying, I asked God to help me to find a job and a place of my own. Now I didn’t know if it was God’s will for me that I get a job and a place of my own, however I stepped out in faith. I took a step of faith and packed away all my books and knick-knacks. I got everything read for a move. My bed, filing cabinet, and dresser with my clothes were the only items that remained in place. I submitted almost twenty resumes, and then hunkered down to wait for the call backs. They never came. It’s been a year and so far, the only response I have gotten to any of the dozens of resumes I submitted was a one-line email asking if I was currently living in Alberta. Apparently yes was the wrong answer.

So I am still here one year later, more-so to my dismay that my parents (they love me 😉 ) Yesterday I was laying on my bed, staring at my blank sky-blue walls. I couldn’t help but chuckle. This thought came to mind, “Sometimes our steps of faith can be premature.” A few months ago I asked God what was going on, “something has to give Lord!” His answer was “just wait”.

I waited for about a month and then I got restless again, “could you at least give me something to do while I wait?”

The next night I found this verse in the Psalms (bonus points to whoever can tell me which Psalm!) “Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord.”

So here I am a month or two later, still waiting. I have however found things to do while I wait. I am building good habits, finished a thirty day blogging challenge last week on Looking for the Good, and have been hitting the textbooks pretty hard on my last few courses. I try to ask God every morning to guide my day so that I might have peace in knowing that I am serving Him.

What exactly did I realize yesterday, and then came to understand more fully today? I thought that by packing up all my stuff I was ready to move onto the next part of my life. Turns out, however, that was not the only thing that needed to be done in order for me to be prepared for the next step. God knew that I needed time to allow Him to prepare my heart for the next step. I needed to trust in Him and in His perfect timing.

Steps of faith are important, we are going to have to make them quite a few times in our lives in order to succeed, however sometimes we make them too soon. Our timing can be off. That is okay though! God’s timing is never off.

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:3-4

By being ready to throw my stuff in my truck and move in a moment’s notice I was not obeying God. I wasn’t building or nurturing relationships because I had the “I might move soon” mind frame. I wasn’t “dwelling” in the land. Everyday I was fretting and worrying, when God? How God? Why not now God? I wasn’t having faith that God knew best, and He had good in store for me, I just had to trust Him.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Makes it sound like we’re supposed to love him and He will give us whatever we want, right? Not! The truth is, when we delight ourselves in God, we look to Him, and see how wonderful He is. When we see God like that, our hearts can’t help but be changed. And it is a change for the better, trust me my friends. As our hearts change, the desires of our hearts change. At the start of this year all I wanted was a job that makes good money, a house of my own, and all of it to be somewhere that doesn’t require me to drive five hours to go on a date with my boyfriend. When I stopped dwelling on myself and my wants, and started seeking God my heart changed. I began building relationships in my church, I started enjoying time with my family a lot more, and I have been able to invest more time in finishing my university courses, without stressing myself out about deadlines. The desires of my heart have become peace, love, and joy. And guess what? You don’t have to move to a new province to find them! God will show you how to sow and harvest them right where you are at.

#Godisgood #faith #love

 

 

 

 

A Month of Good Days

At the beginning of my Thirty Days of Looking for the Good challenge I wasn’t really trying to accomplish anything big. It was me making a commitment to my blog. Perhaps it was the low expectations that I started with that made this month possible. Today I feel success. Rarely do I look back on a project and not have regrets or self-criticisms. I am sure there are things I could have done better with this challenge, but I really don’t feel the need to nit pick. The fact that I am not tempted to pull apart the experience looking for faults tells me that there has been a small change for the better in my thoughts.

Looking for the good in each day has helped me to have more good days in a month than I can ever remember having. Even on my bad days this month I have been able to find one thing to write about that brought me joy, even the smallest seed of it. By dwelling on that good moment it got bigger in my mind. It made my day brighter. My shoulders relaxed and the weight fell away. Because I wrote every evening, I went to bed feeling satisfied with my day, or perhaps just a portion of my day. Then, every morning, I would wake up and life seemed doable. There were mornings where I would bound out of bed, eyes wide open to see any good I could possibly find. There were even days where I felt overwhelmed by the amount of good I encountered.

All of it comes down to one thought in my mind, perhaps that Paul guy knew what he was talking about in Phillipians chapter four verse eight, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” I would say the verse speaks for itself. Without even realizing it until today I put it into practice.

Now I have to be honest, I still worry and fret over things. I create a lot of frustration and anxiety for myself by dwelling on things that really are out of my control. This just tells me though that I have a few more habits to build. The past month has shown me that I am capable of doing just that.

My hope is that you will be encouraged to find something in your life that you could do to make every day a little happier. Build a good habit. If I can do it, I know you can!

Perhaps I will have to do another thirty days of something, but not right away. I think I might need time to recover from this writing spree. Interesting news though! Thirty Days of Looking for the Good is going to be compiled, added to and polished to become my very first e-book! No promises on when it will be ready for readers, because I have never done this before, but I am excited to figure it out.

Thank you!! Thank you thank you! To everyone who has read and enjoyed, commented, liked and shared my Looking for the Good posts. I hope you learnt something, were encouraged, or merely entertained! Having readers has been a good in my day for the last thirty days. God bless every one of you!

#day30 #lookingforthegood #success #joy #gooddays #goodmonth

 

 

Buzz Lightyear

Buzz Lightyear

When I was seventeen I came home from working at Bible Camp to find a 2002 Chevrolet S10 sitting in front of our house. A month or so later I got my license, and that truck has been my daily driver ever since. One of my high school friends brought me a little “Woody” keychain souvenir from Disneyland and Woody to this day is still hanging from the rear view mirror. Sticking with the Toy Story theme I lovingly started thinking of my truck as “Buzz”. Buzz has accumulated a few other friends over the years, a little farmer toy that I named Farmer Joe is stuck to the dash with some fun tak, there’s a stuffed toy dog that somebody bought me named Tony, a tiny stuffed cow named Maggie is my key chain, and a red stress ball Ky gave me once rolls around on the dash. (The stress ball comes in great when I hit every red light or get stuck in traffic).

Buzz isn’t that big, but he is perfect for me. Truman fits in the back seat, and my bags fit in the front seat. I like being able to load stuff up in the box whenever the need arises, but I don’t have to worry about the poor gas mileage that would come from owning a larger truck. There’s rust around the fenders, and Buzz has needed multiple parts replaced. The two of us have seen quite a bit of mud, probably too much mud for a truck that started its life in the city. Almost every one of my adventures has been reached in that little truck.

Now you may be wondering why I am going on about Buzz, well it is because today Buzz reached 310,000 kilometers. (309,994 to be exact but we’ll reach 310 when I go to work tomorrow morning so just work with me 😉 ) It is a blessing that my truck has brought me this far, and is still buzzing along like it always has. While I try not to place too much sentimentality on material things, it will be a sad day when Buzz stops running. But until then, as Buzz’s namesake would proclaim, “to infinity and beyond!”

#day29 #lookingforthegood #blessed #chevy #s10 #buzzlightyear #toinfinityandbeyond