Me and The Ant

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I saw a little ant today crawling around on a rock and my first instant was to squish it. I was reminded of my own life how I am going about my business when suddenly, unexpectedly I feel like I am being squished. Like the ant I didn’t see it coming. I did not see the giant finger that sought to take my life. And like the ant, it took more than one attempt before the life was squished out of me. I try to looking for the ant that I tried so hard to squish and it is not to be found. It must have lived and crawled away. Will it survive? I don’t know. They are resilient creatures, quite amazing in many ways.

Of course you have watched an ant about its business forging for food, protecting its hill! Amazing in many ways. So small but so tuff. They have remarkable strength. I wonder if the ant ever gets overwhelmed. I wonder if the ant ever gets sick except when I spray them with ant killer! I wonder if the ant ever needs another ant to hug, to smile at, to talk to… Amazing!

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Mind Control

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I read a great quote today by one of my favorite people, Paula White.
“If you spend too much time worried about who everyone else wants you to be, you eventually forget who you really are! Don’t lose yourself!”

I must admit that I wept when I read this quote because I realized I did lose myself.

I worried about what somebody else wanted me to be so much that I forgot what I was. I forgot who I was called to be. I forgot the leader that I was called to be. I was so influenced by their opinion and what they thought was right and wrong that I no longer had thoughts for myself. I was merely a puppet on a string.

I didn’t know this about myself until after their death. I didn’t realize the strong influence that I had allowed them to have over me. And it has taken me years to break that soul tie that they had on me. I think that I am finally breaking free however I know that there are still areas of my life that are still bound by their influence.

Control, especially mind control is a very evil monster. It creeps into our heart and soul when we’re not realizing it and destroys our very fiber if we allow it to. Of course that form of control can only happen when we completely trust the person we are allowing to control us. Or perhaps we allow it to control us when we’re so afraid of the person that’s controlling us so we no longer allow our independent thoughts to happen. The outcome is the same no matter what.

A person who has not been allowed to develop and be the person that they’re called to be are actually stunted in their growth. I liken it to having your legs chopped off at the knee so that you have to be pushed around in a wheelchair so that you’re not allowed to go to and fro as you want to without being under the complete submission of another person.

I must admit this is exactly what happened in my own life. I allowed another person to fashion, to form, to establish, to define every aspect of what I thought and believed. So much so that when that person was no longer a part of my life I did not know who I was, what I believed, or what I was to be about doing. I was shaken to my very core, to the very fiber of my being. My belief system was so shaken that I didn’t even know up from down.

Now I didn’t make a decision that one day I’m going to allow someone to have that much influence over my life. No, that happened in a very slow process. That much influence happened day by day, week by week, month by month, one thought after one thought, after one thought.

I suppose I can honestly say that I feared this individual greatly. And as a result of my fear of him I allowed him to have control over my thoughts and my processes. I wished I had a stood up to him. I wish that would’ve been mature enough to recognize what was happening and take a stand for myself. Or I wish someone had of spoken up while it was happening in order to have stopped it from happening. But it was after the fact that I was told that I had been under severe control by this individual. And again even when I was told I was under the control I didn’t recognize it until years later when I could look back and see the effects of it.

The abuse of control can be crippling. I am now learning to stand on my own two feet. I am now learning who I am and what I’m called to be. But I realize I walk with a limp and I guess that limp will always remind me never to allow anyone to control me as I was controlled by this person in the past.

If I Could Get Home Again

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If I could get back home again.

I had been gone from “home” for 30 years and I thought, if I could just get back home again things would be good, things would be normal and happy.

I left because I was running away from my step-dad who was trying to kill me or at least I thought he was. No, I know he was. He has long since died and there is no longer a danger from him.

Since he is now dead I wanted to come home. I wanted to live near my mom, brothers and sister. I longed to have the relationships with my family that I missed out on for years. So I moved home.

What an illusion. I guess we all have had times like this, times where we thought if only it were this way or that way. I longed for something that will never be. I longed to be close to people who did not have a desire to be close to me. Now when I lived 2000 miles away they said and acted like they wanted to have me around but when push came to shove it just is not true.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Well, part of healing is acknowledging the lost hope, recognizing it will never be, forgiving and moving on. But still my heart breaks and still longs for what will never be. Now I must accept my fate. I must cry my tears of loss. I must heal from unrealistic hopes and dreams. I must accept I am alone and actively build friends and acquaintances around me that allow relationship to grow. I have always taught family is more than being blood related. Family is a bond that grows through hard work on both parties part.

If I could get back home again is not all that it is cracked up to be. Home is where we are. Home is where we are loved and accepted. Home is where we live and play. I have closure now. I no longer long for something I did not have and I no longer believe it would be better than what I had. No, it is just the same. Empty. But now I live with the realization that I can fill my emptiness with what brings me love and happiness and not feel guilty or long for something just beyond my reach.

How about you? What do you long for? What do you look back at and say, if I could just be there or do that? Do you long for a home that used to be but no longer is? In what do you need closure in order to move forward? Who or what do you need to forgive to heal? How can you fill your emptiness today?

Life Unfolds

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It is true life does just unfold in weird ways. I never planned most of my life, well I had a plan but the plan just didn’t work out. I lived and took the opportunities that came along and here I am. There is a lot of my life that I just simply love. There is some of it that I can do without. And then there are other moments that just are, for lack of a better description.

When I was a kid if you had of asked me if I was going to grow up and do what I am doing I’d probably said no way, yet here I am. And I am good with that.

If you had of asked me if I was going to move 1200 miles from my family I’d of said no way but yet that’s what I did.

If you’d asked me if I be widowed at age 50 I would have said absolutely not but yet that is what happened.

I never thought I’d be starting over at this age yet that is exactly what I am doing and enjoying it finally.

Life just unfolds all around us. We have to fully enjoy and capture the many moments that happen. We have to look for the open doors and walk thought them and just see what happens.

I am not going to let life pass me by while I wait for my future. No my future is unfolding all around me. I am going to jump in and enjoy this weird, wild ride called life.

What’s Lost

I was recently reading an article that boasted about what the author had gained over the years. I know better than to dwell too deeply on what I read. I have become an avid reader again this last year. I read everything, almost from novels to news articles and everything in between. I still dislike horror but love a good mystery.

The author of the article stated he had gained: a marriage, a career, a house and some security over the years as he aged. He also proceeded to disclose what he had lost. I had become too distracted by what he gained to even begin to be focused on what he thought he has lost. He gained everything I have lost in an instant. He too could lose all of that and more in an instant.

I wonder, more than sometimes, more like often, if people really realize how fragile life actually is. Sure we all know we could die in an instant. But there is something even more devastating than dying. Actually, dying is more merciful than being left behind. Being left behind and having my world crumble around me is by far the worst thing that has ever happened to me.

You may say or think I have not known or felt tragedy but you’d be mistaken. You see I was raised by abusive people. From what I have been told by relatives I was beaten up at 6 weeks and thrown into a trash can left for dead by my birth dad. I was abused physically, mentally and sexually by numerous male family members including my step dad, uncle, brother and strangers. I was a shooting victim at a bank robbery where I used to work. I was struck by lightening while riding in a car which gave me a stroke. I could go on but you get the picture. I have had opportunity to grow and thrive through a lot of adversity.

So on that fateful day when I lost my husband I had no idea everything I knew would be taken from me in the following weeks. Living through this loss has been the worst nightmare I have ever had to endure.

It has been 3 long years and I have almost depleted my savings. I work hard not to dwell on my uncertain future. I continue to apply for jobs only to be turned down, I am not so young anymore. Too young to draw any benefits so I must find find work. I, like the author of the article I am reading, had a marriage that I thought would last and we would grow old together, retire and move into eternity together. I though I had a career that was secure, after all I earned a doctorate, I am educated! I thought I would be able to keep my house, but it just was not so. I though I had some financial security for when I grow old, but I am thankful I have it so I can live on it now. In an instant, in a twinkling of an eye it all changed, never to be the same again.

Life is fragile. It is meant to be lived now and enjoyed now. We are not promised tomorrow or even today.

Driving Into the Storm

imageToday I traveled to a city about an hour south of my home town to have my car serviced. Living in a rural America has advantages but many more disadvantages like the distance I have to travel to buy groceries, gas, have my car serviced, check my mail and the such.

I had to drive into a major storm with high winds and strong lightening strikes all around me as I drove today. I love to watch storms from a distance but really do not prefer to be right in the middle of them. I especially do not like when the storm is ahead of me I can see it and I have no choice but to drive right into it. But that was my fate this morning.

In life there are storms that we have to drive right into and sometime we drive right out of them with out harm. And other times like today we have to drive right into them and stay for a while feeling the full effect of the storm.

As I ponder this today I realize this storm is not a reflection of me or anything I have done. I am not responsible for it nor can I control it. But I must endure it and once I am out of this storm I will not give it another thought unless I experience some sort of harm from it.

In life there are storms we encounter and endure. We drive right into them without realizing the impact it will have on our lives. There are times it takes years to get over the effects of the storm, such as Hurricane Sandy on the east coast. Other times the storms come and pass quickly and there is a refreshing in the air that causes us to feel cleansed and revived.

We cannot avoid the storms of life. They will mold and shape us whether we want them to or not. And our attitude, positive or negative, will determine the storms effect on us.

It helps me to realize that many of the storms that have come my way in the past were not not cause by something I did or didn’t do. I still had to weather the storm and its damage in the aftermath but I do not have to take ownership of it. I do not have to walk in shame or resentment or unforgiveness or any of the other poisons that seek to destroy and suck the life out of me.

I will walk in truth. I have faith and respond to God. And He answers. He is faithful even in the storms of this life.

Character

imageJohn Maxwell recently wrote a blog post on character http://goo.gl/fb/hSXjO

It caused me to think. There are a lot of things that cause me to think.

I created this blog and my twitter account with an anonymous identification because I honestly did not know what would come out of me in my pain. I know a person’s real internal character will leak out all over when they are broken and hurting. In ministry and in life in general I see this all the time. I know some people are so embarrassed by their behavior when they were hurting once they recover. Makes sense to me, I always give an abundance of grace and mercy to people in crisis.

What has surprised me about myself is that I have discovered I am a good person. I am a person I would be friends with. I would like me if I weren’t me!

I have discovered I am the same person broken as I am when I was whole. Why should I hide then? Maybe because I am so insecure now. Maybe because I lived so many years in ministry mode that if I reveal my identity I may start holding my breath with each word I express. Maybe because I have been hit so hard by those that I thought loved me unconditionally that I can’t trust anymore. Maybe my vessel is so broken I don’t know if it can be put back together now. Maybe because I am alone with no emotional support and I am afraid if I get another hit it may knock me over the edge. And maybe I really want to keep living and I really want to find life again.