Sunday, July 27, 2014

Life: Full circle round

Life.  It sure has a way of making it's way back around to us, in so many ways.  This morning, as with many mornings, I'm so very grateful - but today I have a concrete reason.  Usually I'm just happy - because it's just who Gina is - but today I have specific thoughts and feelings.  My life as of late has just been crazy amazing.  It's not that it's problem free - or that there aren't things that I need, because there are.  I guess I just keep things in there proper perspective.  I find great pleasure and gratitude in the things most folks don't even think about.  I guess one could say --- I'm a simple girl, but then again I'm not.... Have I confused you enough yet???  LOL  See, I'm grateful for hot showers, a roof over my head, food to eat, people that love me, and sunshine.  It really doesn't take much for me to be happy.  I like this about myself.  I think this makes me the kind of person that others want to be near.  At least this is my hope.  It's pleasurable to be around happy it not?  I think so.  I try.  However, there are times when I get weary - and wish I knew what God's purpose is for me - and I feel like I'm not making any progress in life.  I feel like at my age - I "should" (oh how I've grown to dislike the shoulds") be in a different "place."  Don't ask me where, or doing what - because I couldn't tell you, other than I wish deeply to be helping people with their lives.  Help them grow and become what God would have them to be.  And you know, I forget.  I don't realize.  I am not capable of seeing myself in the world - nor do I know what kind of impact I've made in years past, or now even.  This is the heart of this particular blog.  Knowing our worth.  I suppose after my last two blogs, it is a natural progression.  

I don't have lots of friends.  Not that one can count on many fingers.  However, the ones that I do have - are rare and true.  They keep me on track, and they keep me centered.  I need that, for I can be a wayward child at times -- I am such a creature driven by my emotions.  It's a hard way to live sometimes, especially because I'm also very analytical - and there is a fight between my head and my heart most everyday about something.  It's getting better - I'm learning to listen to the holy spirit, which is pretty much tied to my intuition -- but the deciphering of all of this has taken some time.  I've made mistakes, and I've lived the consequences.  I'm still learning to be obedient - and sometimes it's hard.  Alas, I tell myself - it is only as hard as one makes it.  Everything involves trust.  Trust of self, of God -- but it is getting so much easier.  

I received a call from a very dear friend the other evening.  Actually she is more that a friend, but for sake of this blog - we're just going to say that she's someone incredibly special from my past.  In essence - we grew up together.  Not like most folks would think - but we grew together, nonetheless.  I went through some very difficult days of depression, anxiety, and ultimately betrayal with her.  It was not pretty at times...  We've reconnected again in life and I must say, she has become a phenomenal woman.  Everything that I could have wanted for her - and actually saw in her potential has come to fruition, and then some.  I'm so proud of and for her.  I'm so happy that she reconnected with me.  For a multitude of reasons.  Mainly - she is an amazing person and I'm honored to have her in my life again, and humbled by her forgiveness.  

I'd started this blog out at "life."  There was a reason that I did this.  It wasn't just because my friend and I reconnected - but actually what has transpired.  My friend and I talk from time to time, mostly I don't bother her, and I let her contact me -- for I know that her life is full.  I'm kind of like that -- I give people respectful space.  Albeit I needed to talk this evening and I texted her.  As to be expected - she got back to me but I was not prepared for what she shared.  For about 45 minutes she proceeded to tell me what a difference that I'd made in her life... and other peoples lives.  And I was in awe.  She painted a picture of a very unique individual.... someone that I've ascribed to be.  The amazing thing here was that she was sharing about me.  There are no words to describe how that felt or what that experience was like.  It is beyond words when what you work so hard at portraying in life - is indeed how some one experiences you.  There just aren't words.  

The really crazy part is that she doesn't want anything from me, and there are no expectations, no motives in her sharing this with me.  It's a miracle really when one thinks about it.... to be validated on that level.  She held up a mirror and said, "This is who you are, who you've always been, and you're incredible!"  I know that isn't the word that she used, but it's the same message.  All I can think of is what a gift forgiveness is, and how awesome life is.  I needed to hear every word that she spoke to me that night.  It still resonates in my spirit.  The huge part is that there is someone out there in this big world that really knows me and knows my worth.  Honors it, cherishes it, treasures it.  How precious is this?  What a gift from God!!!  At this particular time, my life has come full circle round with her - and even after everything that her and I went through together --she still loves.  This is pretty astonishing.  But she's pretty astonishing!  
 Life, we just never know what's in store for us.  We never know what blessings God has  on cue.....  However, rest assured - life comes full circle round.... know your worth via good friends, always keep striving to be the best version (the only version) of you.  My wish for you is that you have an experience like I did, and one day (or two) be validated for all that you are.  There is such beauty in living in accordance with one's values and truths.  For me, I think it all boils down to loving people, living life, and seeing good days... despite all that I go through with illnesses that no one can see.  It demands that I work harder than the average individual, just to get up most days.  But this day, my very dear friend made everything so very worthwhile.  I thank her from the bottom of my heart..... @}>~~~~~

Monday, July 21, 2014

Beauty for Ashes

Colossians 2:6
"As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him."

This has been my mission as of late.  I've been purging my "old man."  I've had a few bumps in the road - but I am declaring, no more.  The things of old, are just that -- things of old.  

My friend asked me yesterday, "Gina aren't you tired of struggling?"  To which I stated, "yes."  I've struggled my entire life.  I must say - the largest part of it due to my addiction.  I've battled it in one form or another since I was a young person.  Many, many years are a big blur.  My high school years were literally a joke.  I've wasted years preoccupied with the next high, pill, drink, boy friend, you name it.  Absolutely anything outside of myself to feel better on the inside.  Ah, and we forgot the spending addiction.  It's consumed my entire life.  Because?  I felt broken.  I was empty.  Other people had something that I did not possess.  At least that is how I've always felt.  I felt this way from a small child into my adulthood.  I used to want to be invisible - because I knew that I did not matter.  I was so insignificant taking things that I did not know what were was no big deal.  What difference would it make if I were no longer in the world?  Not much.  With exception to one amazing individual -- my dad.  I praise God for having one human being that I felt like truly cared for me -- even though I did not know, in the slightest who I was.  I miss my Dad every single day.  

This past week (or two) has been so many things.  Ridiculously awesome, tempting, amazing, enlightening, painful, I've gained clarity --- and the list goes on.  Two different things have really came to the forefront.  God has blessed me in immeasurable way - and I've became very aware that letting the things go that I am, is bringing up grief.  Yes, I'm grieving my addiction.  As bizarre as this may sound - it's been my best friend, my comfort, my strength, my courage, my passion, my relief, my way out for over 41 or so years.  I got high for the very first time at the ripe age of eleven.  I was using addictively by the time I was a freshman in high school or even earlier.  I have a long history -- and this saddens me so sometimes - what do you say when people ask you about your life?  Ah, well, let's see --- I've made a career out of using drugs.  How nice.  But I digress.  

I made the decision to stop using all substances (with exception to my pain meds, which I have to and take as prescribed).  I've messed up once.  I've stopped smoking cigarettes, but I've messed up a couple of times.  It's okay - It's a might better than before.  Purging yourself is not easy.  What has been amazing has been the blessings in my life.  And I want to be heard - I do not believe in a "do good to get good" type of God.  However I do believe in being obedient -- especially since these have been the things that the Holy Spirit spoke to me about removing from my life.  It doesn't necessarily make me a "better" christian or a better person -- God loved and accepted me anyway - but I truly believe in order for God to take me where He wants to take me, I had to let these things go. I feel God working in my life.  So much it is beyond words.  

Things in life have just been falling in my lap.  My apartment, my job, my new kitty.  Money.  All of these things are the favor of God.  It's abundance and prosperity.  Things that I'm not used to.  Because I've struggled my whole life with exception to a few years.  Those years, I was living a good life.  There just has to be a correlation.  I just cannot see it any other way.  

I've loved God my entire life.  I have cigarette burn marks on my Old King James Bible - where I would try and read while I was high.  It's burned badly in some places and I used to be so ashamed.  My Sunday school class bought it for me and it's a beautiful study Bible.  Now it's an ever reminder of where I've come from.  I used to doze off in church, high.  At that particular time, I could not help it, I was in pain and so addicted to pain killers.  How embarrassing for my Mom and Dad.  God loved me through it.  

By all rights, I shouldn't still be here.  I've caught myself on fire, fell asleep driving numerous times.  Caught my bed on fire.  Woken in the kitchen floor numerous times and I didn't know how I'd gotten there from overdoses.  God loved me through it.  

God loved me, and let me figure out my own way to my present church, where I've found the most amazing gift.  Grace.  I did not know all of those years at the countless meetings that I sat in when they said, "but for the grace of God, there go I"... really what that  meant.  I do now.  I wish there were a way to convey what I feel.  But there just is not.  Now there is joy - excellence, and peace immeasurable.  I don't have to put ANYTHING into my body to be OK.  Every again.
This is a miracle. 

God took my ashes -- and He has given me beauty.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Faith is Home Part 2

I have good news!  I have begun the process of purging my life.  I've only smoked one cigarettes in three days, and the other behaviors have just been stopped.  I did go and see my pastor - and he agreed with me, that if the Lord spoke to me (it's always a great thing to hear from the holy spirit, and praise God for it) then I need to take heed.  He was very pleased, and assured me that it did not sound like it was anything that I was trying to do to assure my salvation.  This is so important to me because I'm a grace christian - and I do not believe in dead works, my salvation was and is paid for in Christ Jesus -- in full.  So, I'm on my way!!!  I've felt sort of surreal, during the nicotine withdrawal, and have had to have some help - and I have been supplementing my e-cigarette.  I won't do that forever, just for right now. I've smoked since I was eleven years old, and trust you me it is no simple feat for me to quit.  I'm a hard-wired smoker.  Not to say that the grace of God can't take it all away in an instant, because He can!  When the time is right, I'll quit all together.

I have more good news. I have found a job.  Yes, it came to me from a friend in church.  I knew that I had to get one, but I never expected God to deliver it this way.  It's perfect.  I'll have to miss church this week, but I'm not complaining!  It meets all my needs - I don't have to stand up a lot and can sit down as I need to - I actually get to cook for someone - which I love... and do some light cleaning.  I couldn't have asked for a better situation.  Praise God!!

I also have a kitten now too.  I named her Grace.  "Gracie" is just a little stripped kitty that showed up at my car, half starved and meowing.  She is so cute, and so loving.  She has pretty yellow eyes.  I'll try and post a picture of her if I can.  She is also just what I needed, and God knew.  He knew that I needed something to love that would love me back that I could take good care of.   I've  never known a kitten to be so loving, she crawls up on my lap and then walks her way up my chest and goes to sleep.  She purrs a lot... and I like that.  I couldn't really afford her right now, but I just made a way -- she is so adorable.

Things are falling into place beautifully.  The more I honor God, the more beautiful my life gets.  I suppose that it has to do with perspective too -- there are still lots of things that I need, and I'm really short on money and it's just the 12th.  It's okay - as with the sparrows, I know who takes care of me.  He knows the number of hairs on my head, He is sitting at the end of my life - watching over me.  I want my faith to please Him.  I hope that it does.

I talked to my pastor, and we had such a good talk.  I told him about the experience that I had at Hastings a few weeks back and that God just keeps sending me opportunities to pray for people.  Pastor said that this is when you have evidence that the Lord is working in your life... when He sends you needful souls.  But there is the other part too, where God is doing a work in me.  He's moulding me -- into the kind of child that is pleasing to Him.  Pastor prayed that God present me with more opportunities to minister to people... and I'm all for that.  I know that this is why I needed to let the things go that I needed to let go, for we must lead by example.

A few days later... I've not smoked a cigarette in 7 whole days and I had my first day at work.  It is everything that I hoped it would be and  more so.  The time just flew by, being that I'm working 24 hour shifts.  I'm SO pleased.  I was worried about leaving Gracie, and she did break something dear to me, but it's okay she's just being a kitten.  She was so glad to see me she came running when I got home.  What a welcome!!!

I go today to become a young man's guardian and mentor.  I know that it's going to be a challenge, but I also know that God has placed this young man in my life for a reason - it's good for him and good for me.  This has been part of the purging in my life, to lead by example.  We see the lawyer at 1:00 today.  And get this, I'm good friends with the lawyer!!!

Ah, my life.  I'm so blessed, beyond word and truly beyond my ability to convey.  I just hope that someone somewhere reads my blog and can know from my experience - that hardship isn't the end.  In all actuality if we but have faith and are faithful to the Lord it is only the beginning of beautiful things.  Praise Him in your struggles, and He will reward your faithfulness.  I have had times when things were so bad in my life that I have just been sobbing - and I've not known anything else to do but praise God.  I know unequivocally that he heard every word, and he caught every tear.  He is that kind of compassionate God.  His mercy is so vast.  Far beyond our earthly comprehension.  He flung the stars into existence - knows them by name... how can we comprehend Him?  And it is not so much that we love Him, but that He first loved us.  A love we cannot even imagine.  Lest, we must try.

It feels good to be free from the things that we holding me down.  I have such hope.  I'm basically drunk on it, but what a thing to be drunk on?  I still have circumstances that are not all in a  pretty little row -- but I'm bursting with happiness in my heart.  All good things come to those that love the Lord. Find some hope today - look for God working in your life... because He is there.  Watch for little miracles... because they do happen.  We have become so life focused that we forget the Heavenly's.  Smell flowers, open doors for people, smile, simply put goodness into the universe.  See what comes back to you.  The more you do it, the more fantastic it feels.  We are human beings, not human doings.  Let your light shine... live from your heart.  It's an amazing way to live.

I'm home.  If you knew me, you'd know what that means.  You would know how very precious it is to me.  What a journey I've had to take to get here.  Alas, that is all behind me now.  I have everything that I need... and yet there are material things that I don't have... but they are just that, material things.  God will provide in time.  It so reminds me, this time in my life of the promises in the A.A. Big Book of Alcoholic's Anon.  I must say, "I'm happy, joyous, and free!"  Praise God!!!!

                                                    Ms. Gracie doing what she loves most!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Faith is Home

Awe...  I'm in awe.  Awe of Jesus.  Yep, that's how this one is starting out.  Bam!  Right off the bat.  You see, I'm home.  Warm, cozy, clean (well it's getting there), safe, secure, peaceful - home.  I can actually unpack and decorate.  I was living out of boxes.  I'd hit a rough patch back there - whew what a rough patch.  However, Glory be to God, that's all behind me now.  Transformation.  It's an amazing thing.  Drastic changes sure test the faith.  It tempers the heart as well - and I don't know about you - but my faith is connected to my heart.  That's where Jesus lives too.  I think I'm fickle sometimes though, and perhaps we all are to a degree - I don't know.  However, I wish that my faith didn't wane.  It feels like it gets weak.  I don't like that.  I guess I should  say, I'd like it stronger - yet through this last bump in the road of life, my faith was stronger.  I had human emotions and normal responses I believe.  I didn't snap.  I did get very angry twice.  I recall regretting it, and I cried.  Emotions are an amazing thing - and our response to life.  We can but only do what we know how to do.  Our responses or our reactions are almost hard-wired.  We are going to respond according to how we believe we're being treated in our minds.  Regardless of how we're actually being treated in reality.  See, our thoughts are not necessarily reality.  Our beliefs about particular situations, outcomes and how things come into play have everything to do with our mindset.  It's all about what you 'expect' to happen.  Chew on that for a minute.  It might illuminate something for someone completely.

 We live in our own little private worlds.  We have drives and desires all our own that no one knows about.  Yet we expect other people to treat us a certain way --- only we haven't told them.  We want them to read our minds and guess from our behaviors.  We actually want what we want but we want it- without asking!!! It's a cop out on our part.   So say you walk into a restaurant and just stand there. What do you think you'll get?  Nothing.  Now how do you expect (dang, there's that word again) other people in your life to just guess what you need?  Nuff said.

I guess I'm in teaching mode this morning... got off the beaten path a bit... I miss teaching.  I miss my job.  My life is fixing to explode.  I know this.  God is doing amazing things in my life.  I claim it!  Fulfillment, Abundance, Prosperity!!!  Love, Life, Friends, Joy!!!  And those are just the "openers"...

My home is very peaceful with exception of a barking dog now and then.  I'm up high so the windows can be opened and man do the birds ever sing!  I have trees in every window - so there is a daily concert of various glorious birds singing beautifully starting early...  With the weather we've been having in the low 50's and 60's I've had the window's open and night and all 5 of the fans running.  I'm in ceiling fan heaven.  I can't wait to get pretty pull chains.  Lots of things that make an apartment a home.  I don't even have a couch.  I need lots of things - but that's just it... there things.  That will come in time.  I need a washer and drier first because of the stairs... I've been having nerve pain down one leg on top of the pain I'm already in.  It's okay - It will subside, it's from carrying boxes down and backup stairs.  Whew, I'm so grateful that is over.  I owe my friend a debt of gratitude.  She was a trooper.

My faith is stronger, and I'm willing to step out into it more.  It's an amazing thing stepping out into faith.  When I've done it, God ran to meet me.  I'm still not stepping out like I know the Lord wants me to, but He has reminded me three or four times now.  I guess I'd better take heed.  Not in a "command" type of spirit - but  more of a re-rising up in me of the holy spirit about what I wrote in my previous blog.  There's things that I need to purge out of my life.  God has spoken to me about it.  He used scripture to do it, and I've not done it.  I know in my heart of hearts that if the Lord is going to truly use me, what I have to do.  Now the willingness is on Gina's part and heart.  I'll either listen to it and take heed, or I will not.  This isn't the first time that this has arisen in my spirit.  I need to talk to my Pastor too.  I speak of transformation and I'm delaying my own.

I think I just made my mind up.  That's really all it takes.  A simple decision.  Then my heart won't hurt anymore.  Isn't it silly to fight with what God wants for you?  It really is when you know it's all good, because all good things come from God.  I had to understand that I wasn't doing something from a place of "do good to get good."  I'm going to be obedient to God because He spoke to my heart, not because I believe it's tied to my salvation.  I needed to know it came out of a place of rest.  I'm still processing it.  That's why I want to see Pastor.

I find myself growing more willing everyday.  It's getting closer.  Without faith it is impossible to please God.  That is what the bible says.  I don't believe that is condemning (looking down in judgment) - which is what condemnation is from the greek meaning.  I'm not certain of the context of "without" but I will find out from my pastor.

To be continued....