Bloom

There are nights where I can’t seem to fall asleep, I want to sleep but I just can’t seem to get in that state of being able to close my eyes and just drift off and dream of flowers and clouds.  Not saying that most of my dreams are filled with flowers and clouds, I have had some very interesting dreams which have included whales, the mafia, hitmen, rainbows, the ocean, etc.    Sometimes all I have to do is lay down on the floor and I’m dead to the world.   I have very unusual sleeping habits.  Tonight seems to be one of those unusual nights where neither the bed or the floor will get me to close my eyes and drift off.  I was very much blessed today to be able to hear the India’s Children’s Choir, what an amazing experience.   Those kids lifted their voices, blended harmonies, and praised our God without any embarrassment or restraint holding them back.   What a remarkable story they had to share through music, what a testimony to others.  I will be the first to admit that my life has not been the greatest example to lead, and that the last year I have grown so much.   God has shown me so many areas of my life where walls had to come down, forgiveness had to take place, and healing  began.   I thought maybe I was pretty much all patched up, and then I went to the women’s FIELD day.   Wow…there was so much more that God had to show me, to tell me.   The greatest struggle of my life stems from very low self-image, and basically depression.   Those areas have had the most work done on by God, a lot of demolition going on with the walls I had built.  The image that I carry of myself, is not the image that others see.  I’ve heard many people say that when they lose weight they still see the larger version of themself in the mirror, and it’s true because I still see myself a year ago.  With that image it’s hard to feel beautiful.  I shared with my teens during my testimony Psalm 139,  one of the verses dearest to my heart.   

  1 O LORD, you have searched me
       and you know me.

 2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
       you perceive my thoughts from afar.

 3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
       you are familiar with all my ways.

 4 Before a word is on my tongue
       you know it completely, O LORD.

 5 You hem me in—behind and before;
       you have laid your hand upon me.

 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
       too lofty for me to attain.

 7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
       Where can I flee from your presence?

 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
       if I make my bed in the depths, [a] you are there.

 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
       if I settle on the far side of the sea,

 10 even there your hand will guide me,
       your right hand will hold me fast.

 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
       and the light become night around me,”

 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
       the night will shine like the day,
       for darkness is as light to you.

 13 For you created my inmost being;
       you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.

 15 My frame was not hidden from you
       when I was made in the secret place.
       When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

 16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
       All the days ordained for me
       were written in your book
       before one of them came to be.

 17 How precious to [b] me are your thoughts, O God!
       How vast is the sum of them!

 18 Were I to count them,
       they would outnumber the grains of sand.
       When I awake,
       I am still with you.

 19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
       Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!

 20 They speak of you with evil intent;
       your adversaries misuse your name.

 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
       and abhor those who rise up against you?

 22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
       I count them my enemies.

 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
       test me and know my anxious thoughts.

 24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
       and lead me in the way everlasting.

God literally pounded into my head that weekend that I am beautiful, fearfully and wonderfully made.  I am created in His image.   It is a constant battle for this world is all about image, about being the right size which normally amounts to a zero, having great hair and make-up, and being trendy.  It breaks my heart when I see one of my girls struggling with image, because all of them are so beautiful and so dear to my heart.  God kind of impressed on my heart that I can’t begin to help them feel beautiful and loved, until I start believing that myself too.  I was told I had to forgive myself, to let go, to move forward, and to embrace with all my heart that I am cherished, beloved, and beautiful.   To not hold out for second best, because God only wants the very best for me because I am worth it.   You can change yourself, lose weight, dye your hair, buy new clothes but all that can’t change your heart, it won’t heal the hurt inside.   All it does is mask what’s happening.   Eventually the mask gets ripped off and reveals even deeper scars hidden underneath. 

For the first time I believe, truly believe that I am beautiful, that I am beloved, and that I am worthy of the very best that God has to offer.  That my past is past, and I am not tarnished goods.   I am wiped clean.  I don’t have to be thin, medium or large to know who I am in Christ.  I am who God created me to be, fearfully and wonderfully made in his image.  A beautiful bloom in progress.  

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Sleep Deprivation

This week has been filled with many crazy moments.   The beginning of last weekend I logged in about two hours of sleep with the youthgroup, Toni and I were the “adults” while the other “adult” fell asleep at about 12 midnight.  We had our 30 hour famine.   It was soo fun to get to hang out with the teens,  breaking out the Thriller dance for them every once in a while, and loading up on my favourite mocha java with the boys.  Personally though I enjoyed pelting the teens with waterballoons outside, while they were star tipping.  By the time Saturday afternoon came along I found myself serving cake without spilling icing down myself, grooving to some funky wedding music, and then when the evening rolled through I was listening to beautiful music being played at a piano recital by a girl from my youthgroup (which I have the lovely privilege of calling a friend).  Sunday was a little bit more normal, of course I accidentally attended the church of the holy pillow when I had the best intentions of getting up and participating at church, didn’t happen.  After that it kind of went downhill from there, this whole week I just haven’t been able to get my energy back.   I’ve been dragging, and even resorted to drinking a coffee/energy drink on Tuesday.  

Have you ever felt like you were watching life through a window?   I feel like that is how this week has gone for me, I’ve been so out of it that I’m really not living life just watching it.   I hate that feeling, and I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing.   At the same time though, it’s been kind of nice to unwind a wee bit and not feel like every minute I need to be doing something productive.   I don’t like watching life through a window though, so I’ve decided that once Sunday hits I’m back and active, full throttle in my life.  I think I just needed a wee break to breathe a little bit.  

I’m listening to a song by Christa Black called “The View”

some of the excerpts from the song go like this

most people think I’m crazy
said I took off way too soon
but I can’t describe this longing that’s pulling me inside
sometimes following your heart can be an interesting ride
but I’m looking over rooftops at the colors
and I know that I am happy

and I just have to say
the view looks fine from here
everything seems nice this time of year
and even though the future is unclear
I might just stick around a while

I love the first part that I pasted on here where it says sometimes following your heart is an interesting ride.  Definately true.  My mind says I’m crazy, that things are happening here and maybe I should stay and help out.   But my heart is God’s, and because I’m following my heart, I’m following Him.   I got posed the interesting question of so have you delayed your plans yet?  No I have not, and I’m not planning on it.  August is coming very fast, and the quicker it comes, the more I feel like there’s more to do.  I do know I want to spend as much time with my family, friends, and the youthgroup as much as possible.   The one thing I hate the most is that I’ve made a new friend, and when I leave in August I won’t get to hang out with her anymore, and when I get back in July, she will have already left for her home country.  

This is a very rambling post, I’m sorry.   Sleep deprivation, that’s my excuse.   Tonight while I was walking on the treadmill I popped in Life is Beautiful.   I love that movie, I cry everytime.   I think the most touching part is the love story about the family.   It’s such a beautiful film, the moment where he gives his wife the gift of hearing her son’s voice over the intercom, is probably the part that touches my heart the most.   They had just started going through the clothes of the children that had just gone into the chamber, and you could see the agony in her face realizing that one of the garments would be her son’s.   At that time her husband and her son send out a message over the intercom “Principesca” “Momma”,  and a ray of hope burst through her.   What a beautiful gift, in such a dark time.   

I love the ray’s of sunlight that we get every so often.  During our toughest trials God sends a ray to us that lightens our day.  I look back, and see those small rays that God sent just at the right time, and I’m so thankful for everyone who contributed to those rays.   Sometimes the most beautiful and treasured gift is not a possession, but a gift of love, an action, a kind word, or a hug.   Those are my most treasured gifts.