Friday, 17 November 2017

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound.

Dear God,

I know it's been a while since I've written. I've been enjoying conversing with you with my very heartbeat every day. It tells you things my mouth could never utter. It's been growing rapidly. Gaining wisdom with every devastating betrayal and every chasm of echoing pain caused by those I've done nothing to. I simply cannot comprehend the why's of it all, so I do the only thing I know how to do and I pray it is enough. I respond with love. For there is no use in asking why or dwelling in the depths of betrayal. You hold all of my tomorrow's and the answer is always you God. Jesus was love, your love, in human form. You sacrificed him for me. Love is the ultimate sacrifice, as Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice. Love unconditional. Thank you for this journey Father. A hard one indeed, but the most rewarding one yet. Amen.

You see it hasn't always been this way for me. The following dialogue has been my year summed up in a few paragraphs.

Love unconditional. To say it's easy would be a lie. It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Ask me to move mountains God, and I'll toss them into the sea. Ask me to heal the sick Father, and illness they shall know no more. But ask me to love in the face of evil, betrayal, and gut wrenching pain alas my skin grows clammy from fear, my feet move in hesitation. I'm not sure I heard you correctly. Are you certain God? You must be mistaken. I could be wrong, but did you just ask me to love all of these wretched people? They couldn't possibly deserve to possess such a sacred part of me. Where is your wrath for them God? They have made me, your child, weep tears of anguish. Should they not suffer at your hand? The only true hand of justice? How can I possibly love them when my heart is full of pain? Can't you allow me to tend to my own wounds first?

GOD: It is not about you child. My love is more powerful than the evil that tries to tear you down. My strength is made perfect in your weakness.

Yes, Father I will obey.

In time, as I began to love those that had afflicted me with such sorrow, my own heart began to heal. My feet moved forward with assuredness. My skin felt aglow with life and vigor. My why's became non-existent and turned into, "I see now Father." Not my will, but yours." The more people hurt me, the harder I loved. The harder I loved, the more I could past their malice and into the brokenness. Brokenness just like mine. How alike we all are. They too had the choice in life to choose love or bitterness. They too have sat and wept their why's. I saw it in the way their eyes dared me to prove them right, that I was no different than anyone else that caused them pain. The only difference between them and I was I chose love and freedom and they chose to imprison themselves with the chains of bitterness.

Bitterness is blinding, and only love can restore sight. This much I have learned. If you ask me why I choose to love those we see as undeserving, it's because I've seen it's power, the miracles it performs, the restoration it gives and how it transforms us to our very core. I know because that person used to be me. Always seeking revenge, taking justice into my own hands. Simply because I could not understand the why. I've learned that it's not up to me to understand, it all comes down to obedience. Humble obedience. When God asked me to love, I thought he was going to change those who caused me pain. Instead he ended up changing me. Being on the other side now, I'm glad I stopped asking why and just said Yes, Father I will obey.

We all have a choice to make when people hurt us. I pray you are wise enough to choose love. It will change your life and transform you.
It gives a whole new meaning to the first few bars of amazing grace.

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I'm found. Was blind but now I see."

I see because love restored my sight. The sight that bitterness stole from me.
I see now God, I see.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Reflections on turning 30

Today is the last day in my twenties. And honestly, I'm absolutely ecstatic to turn 30 tomorrow. I had been going back and forth between how I felt about it because I'm not where I thought I would be at 30. But I can definitely see just how far I really have come. (That may or may not be an ironic metaphor to the fact that I literally live an entire continent away now). I wanted to make this blog a good one, one that shows how "wise" I've become and to really justify some of those grey hairs on the top of my head. But in order to do that, I must tell you the driving factor behind my "wisdom" (I put the word wisdom in quotes because I'm only gonna be 30, what in tarnation do I REALLY know about life?)

Today I'm going to dedicate this blog to you my Beloved. The driving force in everything I do and all that I am. You are the reason I celebrate every day. Here's a few things you've taught me about love and how you've changed my very perspective on life itself.

 You've shown me that life isn't about ME, it's about everyone else around us. Those everyday people that we encounter and interact with, God has them in our lives for a specific reason. And more often than not it's the people that hurt us deeper than our hearts can sometimes bear, that need our love the absolute most.
 You've proven to me that love has the amazing power to heal from the inside out until you can no longer contain the flame and light that has engulfed your heart, so you freely radiate it outward and share it with those whose hearts' flame has long since been distinguished by bitterness, pain, guilt, regret, grief, and anger.
 When my hair is all wrong and my face is full of face demons, and my thick thighs that finally make me look like a woman instead of a little girl, but all I see is that I can't fit into my jeans as well as I used to; you take all of that and you give me the courage to look at everything I see as a flaw on my body as something beautiful to you instead.
 You've changed my entire perspective about life, about happiness, about me. I never feel more confident and truly beautiful than when I look at myself through your eyes.
 You help me to cherish the little moments. You are the reason behind this blog's name, and the very center of every single entry. You are always a part of my daily thoughts and activities, and I look for those given moments that you plant in my heart to make an impact.
 You never let me leave the house or go about my day without giving me the peace of mind that I am enough. Maybe not to everyone around me, but to you. To say that I am not enough, would be to say you are not enough to fill my heart with enoughness. (don't know if that's a word, but it is today)
And if I am anything less than enough in someone's heart, then I must fill the rest of their hearts with the love you've shared with me until LOVE becomes enough...not until I become enough.
 I love that you notice my love for bright colors and when I bought some plain white socks, you told me I had to wear my colorful socks over them because it's not "me" to wear something so void of color.
I love that you can look at me and read my thoughts and I can look at you and see the response in your face if I'm thinking anything negative.
 You really do give the best hugs.
 You have the heart of a servant. And it's contagious.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------   You're grounded and stand firm in who you are at all times. I've never in all of my life, and I mean never, have I met anyone who knew who they were and not betray themselves in the throes of pain and hard times. (you inspire me to grow in this area) People fill their lives with alcohol, the latest trends, social media, affairs, lust, dishonesty, and deceit because they are not firmly planted and their roots are not strong enough to hold them down when storms pass their way.
Your faith and relationship with God. You always keep him first in your life and in our relationship. I love seeing your face when God does a big work in your heart or when he reveals tiny tidbits of wisdom to your heart. You've helped me to see God as someone who is truly a friend and not this giant judge sitting in the helped me to see it because I see him in you....all the things I listed above about the things you have taught me, they are things that God has been teaching me as well...through you. You've allowed him to use you, and take control of everything in your life. Less of you, more of him. And in turn brought me closer to God.
I've said all of that to say this. I know you've had to watch me struggle internally about turning 30. And thanks to you and all the things above, I'm excited to continue this adventure of love with you. So tomorrow, (Si Dios Quiere) when I wake up, and as I look at my reflection, I'm going to smile and know that I am enough for you, because your love is and always has been enough for me.

After all, you are my mirror.


P.s. this was NOT posted or shared anywhere for the world to see. So if anyone does get to read it besides you (Jose) then they were meant to find love and I hope they get a small glimpse of why I fall in love with you on a daily basis.

Friday, 21 April 2017

The Big Issue

Today Jose and I went to Cambridge for a little shopping. Mostly for other people's care packages, but we did splurge a little for some fresh tea and coffee to make at home. As we walked around Cambridge, we noticed more homeless people camped out on the streets than usual. Heartbreaking for sure, but rest in knowing we always give a little something when we see them. We also saw a lot of people selling magazines and tours around know those street vendors. One of the guys was very persistent and wouldn't let us cross the street, he wanted to give us a tour around. After Jose politely told him no thank you, we know our way around Cambridge I've (Jose) lived here for 12 years now; he took the hint and let us cross the street so we could be on our way. Let's be honest...or rather I'll be honest. Those people annoy the tarnation out of me! And I avoid eye contact at all costs. Jose, well being the friendliest man on the face of the planet makes eye contact with EVERYONE and says hello with a warm smile on his face just inviting you in for a heart to heart. And if you're really lucky and stop to conversate with him, he will give you the biggest hug to carry with you for the rest of your day. And that's usually how we end up in those awkward situations with people wanting to sell us everything and not taking no for an answer. I even told Jose, just don't make eye contact. He said, but I'm just saying hi Mamacita.

I'm not sure how to argue against that and since I'm sure I'm now the world's worst person by avoiding eye contact, I just stay quiet and endure those awkward moments. However, there are times when a hello and a smile are all that's needed to make someone's day. (Jose teaches me so much about life, and here's a perfect example)

For those of you living in the UK, when you go out in a city and you see people selling magazines, be sure to pay attention to the names of them. There is one that some sell called The Big Issue (pictures down below) The people that sell them have fallen on hard times and are looking for a hand up for themselves and their families. They buy these magazines for a £1.25 and sell them for £2.50. Some of these people live in shelters, some of them live in low income housing, and some might even live on the streets. Jose and I always buy these magazines when we see anyone selling them. Today was one of those times. Except it was different in a way that broke my heart. When Jose stopped to buy the magazine from the man, the man looked at him and said, "O good I'm not invisible".....on a street FULL of people coming and going as they pleased. Most with arms loaded with shopping bags full of their latest purchases, I realized I was one of those people. I didn't see the man selling the magazines until Jose stopped. I had my blinders on, I contributed to making that man feel invisible. It really melted away my "let's get what we came to get and avoid eye contact with everyone because I don't feel like talking to anyone today" attitude.

I thought of all the times that I've ever felt invisible in a crowd of people. All the times, I wished someone would acknowledge my existence because I have something to offer. It's a terrible feeling, one that I know everyone reading this can relate to. Today changed me. It's pretty ironic this whole day really. I've just recently lost the people I thought were my friends. They have stopped talking to me after I reached out to them for help, but I guess I wasn't "holy" enough for them to make the effort to help me. So for the past month or so, I have felt invisible, and I have been praying to God to send me a friend, or at least someone that I can help asking for nothing in return. Today, my heart was humbled and my eyes have been opened wide. So consumed with my self-pity concerning everyone that hurt me, that I never looked up to see the eyes that needed my smile. God answered my prayer today. And he probably answered it yesterday and the day before too. I just never took the time to stop and look.

The saying is true, If you need a friend, go out and be a friend. If you need love, go out and give love first. I always knew the saying, but I've never actually felt it in my heart as raw as I did today. I once heard a poem that goes a little something like this...

                                    I didn't exist for a moment today, for when we passed you
                                     looked away. Not acknowledging my needs or even my existence.
                                    But in the pain I realized how many times I've avoided eyes that
                                    were reaching out to me.
                                                                                                    -Author Unknown

Life Lesson #3,989,486-LEARNED

Monday, 23 January 2017

A Reason to March

So much comes in and so very little comes out.  I try to get my brain to start connecting with my mouth.  I have a voice too you know and now I've got something to say, if you've got a weak stomach for honesty,  then nows the time to look away.

Turn your heads from the truth as it screams from the homeless man's eyes, though he fought for your freedom, you got the better deal from life. Today, homeless soldier, I March for you.

Deafen your ears to the cries of the unborn babies that never had a chance, you felt your life was more important so you took a pill and  passed it quietly  with just some minor cramps. Today, aborted children, I March for you.

Close your eyes to the women in the city standing under the red lights, not caring if they were kidnapped as you look for the perfect one to give you a good time. Today, sex trafficked victim, I March for you.

Clench your fists tight at the drug addict needing a hand of grace, they get high to escape their torment, it helps to numb the pain.  Today, struggling drug addict, I March for you.

Keep your head down as you pass them, their cries for help reflected on their faces, your problems are much more important, but a simple smile is all it would have give them hope, to save their life. Today, Suicide victims and everyone with depression, I March for you.

You see my point is pretty simple, our bodies were made for a purpose, but not in the way you'd ever see, because in the end it's not about anyone else its always been about me, me, me.

You have arms to be extended to those who need your hope, you have feet to walk beside them when life gets to be too tough for them to cope. You have a shoulder for them to lean on and maybe shed a few tears, you have eyes that can see their suffering as their pleas fall on deaf ears.

You have a voice that can be heard, and it's not because of your gender or your race,  but because you want to use your whole body as it was created to finally make a change.  Change of perspective, change of heart and change of mind.

You March for equal rights but turn your head away from those three feet from you with a cardboard sign begging for a warm place to stay.

So tell me who is the real oppressor now?
Today, marching oppressors, I March for them.

-Melissa Garcia

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Why Me Lord?

Why me Lord? What have I ever done, to deserve even one, of the blessings I've known?

That's the song my daddy used to sing in church when I was a little girl. It was my favorite song to hear him sing because he put so much heart into it and often times, he would finish it with tears rolling down his cheeks.
It is also, the song that I sang on my way home from my walk today.
I have been struggling lately trying to fight for what's right and to make sure justice is the outcome as a result of my best warrior like efforts. All of my life I've tried to fight for the right thing even if it meant standing alone. And all of my efforts to do the right thing have only backfired and I was the one left wondering what I did wrong.

Funny thing about doing what is right. There are less and less people in the world that want to do what's right because it isn't easy and as I've learned, the outcome is not always what we want. The thing I've been fighting for, the outcome wasn't what I wanted and the right decision was not made. Simply because people cannot be bothered with the truth of things and are inconvenienced by my pain. So under the rug it was swept, and I ended up being the one who was punished while the wrong doer was promoted.

I came home from work this morning feeling rather defeated and dumb. This afternoon, I decided to go for a walk instead of sitting in the house and wallowing in my emotions. I talked to God on my walk. I laid it all out on the table. My anger, my anxiety, my doubt, confusion, hurt, pride, and my sadness at the cowardliness of the people that turned a blind eye to my pain. As I was talking to him, I kept asking why me God? Why does this always happen to me? Why do I even bother doing the right thing anymore? Have I not learned my lesson by now? I kind of ran out of things to say at one point and so I just stood there in this big open field with the sunset to my front and not a person to be seen for miles. And I listened.

As I stood there with the wind blowing on my face and my heart full of pride, he said to me, "Why not you?" Uhhh, come again God? I'm sorry but the wind was in my ears and I could have sworn you just said, Why not you...yep, that's what he said. It didn't take me very long to understand what he meant and to realize what a fool I had been this entire time. He's been using me my entire life for a purpose that is far greater than what my tiny mind can comprehend. I stood there for a good minute soaking in God and his truth and I was humbled by his love for me. He entrusted me with his gifts, his passion, his truth, and love to go out and fulfill HIS purpose, not mine. And there I was questioning him, why me?  I should be honored to be chosen to be used by him, instead I was worried about when I, ME, HOLY MELISSA, MELISSA GARCIA WHO SPEAKS THE NAME OF JESUS OUT LOUD AND DEMONS WILL FLEE would see MY justice!

God showed me that it simply does not work that way. And I'm not sure why it has taken me 29 years to get it, but I understand now. I had to relinquish my right to be right. The battle belongs to God, I am but a tiny soldier in his army and he commands my every footstep, my every breath, my very heartbeat. He didn't leave me when I was abandoned at birth, and he's been with me my entire life. He's never left me, nor has he forsaken me.

I walked out to that field today as a victim of injustice asking God why me. Never did I imagine I would be walking home in victory asking God the same question, this time with a completely different meaning. A different perspective is sometimes all we really need.

Tell me Lord, what did I ever do, that was worth love from you or the kindness you've shown. Lord help me Jesus, I've wasted it so help me Jesus, I know what I am. Now that I know I've needed you so help me Jesus, my soul's in your hand.

Why me Lord?

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Matters of the heart

I haven't spoken to you in four years. And today, when I called you, the tears were instant. Even now I cannot stop them from racing down my face. Thank you for making the effort, even when I did not, to reach out to me and heal the broken places with your wisdom and unconditional love. For being the best role model of who God is and how powerful his love and grace is to unworthy people like me. I'm glad we have reconnected, although you have never been far from my thoughts, especially around the holidays when I'm making a million loaves of potica.

In case you all are wondering who I am talking about, it's my Auntie Bobbee. She is a nun, yes I'm serious. And she is my favorite person in the whole wide world. She is THE reason (her and Auntie Georgia) that I am who I am. The reason I had the courage to run cross country in Jr. High even though I wasn't that great. The reason I played soccer, the reason I  play the flute, the reason I write, the reason that I have courage to just go for what I want in life even if I fail. At least I can say I tried. She taught me to have manners, how to be a lady, and that life really is one big adventure if you are brave enough to embark on it.

There hasn't been a week that has gone by in my life that I haven't spoken to her through email at the very least. Until four years ago when I moved to England. There was a big miscommunication and I stopped talking to her. She messaged me on fb and gave me her number a few weeks ago and I called and kept missing her, but today, I got to talk to her. And it was like nothing had changed, like we never skipped a beat in that four year gap. I asked her for her forgiveness and she forgave me as we updated each other on life. Before we got off the phone, she said to me what she has always said to me in every email and every conversation we've ever had in my 29 years of life. She said I just want you to be happy my little peanut. I'm glad that you are finally happy.

In all of my life, I've never heard her bring up my past. I've never had her rub my mistakes in my face, and I've never known her to turn her back on me because of a disagreement, misunderstanding, or different views.  I.e. She is catholic, I am not. But I've always gone to mass with her whenever I visited her every summer, and she has even come to church services with me when she would visit.

I write this today because I hope you will listen when I urge you to not waste the time you have left on this earth posting another facebook status about the election. What is done, is done. What will be, will be. Sign off of social media for a while and go call that family member you haven't spoken to in a while. Just say hey, I love you and I miss you. Don't talk about politics, talk about life. Talk about your dreams, make amends if they need to be made, and have a laugh from memories that you share. It's not about political views, religious views, but heart views. We are only guaranteed TODAY, RIGHT NOW, THIS MOMENT. Please don't waste it.

In the words of Dionne Warwick, "What the world needs now is love sweet love. It's the only thing that there's just too little of." 

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Whole Pieces of Broken

About a year ago, I had a friend I was really close to stop talking to me. Just up and disappeared out of my life. I tried to reach out to her numerous times and she just ignored my messages. So I stopped messaging her and waited for her to come to me instead. And I waited, and waited. I beat myself up for a while wondering what in the heck could I have done wrong to make her not want to talk to me anymore? We didn't get into a fight or have a disagreement. One minute everything was great and the next I didn't exist. Well time went on and she deployed for six months. Jose and I kept in contact with her husband to make sure he was getting through the deployment ok, and to hang out with his totally cool mom! (Seriously though, she rides a motorcycle. It doesn't get much cooler than that) Then June rolls around  and said former friend comes home. Well the deployment took its toll on her marriage and some truths came out, gossip flew around, and overnight this gals reputation was tarnished, and her marriage was over.

I can't say I wasn't mad at her as well, because I was. One day Jose and I saw her as we were out and about and my immediate reaction was to stretch out my arms and give her a big hug. Yea, I know. I was yelling at my body to stop, don't hug her, she betrayed you and everyone around her. (insert the rest of those horrible judgy thoughts we all have). But I hugged her and asked how she was doing, she said good just getting dinner for her and her husband. It hit me then that she didn't know that I knew (her husband had left her already) and at that moment my anger and judgement melted away into sadness. As I said goodbye and wished her well, I looked back and all I saw was a broken woman. She's been on my heart ever since.

There have been many a time in my life where I've messed up, where I've been confused about who I was, where I thought no one was watching so what's it going to hurt if I'm having a good time?

And every time my sins were found out and I was put on public display to be shamed for the rest of my life. Except I had Jesus. He forgave me when I repented and changed my ways. He gave me mercy, he showed me grace. All of which by anyone else's account, I was undeserving of and probably would have stoned me to death if they could have. There were a few people that distanced themselves from me but they still loved me. They came around once I came around to my senses and convictions. They didn't see me as this horrible person who was deserving of desertion. They saw me as the broken mess that I truly was and they loved me back to being whole.

It's a common story really. Most of us can relate or have/are going through it right now. But I'll tell you what I've learned from my brokenness with the best country analogy that I've got.
Have you ever been in an old barn? You know how some of the boards are broken in various places? At night, all you can see is the broken boards and the cold that they let in to the barn. But watch the sun rise through those pieces of brokenness and watch how the light hits the hay or the inside of the barn. You know the kind I'm talking about, light so perfect that you can see all the dust particles floating in the air where it falls. It's stunning isn't it? For a while you forget about the broken boards and just stand in awe at the beauty you are surrounded by.
That's kind of like life. If we take the time to see and appreciate the beauty in our brokenness, only then can we help our neighbor who is fixing his broken barn boards with money, alcohol, drugs, sex, etc.

You see I wasn't mad at my friend because of what she did. I was mad at her because she reminded me of who I used to be. I judged her like I was judged and in that moment I looked back at her and I saw how broken she was, I also saw a little bit of me. To deny her any grace and forgiveness would be to deny that I had ever made mistakes in my life. And that folks would be very hypocritical of me to do. I pray that when others hurt us or dissapoint us, we are slow to judge their mistakes and instead see them as broken people who simply need Jesus.

In other words, take those people to your barn and show them the beauty that lies in being broken. God's love is the only love that will ever put our shattered pieces back together and make us whole again.
Ah, mercy, isn't it beautiful?