Wednesday, 10 December 2014

So much more

"What's in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet;"

We all know this quote. It's from Shakespeare's infamous Romeo and Juliet. Remember this quote, because later on it will be critical in making my point.

I know I have been away for a couple of months. To be honest, I haven't felt like writing. My depression has been particularly present in my everyday life and I have hidden away from the world. I've even tried hiding from myself.  So now that I am feeling better, I will share with you my heart.

I was in Bury St. Edmunds a few months ago with Jose. We were just taking a stroll and enjoying the beautiful flowers. When I passed by a very young tree that had vines of thorns growing around it. You could tell it wasn't part of the tree and I wondered why would they put thorns around a tree?

I didn't think too much of it for the rest of the day. Then my depression set in. It got so bad that I got sick of myself. I was tired of all the thoughts that ran through my head no matter what I did. I was tired of feeling alone no matter how many people were there around me. I got tired of plastering on my smile at work. I got tired of asking for help (several times) and always being let down as if I didn't matter. I got tired of trying to feel God when I read my Bible. I felt so empty and lifeless. I was simply just done.  I asked Jose why did God give me this terrible disease to live with? Why doesn't he send me people to help me? Why can I not find my way out of this darkness? My very wise husband took me in his arms and he said, "mamacita, sometimes God gives us thorns that we must live with for the rest of our lives to always keep us close to him."  When he said that, I thought of the tree I saw in Bury.

I came to the realization recently that the thorns that were placed around the tree I saw, were there to protect the tree from small animals eating away at it and its buds until it grew strong enough to sustain itself even when the animals climbed all over it.  Just like thorns are not on roses to hurt other people when they hold them, they are there to protect the rose and to remind the holder just how delicate and beautiful the rose is and to handle it with the utmost care. 

Now here's where the quote comes in to play. I looked it up on Wikipedia so I could accurately quote it for you, and at the top it gave this explanation: 

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" is a frequently referenced part of William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet seems to argue that it does not matter that Romeo is from her rival's house of Montague, that is, that he is named "Montague." The reference is often used to imply that the names of things do not affect what they really are.

And suddenly it hit me. My depression does not define who I am as a person. My depression doesn't affect my love for God, or my love for my husband. It is not WHO I am. I am not my thorn, I am the rose, I am the young-ling tree protected by my thorns to grow strong and beautiful. You see, too often we become the very things we despise or struggle with. We let it over take us instead of fighting to keep ourselves in tact. It's so easy to just give in. But who would stop and admire our beauty if all we were to become were thorns? What testimony would we have to tell others of our survival? What wisdom would be have to share with others who are also struggling? We bear no beautiful petals, we grow no limbs to give others shade. We become bitter, we succumb to our thoughts of suicide, we fall deeper into addiction.

I was also talking to my brother the other day. And he told me something that coincides with all of this.He said, "you know Melissa, I think the reason why our family doesn't talk to us and doesn't accept us is because that's actually just God protecting us." I just sat back and thought, wow, that really makes a lot of sense! If our family accepted us and loved us like we wanted them to, we would be caught up in their hatred, their judgmental, bitter hearts. We would never be able to grow because everything that they are would consume us and we would be just another thorn. 

If roses had no thorns (as most come like that now) would we handle them with such delicacy? Most likely, no. Without, my depression, and without the pain my family has inflicted on me. I don't think I would yearn for God as much as I do. I wouldn't want to be a better person. I wouldn't want to fight to become who I have become. I wouldn't have as much love to share with others. I wouldn't have as much compassion or empathy. I would be mediocre and not who God created me to be. I am a rose. And just because you (yes I mean YOU) struggle with things like depression, suicidal thoughts, addiction, or anything else, doesn't mean that you aren't a rose. It just means that God is reminding you how precious you are to him. He is keeping you humble, honest, and beautiful for the calling he placed you in this life to fulfill. Don't let your thorns smother your beauty. Don't let your thorns define who you are. 

Also, as a side note. If you do struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts, you are not alone and you DO matter. You matter to me, but most importantly you matter to God. He would never have let you wake up this morning to face another day if you didn't matter. He loves you and so do I. Now go and be blessed. It's time to blossom!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

A Stones Throw Away


After all, it IS the law. She broke it, she deserves to be punished.
Yet before her is a man who is quietly stooped down writing words in the dirt. He lifts his head at the angry crowd and says something that will change this woman's life forever.

"He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." John 8:7
One by one her accusers dropped their stones to the ground and walked away.
The man continues to write in the dirt until the very last accuser is gone. He raises himself up and looks at this woman and says "woman where are these accusers of yours, has no one condemned you?"
She looks at him with disbelief and says "no one Lord"
And with grace on his tongue and forgiveness on his lips, the man replies, "neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."

The man, was Jesus. The woman was caught in the act of adultery, which as you know, was punishable by death in those days. What gets me the most about this story is not the fact that Jesus let this woman off scott free, but I wonder what he was writing in the dirt before this woman's accusers? One could think he was writing the names of their sins in the dirt. I imagine if it were to have happened in this day and age and the accusers protested when Jesus told them "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." One by one he would have called them over so each of them could see their sins staring at them in the face.

Bob, saw the word PORN. As his wife left for work that day, he turned on his computer and succumbed to the temptation.

Frank saw the word ALCOHOLIC as he drinks himself into a stupor night after night while his wife handles the screaming kids and takes care of dinner and after she puts the kids to bed he drunkenly belittles her with his words and abuses her with his fist.

Judy saw the word GOSSIP as she talks about those around her that don't meet up to her social standards, she knows everything about everybody, always has an opinion, and no one can tell her different.

Most times people accuse others to hide something in their own life that they don't want to people to know about
Bob, he won't communicate with his wife about how their marriage lacks "spice" and it just takes so much work to get that back, so he finds his excitement in a 10 minute video.

Frank, he drinks and abuses his wife because he can't face how much he hates himself, he hates his job, he hates that he can't provide for his family like he wants to.

Judy, she gossips about everyone because she feels her life is meaningless, she has no job, she has even put on quite a bit of weight over the years which has led to low self esteem, so to draw attention away from herself she magnifies the flaws in everyone around her.

You see, the only difference between this lady who was CAUGHT in the act of adultery and you and I, is we HIDE our sin from the outside world behind closed doors. We go to church and act the part, then turn around and quickly judge those who's sins have been "found out" We try and draw attention away from our sins and justify our actions by thinking, "well at least I've never done THAT." Eventually though, your sins will find you out and I think it's best to acknowledge them now while we can still have God's grace and forgiveness than to wait until we get to heaven and God turns us away.

I wonder when God gave us permission to start stoning people to death. I wonder why we can't just drop our stones and just walk away. I wonder why it is so hard to just love. If you're a Christian, then you can.
Before I go, I will leave you with this one thought.

If your phone calls were secretly recorded and your life was videotaped unbeknownst to you, then played back for the whole world to bear witness to, how many (biblical) laws would you be breaking? How many accusers would you have at your doorstep wanting to stone you to death? What words would Jesus have written in the dirt about you? I'm guessing more than you care to acknowledge. The times are different, but the message is very much the same. Just forgive, give it to God, drop your stones and walk away in God's grace.

After all Love goes a lot farther than a stone ever will.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

It's the Little Things

This world is an ugly place. It seems to only get worse with every passing day. The sheer hypocrisy of people is astounding. Morals have disappeared and integrity is but a 9 letter word that would set most people on fire if it were a lit match. People are lazy, entitled, and ever so vengeful. Wrong doings get swept under the rug, a slap on the wrist is given. Bad people are rewarded, the good goes unnoticed. A simple thank you is a rare thing to hear anymore. Instead only faults and mistakes are pointed out and magnified. I have quit watching the news for the most part because I get so discouraged and afraid for the world I live in and the direction in which it is heading. I scroll quickly through my Facebook looking for something positive in someone's life, but all I see is negativity and hatred. I find myself  wanting to curl up under my blankets and just hide away forever.

 I come home close to the brink of tears most days because humanity is so disappointing. My soul is weary, my heart is discouraged. I can't help but just hungrily seek God's face for answers, for hope, for promises. I always find it and I go to bed with hope in my heart for the next morning ready to face this misshapen world. But the next day comes and a new batch of disappointment and frustration always ensues. The other day I went out for a sunset walk with my husband. We were only out there for maybe 45 minutes watching the colors displayed across the sky as the sun sank down below the horizon. I was a little sad that the sun set so quickly. I could have stared at those colors for hours. After the sun set, Jose and I headed home and I had a revelation!

 What I didn't tell you about the previous day that my husband and I enjoyed the sunset was that it started out cold and rainy and was like that up until about an hour before I left work.

 So back to my revelation. As disappointed as I was that the sun had set too quickly for my liking, I realized how much worse it could have been. The day started out ugly, but I was rewarded with a beautiful sunset. It was my hope, my sign that no matter how ugly things are around me, there is always goodness and beauty to be found. It might be small and but for a fleeting moment, but it's there nonetheless. I mustn't become so consumed by all of the bad that I overlook the good, then it would be my fault that I remained disheartened.

 I do realize that there is good to be found everywhere, it is just hidden but in the most obvious places. A smile from a passing stranger. A heart to heart over lunch and realizing you have more in common with someone than you thought. A phone call at your job from someone you've never met in person saying a sincere thank you for a job well done. A gripping goodbye hug from someone you've only ever talked to twice, but the hug made you feel like you've known them forever. An, "I love you beautiful" from your spouse as he takes you to work and drops you off at 7:30 in the morning. A promise from God in the Bible, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." Hebrews 13:5 A beautiful sunset after an ugly day.

 These are all of the good things in my own life to name a few. I take these moments and I tuck them away in my heart to keep me going when I feel the world has trodden on me one too many times. But in order to see these things, I have to LOOK, take the time, remove SELF from the picture. Because it's not about me, it's about everyone else around me who is also discouraged. (How can you live in this world and not be?)How can I be their little bit of good? How can God use me to make a difference? You see, that smile I got from a passing stranger, it's because I smiled first and it was returned. That person I had lunch with and found out we had a lot in common, I opened myself up, and they reciprocated. You have to give what you want to recieve. It isn't always going to be returned, but 99% of the time it is. If you want a friend, go and be a friend. If you want love, go and give love. You HAVE to be the change you want to see in the world even if it is just one smile at a time.

  The sunset from our walk. See the angel in the clouds? Isn't God wonderful?

Friday, 8 August 2014

Just wait...wait, what?

At the end of every week I do my "self-evaluations." I think about everything that has happened during the week, the conversations I've had with people, the things I've been worrying about but have been too tired to really think about and assess, the impressions people have made on me, and the lessons that I have learned. I do this because I want to always be a better person in every way I can. My husband, is my inspiration.

Great things have been happening for me this year, but I have been feeling like I'm leaving my husband in my shadow at times as he is the one getting the short end of the stick. I have conveyed this to him, but all he keeps telling me is how proud of me he is, and that God will open doors for him when it's time. He has so much faith. He makes me want to have that much faith. Here recently though, I have been more angry and impatient than I usually am. Angry because I see bad people hurting my husband and him getting the shaft and I must sit here and helplessly let it happen. Again, I communicate my frustrations to my beloved and he always just tells me "pray mamacita, just pray."

So today as I got out of the car and my heart drove away to work, I go into the house and have a conversation with God. It goes a little something like this. ME: "Hey God, it's me again. You know I'm really tired of all of this (this meaning Jose's situation), I hate not knowing, I feel like I'm walking in the dark and it sucks!" You can imagine my surprise when I heard him talk back. It went a little something like this, GOD: "Why are you walking in the dark, when I am your light?" "Quit walking and just wait." ME: "Um, what??" "Wait?""But I DON'T WANNA! "Do you not see that this is a time sensitive situation here God?" "My very marriage depends on the outcome, I need you to do something now!" GOD: "Wait"

And that was the end of that conversation, although not the end of my internal struggle. So I continued moping around thinking of how I would like to handle the situation if I could and how I wish I could tell some people a thing or two if I had it my way! But I kept hearing God tell me to wait, then my favorite Bible verse popped into my head.

He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:29-31

And it got me to thinking even more. (When you spend as much time alone as I do, you have A LOT of time to think) The weary will soar with wings like eagles, but how can you soar when you are weary? How can you walk and not faint? Because God said WAIT! WAIT on me, and when the time comes you will have the strength to soar! You will have the strength to walk, I will RENEW you while you wait! (I can't believe it has taken me THIS long to come to this realization) 

BAM! All anger was evaporated in that very minute of epiphany. If I keep my mind running with worry and scenarios that could happen, but might not ever happen, I make my soul weary. So when God says it's time to soar, I will be left behind watching my husband soar and I will stand there ashamed and broken down because I didn't WAIT. I didn't trust God enough to know his plans are bigger than my plans. I should know this by now. Waiting seems to be the theme of my very existence. Story of my life. So, wait I shall. Patiently, for as long as it takes. Being renewed in mind, body, and spirit. Because I stand on his promise, in his peace, with hope and faith, until he calls me to fly.

Friday, 1 August 2014

One Day At A Time.

So just a preface for those reading. This post is going to be a little deep, so if you want a cheerful happy go lucky post, this isn't it. Maybe it's more for me than it is for anyone else....I don't know. All I know is I have to write.


I sit here nervously writing this, contemplating whether or not I should bare my soul like this. Being vulnerable, not really my thing. But I must move forward, I must grow.

(I have hit the backspace key about 100 times right now) Is it hot in here? Phew, ok here goes nothing for real this time!

My entire life I have struggled with depression. The technical word for my case is called dysthymia.
I was abandoned by my mother when I was born, used as a scapegoat by my family, lied to and used for a check that came in the mail once a month. My life has been anything but easy. I was confined to my room for most of my life only to be let out of my room during holidays and when any family came in from out of town. I used to think it was because I did something good. But after they left, back to my room I was sent. I didn't realize until I was older, (by the confirming from my out of town relatives) that my mom only did this so our relatives wouldn't see how awful she treated me. I was even locked in a closet when I was bad and I wasn't even 5 years old. I remember that and being locked in the bathroom in the dark (I used to be afraid of the toilet) and as punishment (again I wasn't even 5 years old) my mom locked me in the dark bathroom. There's so much more, but I don't have the time to write it all out...wouldn't do me any good anyway.

So, depression. It's a struggle. The hardest struggle I've ever had to go through. It comes out of the blue, it feels like someone takes over my mind and fills it with my past. The usual, you're a failure...your past is proof. You can't even be loved by your own flesh and blood. You can't even hold a marriage together (my first marriage with Tim, failed) you have no friends, you have no family, you are completely and utterly alone, useless, and it wouldn't even make a difference if you weren't here anymore.

Those are the thoughts that run through my head for no reason at all. And as hard as I try, I cannot escape them, after all they're right! But, I forget, there are always two sides to everything. The good AND the bad.
When my depression lifts (usually after a few days) I see the world through my Jesus's eyes. I was put on this earth for a purpose. So what if my family doesn't give two hoots about me! I have my husband who is my best friend, and his best friend (who shall remain nameless) who I have adopted into my heart as my brother, and they are all the family that I will ever need. They know that dark side of me, yet they love me unconditionally and vice versa. My first marriage didn't fail, it led me to my soul mate. Without Tim, I never would have moved to England, and I never would have found Jose. Failure, would have been to stay with someone who abused me, belittled me, was unfaithful to me the entire time we were married, starved me, (I got down to 90lbs) convinced me that I was nothing but a sex object for him to use whenever he wanted, even if I said no. I didn't fail, I found the strength to say enough is enough, I found the strength to walk away even if it meant into nothing. Having nothing (literally, I left ALL of my possessions behind) was so much better than living in hell.

And yes, I have friends. I may only be able to count them on one hand and see them at work, but they are the people who really care about me. The ones I look forward to seeing and laughing with every day. We don't hang out at all, but they show me they care in the little ways and that's all I ever wanted in a friend. (Ladies, if you read this I truly love you all from the very bottom of my heart. You save me in ways you will never know).
Now comes, the hard part. I am alone. I work days, Jose works nights. I have the weekends off, Jose works the weekends and has two days off during the week. I come home from work to an empty house, I go to bed alone. The weekends are long and the nights suck!!! I struggle with being alone. That's when the depressing voices start and into depression I sink.

Lately, I've been in a funk that has taken a while to get out of. My husband, being the understanding and wonderful man he is, let's me know everyday that he is praying for me and he loves me and he hopes that that will always be enough reason to fight this depression that overwhelms me at times. Well, it always is.
I came home today to a list of Bible verses my husband had written down for me. I looked them up, and as I got further and further down the list, I started hungrily searching for these verses he had written down. Each one, quenched my hunger and lifted me out of my depression. Finally, able to breath, I just sat on my couch and I cried...the kind of cry that just sounds like a wail, hardly any tears were shed really. I didn't know what else to do, but cry out to my Heavenly Father and say his name over and over until I was too weak to speak anymore.

I wept, out of shame, pain, relief, joy, and faith. Until finally he revealed to me, I am not alone. I am set apart! I am different because I have a purpose, a calling. I don't have many friends because I am SET APART! I AM NOT ALONE! I can't get over how wonderful I feel right now. I am amazed at how wonderful my FATHER is and how he works through my husband to get to me. Gracias a Dios! Praise God, Praise God, Praise God. I AM NOT ALONE!!!!!! Jose will always be Mi Angelito (my angel). always leading me back to my first love, to OUR first love. 

Love is God, God is love!

I know my battle with depression will always be a lifelong battle, but thank God I am clothed in the armor of God. My feet are sodden with his word, and his promises for my life, to keep me pressing forward one step, one day at a time.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Perception vs Reality

This past weekend Jose and I went to London and toured the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum. It was so much fun. We saw things that intrigued us, made us a little squeamish, made us laugh, and things that we wouldn't have believed had we not been looking at it with our own eyes.

Found this little fact on a table cloth. TN REPRESENT!
King Henry VIII's shoe! I'm related to this guy too!
A portrait of John F Kennedy made entirely out of butterflies. Weird but cool.

Those are just some of the cool things that we saw. We also came across something very eye opening and humbling believe it or not. Which brings me to my main focus.
Ever hear the saying, "The grass is greener on the other side." I'm sure many of you have even thought it many times. I know I certainly have. You come across people and circumstances that seem so much greater than what you have. You envy those people and start hating your own life. I've been there, but I have learned that some people's grass only looks greener because they've laid down fake grass (turf) on top of their own very dry deserts. They want you to envy them because that's how they justify lying to themselves.

This weekend I was reminded that it's not how green my grass is, it's that my grass has roots and though at times it may appear a bit brown from the harshness of the sun, if I look closer I can see that it still has life to it. More life than what I see on the surface, it's still growing... brown tips and all.

In the museum this weekend, Jose and I saw a video of two individuals that knew the meaning of LIFE! But what humbled me was the fact that these two men were in the Ripley's Museum. Both people were born with only their torso's, no legs, no hips, just their torso. In the videos it showed these individuals achieving greatness DESPITE their circumstances. It made me sad, not for them, but for humanity. How is it that people who have so much less than most are the ones that really live life to the absolute fullest? Why are we not ALL doing this? Why do people have to be born without torso's to be recognized as acceptional, or inspiring?

It's because we think the grass is greener on the other side. We are always comparing our lives with those around us. And it makes us unhappy. It prevents us from being who we were born to be, loving how we were created to love, taking risks that have great rewards, fighting for what we know is right, speaking what we know is true. We are afraid of what other people might think, we are too lazy to put in the effort, it's so much easier to just look over the fence and envy our neighbors grass and complain to them how your own grass just won't seem to grow. 

The problem is, it's not really the grass that is dead, it's us. We allow our unhappiness, fear, pride, and envy to consume who we are. To creep up in our minds and lives and take over all that we were born to be. Your neighbor with that fake green grass? They feed off of your misery. They take you away from your own grass that you should be tending to and caring for, and they convince you that their grass is so much better. But it never is. It never is, because it's not real grass, it has no roots, no life, no purpose. It just looks pretty. 

My challenge to you today is to get rid of the negative people and things in your life. The people that suck you dry and put doubt in your mind. The ones that say their marriages are perfect,but they have someone on the side , their bank accounts are over flowing with money, but they can't seem to buy that one thing to fill that hole in their heart, their cars are top of the line yet they drive alone, their jobs that pay more than yours but take them away from their family, their houses that have more rooms than a hotel, yet they never can call it home, their grass that is emerald green but it's not real....those are the people that slowly suck the life out of you. 

Instead, keep your nose on your side of the fence and water your grass. Don't abandon it because it looks dead on top, it just needs a little TLC to make it green again. Live YOUR life the way you were destined to. Conquer something great every day. Speak only words of kindness and truth to those around you. Surround yourself with people who give you joy, people who give you water to help your grass grow. Life is too short to live vicariously through other people. They want you to live through them, because they can't live with themselves. 

I am living proof that the grass is greener where you water it.

Ask yourself this one question, What would you do if you weren't afraid? Answer it, now go do it. It's as easy as that, Believe It or Not! 

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Growing Pains

First off let me start by saying that I am the type of person that does "self evaluations" on myself constantly. I look for ways to improve who I am. Sometimes I learn the hard and painful way, sometimes I learn from watching other people, and sometimes I have people who come into my life that inspire me to no end. My enemies are the ones I watch. The ones that attack me for no reason and try to bring me down to their level. They teach me more about love than my actual friends. Because they are the ones that need it the most. I always feel sorry for those types of people, because it has to be a lonely world they live in hating themselves so much that they feel the need to destroy those around them just so they won't be lonely. Those are the ones that I never want to be like and in my "self evaluations" I am always asking myself my motives behind the negative and hurtful thoughts and words that I have. All because my enemies have shown me who I never want to become.

My family, now there's a complicated one. My family has given me good memories. Mostly bad, but the few good ones I have, I cling to them for hope every single day. It used to hurt me to think about them, about all of the good times. I would always wonder what happened to make us all hate each other. Where did our love for each other go? I would cry myself to sleep remembering all of the great times we used to have and wishing with all of my heart that we could be a family again. Sadly, this might not ever be because it never really was. I was just young and naive and any attention they gave to me, I saw that as a good memory even if it wasn't real. This is all another story for another time, so I will get to my point. My family has taught me how to be independent, how to not judge others so harshly just because they sin differently than I do. They've taught me loyalty, honesty, integrity, love, and most importantly they are the reason I know and love God the way I do. But they didn't teach me in the way you might think. I just watched them when they didn't know I was watching, I listened when they didn't know I could hear, It was in those moments I realized who I had to strive to never ever become. Lesson learned? God can always bring beauty from ashes. I am living proof. 

Now on to my friends. Although I barely have just a handful, the ones I do have, have helped me grow as a person in more ways than I can count. They have shared their gifts of laughter, music, uninhibitidness (I don't think that's even a word, but just roll with it), honesty, and unconditional love with me. Some have and still inspire me on a weekly basis with their strength and wisdom. And some inspire me with their courage to just be happy no matter what others think of how they are living their life. They have shown me the beauty in the small things. The healing powers of laughter, the emotion stirring powers of music, my extreme love for the game of UNO, and the soul cleansing power of a good cry. Even if it is for no reason at all. My friends are my family. My friends are my reminder to stop taking life so seriously. And my friends are my constant in this ever changing world.

Last but not least, Mi Amor. My love, my heart, my very best friend. Jose Luis Garcia. The man that completely turned my world upside down and showed me that love is the best healer of all. He forced me (unknowingly) to be honest with myself. He challenges me to grow in God every day. He has shown me that I am stronger than I think I am. And he has inspired me to forgive. It has been a painful (for me) road at times to endure the truths that were always in my heart, but I was too scared to see because I wanted to be ignorant instead of feel the pain of the truth. But in my self discovery, Jose has been there the entire way. Helping me grow, helping me cope with the pain of my past, understanding when I wasn't ready to forgive, but rejoicing with me when I finally did. He keeps me on my toes with his quick wit, and he keeps me young with his innocent heart. Simply put, he is my everything.


You have to love yourself enough to know you don't want to be like your enemies. 

You have to love yourself in order to be strong enough to be REAL in a very fake world.
You have to love yourself enough to face the truth, even though it hurts, you know that it will help you more than the hurt.
But lastly, you have to love yourself enough to accept the kind of love you deserve. The kind that you were created for. The kind of love that Jesus died on the cross to give to all of us. The kind of love that inspires and transforms you into someone that you never knew you had the courage to be.

The kind of love that only comes from growing pains.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

All You Need Is Love

I am someone that wears their heart on their sleeve 80% of the time. It's something that I wish I didn't do, but I am learning to slowly embrace it. I cry when I see other people cry. And I don't hesitate to tell people what I think when they try to do me wrong. I am by nature an empathetic person. Oddly enough though, I am really good at hiding my weaknesses. With all of that being said, this year, I have come across people that make me want to shut down inside so that I never show any emotions at all. I keep thinking they're not good enough to be let in. They don't deserve to get to know my story. Pretty haughty right? 

It seems though, that God will not allow me to be that way and he wants me to be my empathetic, vulnerable self. Everytime I have come across these people and I shut down, I notice I begin to judge them and I begin to find all of their flaws and characterize them as a bad person. And everytime, I am always put in my place, humbled to the point of embarrassment and tears. One such example. I have an aquaintance that has been doing horrible horrible things. It seemed as if they didn't even try to hide what they were doing, but they always lied about it and tried to cover it up in ways that made me furious!! So I judged them and classified them as a bad person and I was cruel to them when they tried to say hi to me. All because I didn't agree with what they were doing.

One night this past week I was sitting far far away from this person when they came walking toward where I was sitting and took a seat across from me. I immediately put my wall up and we had some awkward and sparse conversation. That was until they came right out and told me their secret. As they were talking to me, I was watching this person's face and I saw them in a different light. I saw pain instead of the monster that I had built them up to be in my head. And as I was listening and observing, I was reminded of all the times I had made mistakes in my life, all of the times that I was rebellious , all of the times that I let people down because I was selfish. 

I saw so much of myself in this person sitting across from me pouring their heart out, wanting support and advice. I was humbled and embarrassed at myself for being so judgemental. How dare I! So me, wearing my heart on my sleeve, told them that I already knew everything but I am not here to judge and I shared with them one of my stories from my past when I too messed up. I didn't want them to have to go down that road alone like I did. I realized that in my judgement, I failed to see this person's pain behind their actions.I confessed to this person that I had judged them and I apologized and asked for forgiveness. 

It's funny how things work if we are only willing to be honest with ourselves. It's amazing the things we learn about ourselves as well by putting our pride aside and being vulnerable. That night, I learned that the entire time I had been building this person up in my head as a monster, the real monster was me.

THIS is why I am learning to embrace the fact that I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am learning that it is ok to be vulnerable, it's ok to admit when I'm wrong, it's ok to say I'm sorry. By keeping my walls down, I learn to accept the fact that I am not perfect and I shouldn't expect other people to be perfect either


 In my case it's being honest with myself. Even if that means admitting I was wrong. Again, lesson learned. It's not always about what we see with our eyes. If we just open up our hearts, we will see that everyone out there is hurting and when they do bad things, they are just reaching out for help. And all it takes is that one person to just love them to change their entire life around. 

Like the Beatles once said. "All You Need Is Love, Love Is All You Need"

Monday, 16 June 2014

To clean or not to clean....

So a lot of changes have happened in my life recently. (for those that don't know) The biggest one is I married the man my soul was made for in October. A lot of people around me keep telling me, O you're still in the honeymoon phase, or you're still newlyweds those butterflies will fade. And it just irritates me! I know my husband has character builders (that's how I like to refer to flaws, I hate the word flaws). Yes he can get on my nerves and make me want to scream, but what good would it do me? I accept him as he is, character builders and all. Everyday I work on being a better wife. Do I succeed? Most of the time, no. I am as human as anyone else, but I try. Because to me, that's what marriage is all about. Even when we fail, at the end of the day it's love that holds us together.

For example, the other day Jose was at work and I was home by myself. The house was a disaster so I cleaned it. Did the dishes, scrubbed the bathroom, changed the linens, etc. etc. The entire time I was fuming to myself Jose NEVER cleans the bathroom, Jose NEVER vacuums, changes the linens, or puts away his clothes. Why do I always have to do all of this? If I didn't do it, it would never get done! And as I was standing on my bed angrily trying to make the sheet go over the corner I looked up and I saw the picture on the wall. You know what I did? I cried. I cried because I was so ashamed of myself. This wasn't about Jose and all the things he doesn't do around the house, it was about me and my own self gratification. I was gently reminded of all the things Jose does that I take for granted, yet he never complains.

For instance, when we get to have dinner together and he cooks (he usually is the one that cooks) he always serves me. He hands me my plate full of food, my napkin, my drink, and my silverware. Then he serves himself last and after dinner he cleans the kitchen. Never once has he complained, he does it out of love. Because LOVE IS SELFLESS. Now back to my cleaning story. After I got done crying and fighting my pride, I started cleaning the rest of the house and thanking God for all the blessings he gives to me. Number one being my husband.

Instead of cleaning the house all angry, I try now to clean it because my husband helps provide for me. It's with his help and hard work that I am even able to have the things I have. It's my way of saying thank you to him. He doesn't ever expect me to clean, he doesn't ever ask me to clean. So why did I get so angry when I cleaned on my own free will? Because I was being selfish. I wanted to "teach my husband a lesson and make him feel guilty."  That day, love taught ME a lesson. It hurt, but lesson learned. I hope I never leave the honeymoon phase of my marriage and 50 years down the road people will be saying "I can't believe they are still in their honeymoon phase after all these years." All because love is.....



Blogging...everyone's doing it. So I thought I would too. Actually I've had many blogs in the past but I ended up deleting them because I went through massive life changes and just wanted a clean slate. This time, I'm sticking to it! 

I want to start off with a picture. 
This picture was a wedding gift for my first marriage from my friend and mentor Mrs. Edie. I gave it to Jose the night before I left for the states in 2011. The love that is described here in this picture is the love I found in Jose. And whether or not God wanted us to be together I wanted Jose to find this kind of love in someone, even if it wasn't me. This picture, and scripture has brought my husband and I closer to God and to each other in more ways than anyone will ever know. It hangs on the wall at the foot of our bed and when I wake up in the morning, sometimes I just stare at it and I pray that God helps me to love my husband in this exact way. Sometimes I am convicted of my grumblings and complaints I have given him and I make a mental note to try harder. 

You see the title of this blog is not just about a picture, it's about a journey. A journey I have been (at times wearily) but ever so hopefully traveling my entire life. To be able to love the people in my life that have caused me pain and do me wrong....but more than that to love myself and to see myself through the eyes of my creator and best friend, God. I have searched for this love for a very long time (not as long as Jose though, but we'll get to that part later on) and I only just recently found it. So here is my story on my journey of love as I try my best to love others like God loves me. Some days you will find that I'm not so loveable. Some days I am a total sap. Others, well, I guess you'll just have to keep reading to find out.