Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Priceless


This is from an email I sent yesterday:
Why is it so hard to just TRUST God?

I drove to Winter Park to pick up medication... Drove down Park Avenue with all the Mercedes' and BMW's, women with shopping bags, etc. and I started getting bitter... Why does money have to be such an issue for me? How do people support entire family's on one income? I worked so hard in school, for what?

Just then, the Third Day song came on "Nothing Compares to You"... It's true... as crappy as my life may appear right now, I would not trade my relationship with Jesus for all the money in the world. Even if someone said, "You can keep your security of salvation and going to heaven, but not your personal relationship with Jesus, in exchange for the perfect husband, unlimited financial resources, and great health, not even depression...." I would not do it.
My relationship with Him is priceless.
Still, this is hard to keep going through.

Monday, September 29, 2008

By Standing Firm

Every morning, I read Scripture until some passage stands out and I think about it all day. The past three days, I’ve been stuck on Luke 21:12-19. So much is conveyed through these verses:

12 But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13This will result in your being witnesses to them. 14But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17All men will hate you because of me. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By standing firm you will gain life.


See what I mean? Jesus warns us that following Him will not be easy, yet with Him at our side, we can stand firm and persevere until the end. I wasn’t thinking of this passage when I sent the following email last night:
Have a tough meeting tomorrow. Please pray for the Spirit to give me words to say…Thanks.

Now I look at verses 14, 15… and am encouraged and comforted knowing He will give me the words and wisdom needed to defend myself. Reading this prophesy makes all I have been through look like child’s play… haven’t worked since June 12 yet all my bills are paid!!! God is so good. Yesterday, I looked at the calendar and realized another month is ending, and bills will be due again. I got a bit panicky, thinking ‘what if ...? What if ....? What if….?” Then I felt so ashamed that after all this time, I still fret over how I will survive… God has shown me so many times if I practice active faith (meaning I do what I can to work along side of Him), He takes care of everything… no matter what happens, By standing firm, you will gain life.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Poem- Ongoing Prayer


Ongoing Prayer
Please keep me from pride-
Lord, don’t let me fall.
In all my achievements, I know you do it all.

Please keep me from envy,
Lord, quench those desires.
Make me want only You, burn my heart with your fire.

Please keep me from doubt,
Lord, give me faith like a youth.
When tempted by lies, assure me I have Your Truth.

Please keep me from loneliness,
Lord, wrap me in grace.
To fill all emptiness within, let me see Your face.
sjweiss 9-28-08

Here's a few more poems I have written...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Another Scary Moment

Had another scary experience yesterday…
Woke up having pressure in my chest again… called doctor, blah blah blah, she wants me (still) to go back to the cardiologist that I went to last year who I still owe $500 for telling me after 2 days of excruciating tests, “you’re fine”. I will go to the pulmonologist doc is recommending, but not the cardiologist.

So I wasn’t feeling ‘right’ at all, still I drove to Northland in the afternoon. I was having trouble breathing and Northland’s lobby is H-U-G-E! When I couldn’t get back in the Worship wing (where I was suppose to make copies), I asked the security guard to let me back, but for whatever reason, he wouldn’t. So I tried to go through the sanctuary… locked. Tried to get Steve from the bookstore… he was busy. So I walked all the way to the Welcome Center, feeling like I just ran 5 miles, where Lori asked what was wrong… “Nothing, just trouble breathing… will you call Susan and tell her I can’t get back to the Worship Wing?”, which she did. I hurried back to the door, not wanting her to leave, and now I feel like I am going to pass out. She couldn’t open the door either and asked me to get the same security guard I had dealt with earlier. Even when I explained that he wouldn’t let me in, she (not knowing what had happened) told me to get him. When I did, he wasn’t happy, said some things and would not let me back.

I lost it. This is why I should not go out when I don’t feel good. I started yelling at him across the church lobby, am sure the whole entire building heard me, and with my speech, I know everyone knew it was ME! Now I am embarrassed, then I didn’t care, I just wanted to breathe. Finally, Susan (who doesn’t know me that well) got the door opened and I apologized for causing a scene, explaining I don’t feel good.

When it was time for me to go home, I sat in my car for awhile, called Bryn, and told her I wouldn’t be going to Bible study because I didn’t feel good. She suggested I get someone from Northland to drive me home, but I promised I would pull over if I felt like I was going to pass out. I made it home, but became disoriented twice – did not know where I was…. Very scary.

I don’t know what is happening. I’m afraid I’ll end up having a black out or heart attack somewhere. There is something wrong. I tried to watch Grey’s Anatomy but could not process the words! Was so weird! I had to turn on the closed captioning to read what they were saying since I had trouble with auditory processing.
Maybe I should attach a GPS tracking system to my ankle so people can track me… I would make for a very interesting thesis project!

-

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Socializing


Beth Moore is talking about there are some things we all go through that no one but God completely understands. She states that even if we are in a group of people who have experienced the same devastation as us, there are still so many variants, including age of occurrence, genetics, family systems, etc. She referenced Proverbs 14:10 - Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.

Still, sometimes we need someone to understand, to affirm and validate what we are going through.

Yesterday, I received several emails in response to my blog entry, “Just Go”. They were intended to encourage me, and had nothing but the best intentions… still, I felt like no one understood how hard it can be for me to socialize. Yes, I went into a self-pity mode, feeling like all the hard work I have been doing (to NOT isolate) has been taken for granted because I don’t share the struggle like I use to, but it is still there, everyday.

I called my brother, knowing he has seen me at my worst and wanted him to tell me he understands (since he is an introvert too). The discussion took on a different turn as he told me about all the (song) writers he knew who isolated. He said he has seen them before they became full-time writers, when they were out at parties and social events as part of their job, but now that they are writers, he never sees them. Isolating is part of the artistic/creative process… I needed to hear that.

Today I cancelled my social events except for taking Twyla’s dog, Dani, out. That won’t be bad because Dani makes me laugh and listens to my thoughts without ridiculing me. Just knowing I don’t have any social obligations feels like a load off my chest… I know that concept maybe difficult to understand, but that’s okay.

Found the following commentary from PBMinistries.org:

Proverbs 14:10 “The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.” American Indians had a proverb: “Do not criticize another’s walk until you have walked two miles in his moccasins.” No one can appreciate nor understand one suffering like the individual himself, (1 Cor. 2:11; Gal. 6:5). “We must not censure the griefs of others, for we know not what they feel; their stroke perhaps is heavier than their groaning,” [M. Henry]. Both the bitterness and the joy is most felt by one’s own innermost being; though we may try, we can never really, fully explain either one to others.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Give Me a Break!


CAUTION: this may not be the best entry to challenge me on... Especially today.
------------------------
After participating in BSF and processing what I learned, I am back in my jammies.

This entry is going to bother some and comfort others (hopefully), yet either way, my intent is it will enlighten all who read it.

The entry I wrote this morning bothers me so much that if someone else had written it, I would be confronting them right now. Denial can be hazardous to our health. While I will not fall into a ‘victim mentality’, let’s look at some facts:

- My doctor has said I am too disabled to work and will worsen with age… she was referring to the clinical depression first and foremost, then the cerebral palsy.
- My nature is introvert… that is how I am wired.
- I’ve ‘grown up a loner’. I have never had as many close friends as I do now.
- I tire easier, have increased difficulty breathing, have more problems with proprioception, in addition to depression.

No wonder it is such a struggle for me to leave the house! I need to give myself a break because by denying effects of depression, I am not sharing lessons about my life, which is my main goal now. I have friends with clinical depression and we frequently agree the worst thing about depression is people do not realize it never goes away. Just because I was fine last week, that doesn’t mean my symptoms are gone. Brain chemistry changes.

So the thing I learned at BSF is to stop trying to be someone I am not. God has arranged everything in my life for me to stay home and write… and I have not dedicated myself to that. I am going to stay committed to the studies I am currently in, as well as serving Northland, but no more. I need to give myself a break, stop denying where I am in my life, and use my experiences to glorify God… starting with this entry.

Email Response:
No challenge here - I think you are becoming wiser!

JUST GO!

I need balance. There has to be a median between socializing, serving, and isolating. Why am I polarized in one area when I find the right place on the others? As I type this, I should be ready to head to BSF… I haven’t even dressed. I wrote some correspondences, had time with Jesus, and read some scripture, but now I have to stop to be social. Granted, I get a lot from the lecture, just the other hour and a half is not exactly stimulating. But it is not about me. I need to stop debating and go… just go. Okay, maybe I will get dressed first.

Monday, September 22, 2008

More Blessings from Less Pride


I went back to the beach yesterday. This time, Amanda went with me and it was much more relaxing. I didn’t worry about walking in the sand, or having trouble standing up since she was there to help me. I’ve always preferred to go to the beach by myself so I could ‘be introspective and introverted’ – the ocean still fascinates me, how there is a whole ‘nother world out there... dolphins galore, and sandpipers are my favorite birds: so determined, focused, not to mention cute!

Even with Amanda there, I was able to be introspective and introverted. Again, I was relaxed and didn’t feel like I had to run my words through a filter, draining my energy. I told her about my working 5 years at the Osceola County Courthouse, my complete lack of history knowledge (to which she added geography when I thought the straight trip from Cocoa Beach would lead to Africa), and other things she was surprised to learn. It was a wonderful day.

Which leads me back to cerebral palsy (work with me here). If it wasn’t for my difficulty walking/standing on sand, I would continue to stubbornly go to the beach alone. My increased limitations are becoming blessings as they cause me to reach out to others, something my pride would prevent me from doing otherwise.

One last example… Saturday evening it was raining so hard I took off my pumps and wore flip flops (which are hard to walk in) to church (not planning to stay). I ended up staying for a few hours, until I was physically tired from a long day. Since I was sitting with Elaine, I asked if I could hold her arm as we walked out of the sanctuary, to which she was glad to help. It’s getting easier, asking for help… I notice more and more, I don’t care what people think when they see someone help me up steps or link someone’s arm. It’s nice not to be stubborn and refuse to leave my home for fear I may fall… and it’s nice having friend’s to help me… but I am still an introvert, just maybe not so independent!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pastor Joel Hunter and Northland Church


For those of you who have asked, NCD is the church I attend … Northland, A Church Distributed. I have been attending since 1997 and the church has grown significantly since then. Change is hard, especially when it comes to something as personal as faith. As with most areas of my life, I am not always the most committed person when the going gets tough, but I am working on that downfall. More specifically, for the past few years, my primary opinion of Northland is I love it. I love the people, the music, the teaching, the atmosphere, and the Spiritual feeding by Pastor Joel Hunter (which I will come back to in a moment).

But every now and then, for personal reasons, I find some fault with Northland, and consider attending elsewhere. (Most of this is due to personal defense issues, thus no fault of the church.) My reasons tend to be the conflict I have in growing up in an extremely conservative Baptist church versus the contemporary format of Northland. To put it simply, Northland is (among other things) entertaining. The Worship Team honestly sounds better than most groups on the radio and is accompanied by a full band – drums, guitars, sometimes saxophones, pianos, organs, fiddles, you name it. Every now and then, they will add another component, such as praise dancing, videos, skits, etc..

Let me get to my point. Last night, Pastor Hunter (who is widely known and sought after, including saying the prayer for Obama at the DNC and being in the media daily because of his world-wide influence) held a Town Meeting/Forum where he allowed the congregation to express their concerns and ask questions. To be honest, I was anxious myself, not knowing what to expect after some of the negative publicity he has received from the end of his prayer, which can be viewed here.

To say I was impressed is an understatement. By being open and vulnerable to whatever was asked, Pastor Hunter’s faith was undeniable. Instead of going into specifics, I will summarize his answers as such: There is no doubt in my mind that Pastor Hunter’s primary goal is to be like Jesus. He is a dedicated man of prayer, praying for every decision he makes, and seeking counsel from elders. His intent is to spread the Gospel wherever he can, to whomever he can, which brings me to my point.

I forget exactly how he said it, but there is a difference between standing on moral issues no matter what versus spreading the Gospel on an individual’s level. That stuck with me. We can be so caught up in trying to convince others to believe as we believe, that we miss the chance to let Jesus work through us.

When I accepted Jesus as Lord of my life in 8th grade, I only did it to avoid going to hell. I knew nothing about having a personal relationship with Jesus, the need for community, serving others, none of that stuff. I just wanted to secure my spot in heaven. Frankly, if you would have told me all that it would take to follow Christ, such as forgiving, loving, and denying myself to serve others, I may have had second thoughts (not knowing what I know now). After last night’s forum, I understand how Northland meets people where they are, just as Paul did in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, and just as Jesus did and still does.

None of us are worthy to receive the grace God gives us… whether you are an Atheist, Agnostic, Hindu, Muslim, Democrat or Republican, Jesus loves you so much that he died for you. We are all build in the image of God and I believe Pastor Hunter sees this above all other labels. I am honored – yet humbled- to be part of Pastor Hunter’s church... Northland, a Church Distributed.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Need For Alarm

Smoke alarms terrify me! Maybe it’s because I am easily startled by loud noises, or maybe it’s because I am afraid I won’t escape if there is a fire. Whatever it is, I hate smoke alarms. The entire year living in a college dorm allowed me very little peaceful sleep since drunken residents would pull the alarms at 2am. Even though I knew there was no fire, it was traumatic!

My smoke alarm just went off… scared the crap out of me. I was in the kitchen and the alarm was in the hallway. I imagined facing a raging fire on the other side of the wall! Luckily, it was only the smoke from incense I had lit. Still, I am sitting her a half hour later in a state of anxiety, expecting some loud noise to go off. And poor Zoey, I have no idea where she is hiding.

The funny thing about this is the timing… I remember as a kid, I would be on panic mode whenever my parents would leave for fear something would happen. Who would save me? Even a few years ago, I called Rob from Tallahassee, panicking being so far from Northland, telling him “what if I get sick? There’s no one here I can call!” Rob assured me that our congregation is so big, no matter where I am in the world, someone will know a contact person to rescue me.

Now I have ‘my Spiritual brother’ and his wife listed as my emergency contacts. I mean, if I ended up in jail, I need to know who to use that one phone call for! He is out of the country on a mission trip, but before he left, I told him I needed to find a back up. He said I can use his wife as a back up because she is a strong woman and ‘knows how to bail people out of jail’. HA! I thought of that while the alarm was blaring. No matter what I found on the other side of the wall, I knew I could call her. That fact helped prepare me to face the unknown.

Yes, God is all the protection we need… but once again, He puts us in relationships to help comfort one another in good times and bad. As Billy Graham once said, “Churchgoers are like coals in a fire. When they cling together, they keep the flame aglow; when they separate, they die out.”

Friday, September 19, 2008

Joy of Living, Not Dying

Wednesday mornings I am in a “Joy of Living” class where we are studying the book of Job. Although I have only been to one class, it isn’t as hard as going to BSF since it is located at my church. At least I know people in the foyer, and my legs weren’t hurting quite as bad so I planned to go to the class… then I finished up the homework assignment, which happened to be on depression and wanting to die. Oh, I don’t want to go to this – I don’t know these people and this topic is too close for comfort. On top of this, it was Seminole’s birthday, which had me in a somber mood. I decided not to go to class, but go on to church because 80% of my friends work there. I wanted to see them.

Well, Lori and Angelia ended up talking me into going to the class.., which was not an easy task, let me assure you! I was 20 minutes late (it took 30 minutes for them to convince me to go), and apologized for my tardiness. The women graciously said they were glad I made it.

So women are answering questions and I found myself becoming increasingly engaged in the discussion. Then the question came… “Have you ever asked God to let you die out of despair and hopelessness?” I felt the prompting of the Spirit and knew I had to speak. (I am getting to the point where I don’t even bother trying to rationalize with the Spirit’s prompting… He always wins.)

In a group of women who didn’t know me from Adam, er Eve, I told how I use to live for my cat, Seminole, and when he died, I wanted to die… and I shared how my church had a memorial service for my cat where my friends gathered to talk about Seminole (very true!) and today was Seminole’s birthday. The women were warmly listening… So I continued by disclosing how I had told God he didn’t understand the pain I was feeling, I had to PAY to kill my cat… at that moment, God reminded me I do know what you are feeling. I sent my only Son to die for you. Look at what I had to pay…

The women were crying as I concluded my story; “So whenever we do Communion, I remember the pain I felt when Seminole died, and how God willingly endured something much more painful when he sent His Son to die for me.”

It was silent for maybe 10 seconds until someone said, “That’s it! We can go home now.” (meaning there was nothing else needed to be said). A few of the ladies thanked me in the hall, saying they will never forget my story. Truly, sharing that story helped me more than anyone else… I want nothing more than to glorify Jesus with my life, and being able to share my love for Seminole in the process makes it all the better.

Email Replies:
I remember when you told me the story and how it touched me just like it did those ladies…you are such a good loving mother – you suffered the loss of a child.


You should tell those chicks about your blog - they would be impressed..... and blessed..... I am......

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

In Memory of Seminole...


This is the day I celebrate Seminole's birthday... to some, he was 'just a cat'... but to me, he was my reason to get out of bed every day. Please visit his memorial.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Coincidence or Affirmation?


Picture this:
I can barely walk because my upper legs are sore from crawling out of the ocean Sunday. I have fever blisters from the sun (and can barely talk). I’ve had daily headaches regularly, on top of trouble breathing, not to mention hating to leave the house anyway… so I force myself to go to BSF this morning because I know God has me there to glorify Him through my disabilities (which seem to be accumulating).

I walk the long trek to the sanctuary and am breathing hard… the lady says, “Wow! You look tired. Long day?” (It was 9am.) So I am praying, “God, please don’t let me fall… please…hold me up… whatever happens, don’t let me fall.” I get to the small group, where people are still leery of me… and I raise my hand to answer a question… “What attribute of Moses do you most need in your life?” I answered, “Prayerfulness, because I am so confident that God is in control and taking care of me, that I fail to pray and communicate with Him. I just know He has my back…”

Of course, the whole room was impressed, and relieved, that I am on the same planet as they are. At this point, I am feeling prideful, thinking, “see? You all thought I was a stupid freak! Think again…” Well, God in his humor, took care of that pride as I squeezed my water bottle and water went everywhere… on people, on ink pages (now smudged), all over my pants… it was like a gallon of water! Someone went to get a stack of paper towels as the group went on. The rest of the class, I kept laughing, thinking of the girl next to me jumping as she felt cold water showering her. They must’ve thought I was laughing at the voices in my head.

So we walk back to the sanctuary, me in wet pants, hunched over in pain, feeling like Job. I told God I am glad he has ways to remind me it is not about me, it’s about Him working through me, but did he have to use water? I focused on the lecture, (which is my favorite part of BSF, I like the BS…) which was summarized accordingly… call it coincidence, I call it affirmation:

“If you have been praying for years for God to remove an affliction from your life and He hasn’t, perhaps He is wanting to work through your affliction. Stop asking him to remove it and allow Him to show Himself through it.”

Okay. I get it… I grabbed my crushed water bottle, rolled out of the chair, and walked hunched over to my car.

Email Response:
I thought you painted the picture wonderfully….I could see it all unfolding right in front of me. That’s what good writers do. They put you right in the scene.

Now for the stuff that went on all around you. Yes, it sounds like some of it was coincidence…some caused by a lack of coordination…perhaps some you helped bring on yourself. That’s okay. Most people with bad headaches, blisters, aching body, breathing problems….would stay at home and heal up. You decided to go out and take on the world. Some days we have victory. Some days we flounder. It’s all about our response to what goes on around us when it hits the fan….that is what is so crucial. That you could laugh about the water…that’s a much better response than crying or freaking out.

Every day we have here on planet earth is gift from Him. It is up to each of us to decide what we do with the time that we have. And it is such a short time in light of eternity. When it’s over, and we’re in heaven, outside of time, with new pain-free bodies, new attitudes, …and everything wonderful, it won’t matter how we screwed up down here. The only thing that will matter is we made a decision to accept God’s free gift of salvation because of Jesus’ sacrifice. Once we made that decision, every other decision since then has paled. Though, living in victory definitely is much sweeter than at the whim of the world.

Shelly, don’t let the world beat you up….and give you a Shellacking! And do not operate by victim mentality. That feeds into your CP. And when in doubt, go back to the “play book” for encouragement and hope and strength. You already have a much closer relationship with Moses and Job than most. One day God will have you handling the introductions.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hot, Hot, Old


I had a very scary experience at the beach yesterday. To my credit, I tried to get a friend to go with me at the last minute for fear something bad would happen… but not everyone will drop their plans to go to the beach. So I went alone – which is not a big deal normally. Yesterday though, I went in the water and suddenly became very dizzy. I sat and let the waves wash over me for awhile, then fell 3 times when I tried to stand up. I’m sure it was quite entertaining for people around me. So I crawled out of the water and kept saying, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…”, barely making it to my towel. I sat down for awhile to get my bearings, only to fall 2 more times when I stood (or tried to stand). It was horrible. Whenever I looked up, I got dizzy and lost my balance. I had to keep watching my feet, not looking to see where I was going, just focusing on one step at a time. I thought it was walking in the sand that was making me fall, but the dizziness continued on the boardwalk, grass, and cement. On top of all this, I couldn’t catch my breath! Very terrifying. I have never been so thankful to see my car in my life. Once I got in, I called Dr. Mom who said it sounded like I was dehydrated and over-heated (what am I – an engine?). She told me to sit in the air condition and drink water for awhile. Sure enough, this did the trick and I felt fine for the rest of the day. Now my legs are so sore I can barely walk – they endured quite a work out yesterday!

Maybe I need to stop going to the beach by myself. Oh, and yesterday was the first time a guy did not try to hit on me (which always happens when I am at the beach alone). Guess that’s a good thing considering I was already breathless and lightheaded.

Just one more reminder I am getting older and can’t endure things that I once did.

Email Responses:
Yea, that's scary. Did you take any water with you to your blanket? Eeek.
Be careful.
And I can't imagine why you didn't get hit on. :)
Just be careful.


That is very scary, I"m so glad you are ok - it was almost 100 yesterday - Extremely hot. Please take it easy today and let your body recover! Drink lots of water too! (In case you didn't hear that from a million people already!).
I am so thankful you are ok.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Shelly = Gwenyth Paltrow

Did you see the movie, “Shallow Hal” where Hal falls in love with Gwenyth Paltrow’s 300 pound character because he cannot see how fat she is, thus falls for her ‘inner beauty’? My life resembles that movie.

This has been on my mind since I felt like I was a freak at BSF on Tuesday. I was very aware of being viewed first and foremost as someone with a disability. There was no denying people viewed me as ‘special’.

When I am with my friends and especially family, I honestly forget I have cerebral palsy. Heck, even at 3 years old, when I asked Manda (my niece) if she wanted to know why I talk funny, she said, “You don’t talk funny… you talk like my Aunt Shelly!” (I love that kid!!). My relatives deny anything is wrong with me. Last year in Michigan, my cousin picked me up from the airport and it was snowing. I asked Renee if I could hold her arm so I wouldn’t slip in the ice and she kept walking ahead of me, “Shelly, quit goofing off… C’mon, we’re suppose to go ice skating with the family!” She wasn’t kidding… neither was I!

Yet I regularly encounter people who see me as a poor, pitiful, cripple. Once, the hostess at Olive Garden tapped Michele on the shoulder as we were leaving, pointed at me and said, “Thank you for taking her out…” Michele responded, “What? No.. SHE drove! She’s one of my best friends!”

When Amanda and I go out, I tease her by saying people probably think she’s doing a “Wednesday’s Child” episode or charity work when she – a news reporter – is seen with me – a disabled woman. Amanda doesn’t see me as disabled. In fact, I once told her I ran up and down the football stadium bleachers for exercise and she believed me!

Cerebral palsy is just another way God is teaching me humility… I never forget that the friendships I have, where my CP is not an issue, comes from God. I know it isn’t because I am so charming, beautiful, and witty that people like me; it’s because He has changed their hearts so that they see me for me… like Shallow Hal. Imagine how the world would be if we only saw one another’s inner beauty instead of physical attributes…

Email Response:
"I see your beauty"

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Poetry

I recently received a Twitter request wanting to know where they can read some of my poetry... THANK YOU for your interest! I am working on getting some up. Here's a couple until I get a collection together:

Pre-Romance
There were extended glances,
Stolen chances,
Words with hidden meanings.
Casual smiles,
Pretensive trials,
Erecting protective screenings.

His footsteps nearing,
Pulse raced upon hearing
Reacting as his hand grazed my back.
Concentration disbanded-
The enemy has landed
Preparing for another attack.

Danger ahead
The Spirit has said,
But, oh, how I want to keep going!
How soon I forget,
The days of regret,
And the mercy my Father’s been showing.

Written Rain
Rain – how it seasons the words that I write,
And it’s rhythmic beatings lull my sleep at night.
Inspires contemplation, my welcomed friend.
But when the beach is calling, the love of rain ends.
Isn’t this the way humans are?
Judging, perceiving based on motives and scars?
Consider the defining cause for one’s basis…
How little impact comes from external faces.

Influential People


Seven years ago today, I was only attending Northland on holidays, had written everyone off – including my brother, Mark – and was in private practice. My socialization involved a close female friend (who just found out she was going to be an unwed mother), a best friend/boyfriend/unhealthy relationship/the love of my life, and about 20 clients seeing me for psychological counseling.

When the first plane hit the towers, I called my friend at work who was preoccupied with just taking a 3rd positive third pregnancy test. Here’s how our conversation went:

Her: Hello… (had caller ID)
Me: Someone just flew a plane into one of the towers in New York!
Her: What do you want me to do about it?
Me: I think it was intentional!
Her: Again, Shelly, what do you want me to do about it?

Her detached attitude convinced me I was over-reacting, making a big deal out of nothing, so I calmed down and went back to my day… until, the 2nd tower was hit. I called her again.

Her: (disgusted) Yes, Shelly?!
Me: We’re being attacked! They hit the second tower!
Her: Shelly, I have bigger problems to worry about. I can’t do anything about the planes!

I didn’t realize my feelings were justified until that evening when radio and TV was consumed with the news.

Just another reason for fellowship with fellow believers instead of isolating with one or two friends… we need various influences, especially spiritually mature Christians, to share our journey with.

Unrelated example… (work with me)… I just watched a video clip of Lee Anthony interacting with protestors. *see http://www.wftv.com/video/17441792/index.html
I gotta say, his patience and understanding inspires me! I could get into details, such as the reporter obviously instigating him on for a story (“you have no right to destroy someone else’s property”! – HELLO?! His entire life is being destroyed with people invading his life. And “What are you going to do if he doesn’t stop talking?” – I’m sorry… Kathy Belich was the one who was ‘out of control’), but my point is our words and actions significantly influence others’ words, actions, and beliefs.

Lee remained composed, respectful, and polite. I admire him for that. I think of other ‘real’ people in my life who consistently maintain a similar demeanor, which in turn, inspire me to try to do the same. It’s much harder to find inspirers in isolation. I think I am catching on to the command to be in the world, but not of the world.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Seasons Change

What a week! Growth hurts, but it is worth it.
I’ve had a couple of walls brought down through confrontation from both friends and God. I tried using my familiar coping strategies of denial, repression, projection, and isolation but was called on it by someone who cares enough about me to make me angry. Telling me what I needed to hear instead of letting me get away with my ‘default’ behavior. Taking my personal punches and insults in order to allow me to process our friendship. Truly, it was emotionally, mentally and physically draining. But I feel like I have graduated to a higher level of socialization. Some things I learned:
- People who love you keep your best interests at heart – even if it makes you mad.
- Email is not the best form of communication. Face to face is needed in serious circumstances.
- You cannot fully serve/worship/follow God in isolation.
- Give people the benefit of the doubt regardless of your past.
- Discuss, discuss, discuss. Don’t walk away from problems, but give the person a chance to clarify and understand.
- Just like everything else, things that hurt/embarrass/shame/irk you to the point of mental consummation make you stronger if you face them.
- When you walk away, you keep the circle of dysfunction going, which makes the enemy victorious.
- True friends are worth hurting for.

Now that I know I will be receiving Social Security, I am viewing my ‘vocation’ as working for God: writing, encouraging, serving, being His vessel. I am so excited about this new season in my life and am setting new goals with a cool system I found here:
God is good, ALL the time.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Relationships


Peace, love, understanding, mercy, forgiveness, sacrifice, humility – the Bible is all about Relationships. God the Father, Spirit, and Son is a relationship. Loving one another is a requisite thread from Genesis to Revelation.

Relationships are what keep us together – on many levels, both individually and holistically. Money and possessions cannot, WILL NOT, satisfy like friendships.

How funny – I know all this plus my education/training/career is in counseling – relationships, yet this is an area in which I just can’t get it right. The past is a powerful factor in perspectives and purpose. And the primary cause for failed relationships is pride.

No one will ever get close enough to hurt me again!
I don’t need anyone! I’ll show them!
Leave me alone. I don’t want to be with people.
I’m a loner. I’m an introvert.


What if Jesus had such an attitude? What if Jesus put up walls so no one would ever hurt him? What if the Father did not send His Son for our redemption? What if Jesus did not send the Spirit to be with us?

Relationships – Heaven wouldn’t be home without them.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Loyal or Stagnate?


Does loyalty equal stagnation?

A friend was telling me he has lived in the same apartment working for the same employer for 20 years! Another friend informed me she has just celebrated her 13 year anniversary at her company. No doubt about it, these people are loyal.

One of the main reasons I do not want to marry is I change so much from year to year, that the guy I liked 2 years ago is now completely ‘wrong’ for me. I don’t know… is there a way to keep your core self the same without ‘growing’ in new directions?

I am currently facing a change in probably the closest friendship I have ever had and it’s truly heartbreaking. I don’t want it to change, but life has a way of forcing change where we prefer consistency. Change equals growth. To grow, we must change. As for the friendship, I know time will heal the pain, and the closeness shared will one day be a fond memory… like Seminole. I still miss Seminole and think about him every single day, but it no longer interferes with my day-to-day experiences. I love him no less, yet Addy is so much like Seminole, it’s like Sem is still here. In a way, I guess he is.

Friendships come and go. We change, we grow, we replace… we move on.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Power


The dreaded hurricane season is ‘full blown’ once again. The ‘hunkering down’ and not leaving the house never bothers me; it’s the losing power that I hate! We Americans truly take so much for granted, including power. Even if the power has been out for days, I still absent-mindedly turn on a light switch, hair dryer, and coffee maker only to remember – no power! When power is restored, ohhhh – everything is cool, convenient, and comfy again. Power trucks were like angels from heaven when they’d be in front of the house. But like everything else, we grow accustom to having power and forget what a treasure it is.

This morning, I read about the power of the Holy Spirit, which comes upon all who accepts Christ as their Savior. My Bible says Power from the Holy Spirit is not limited to strength beyond the ordinary – that power also includes courage, boldness, confidence, insight, ability, and authority. I don’t know about you but I need to be more purposeful in drawing on that Power. I confess that I have grown accustom to having His Power and forget what a treasure it is. Remember, the best way to shine a light in the world is to turn on His Power.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Baggage Claim


I’m going to start writing again – really, I am. Maybe tomorrow.

Things are changing in my life, including considering attending a different church, hoping to start Bible Study Fellowship, and major shifts in friendships. All of these changes, I believe, are for the best. But I don’t like them.

I feel like I have outgrown my shell – as comfortable as I am in it, it no longer fits. Life is so scary sometimes, yet beautiful at other times. Everything that has been changing leads to me writing. Having the time, needing just a couple hundred dollars per month, people in my path… it all leads to my writing. Sharing how God has touched my life and how I am nothing without him.

Tomorrow I go back to the psychiatrist. I am nervous about telling him I’ve been taking more of the medication than he has prescribed… I need more, well I WANT more. My escape is sleep. Why is that so bad? Maybe going to a psychologist will help me develop better coping strategies. I’m sure it will help my friendships! It’s not fair for me to dump such serious issues on friends, yet I need to talk about things in my life.

And I will continue to write about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Much of it is out of my comfort level, but I feel called to share my struggles and how they bring me closer to Jesus. See, I have no choice but to lean on Him. The things I experience are too heavy for me to carry on my own. When I can’t take another step, He not only carries my baggage, He carries me. And by traveling this journey with me, perhaps you can find ways to lighten your load along the way.