That’s The Way It Is

When you want it the most
There’s no easy way out
When you’re ready to go
And your heart’s left in doubt
Don’t give up on your faith
Love comes to those who believe it
And that’s the way it is~ Celine Dion, 
That’s The Way It Is
I learned sign language to this song in the sixth grade.  Though I didn’t realize it at the time, that year was one of the most significant in my life.  I was blessed with two truly gifted teachers and can confidently say I would not be the person I am today without them.  What they taught me far exceeded the basic educational subjects; they taught me about life.  Everyday they would check our day planners to be sure we had recorded our homework assignments.  They were also responsible for a xeriscape garden and enlisted all their students as helpers as well as to educate others about the importance of this garden.  We actually had to invite people to come and tour the garden, led by us!  They taught us sign language, and at the end of the year we held a “concert” for our parents, which included “signing” two Celine Dion songs.  These two teachers opened my eyes to the world.  I was no longer comfortably secure in elementary school, which terrified me.  I remember always being afraid of messing up in front of them; I never wanted to disappoint them.  As scary as that year was, I got a strong dose of how to deal with reality.  They used to say, “you may hate us now, but you’ll thank us later,” and I did and still do.
One of these teachers became my Confirmation sponsor in 8th grade.  After middle school, I lost touch with her, but always hoped to reconnect.  When I was diagnosed with diabetes my first semester in college, I was filled with a revitalized need to re-establish communication with her.  Diabetes requires a great deal of self-discipline, a skill she instilled in me in sixth grade.  Without it, I would not have had the same ability to manage and monitor my blood sugars, and in that sense, I owe her my life!  I was fortunate to find her mailing address and sent her a letter.  Miracle of miracles, she wrote back and invited me to come visit her.  Getting to know her as an adult was odd but wonderful.  She insisted I call her by her first name.  I struggled with that since she had emphasized that we should address her as “Miss” back in middle school out of respect.
A few years ago she was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer.  I have never known another person who fought so hard to conquer the disease.  She started writing emails to update her close friends and family regarding her progress.  It was always inspiring reading her hopeful messages.  She never gave up and was willing to do whatever it took to keep going.  The pains and trials involved did not deter her; if anything, they motivated her to fight harder.  She started an annual tradition of gathering her friends together for a “Celebration of Life.”  I began to see the human side of my sixth grade teacher, whom I had previously considered indestructible.  On July 5, 2019, she finally finished her battle with cancer and is now at peace in heaven.
On the same day, I was taking a small road trip to visit friends for the weekend.  I had just finished praying the Divine Mercy chaplet around 3 p.m. and all the sky opened up in a torrential downpour.  I have never experienced anything like it!  All cars came to a standstill on the highway because there was no visibility, just a solid sheet of rain.  I should have been frightened, but instead I was overcome by the Father’s love, and in that moment I knew I was exactly where I should be.  I was completely still, completely under the protection of the Lord in prayer.  When the clouds parted and the sun shone I heard the words, “it is finished.”  The next day I received an email from one of my teacher’s friends saying that my teacher had passed away.
Ever since I first met that teacher I had a strong feeling she was an angel.  I am so blessed that the Lord allowed her to be a part of my life as long as she was.  She helped guide me through life like a true guardian angel, and now she will continue that guidance from heaven.

And that’s the way it is…

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A Million Dreams

My job requires a great deal of data entry and monotonous paper filing. These tasks can get very lonely and there are hours during the day when I have no human interaction at all. This past week I hit my breaking point and was consumed with an incredible claustrophobic feeling. I retreated into prayer asking for relief from the Lord and His answer was simple, He said listen to music. The answer was so obvious, I was amazing that I hadn’t considered it sooner. I went to my Pandora app on my phone and searched “Disney.” I needed something uplifting and I grew up in the 90’s when Disney was hitting its peak releasing one hit song after another so I naturally just thought of those classic songs. My childhood was molded based off those classics like “The Circle of Life” from The Lion King, “The Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas, and “You’ll Be in my Heart” from Tarzan; just to name a few. Over the course of the week I could feel myself being brought back to life through the music. It didn’t just help me get me out of the solitude confinement I was trapped in at my job but it also awoke the dreams that I had when I was a child.

God blessed me with an extremely vivid imagination growing up. I would often make up stories in my head and then go outside and act them out in my backyard. This imagination allowed me to believe that anything was possible. When I grew up, reality entered into my soul and crippled all those dreams. I was diagnosed with a chronic disease, type one diabetes, and I lost my belief that anything was possible. My world went from multi- colored to stark, two-dimensional and black and white. It has now been over ten years since being diagnosed and I am just now remembering what it feels like to believe in the impossible. I owe all of this to the inner workings of the Holy Spirit. His promptings to revisit the classic music of those childhood movies was the next step in His grand design.

Not all the songs that I have been listening to were from Disney, some songs came from a movie which was released last year, The Greatest Showman. I had seen it when it first came out and was truly taken by it. Like the classic Disney movies it was inspiring. This one song “A Million Dreams,” was especially invigorating.

“They can say it all sounds crazy. They can say I’ve lost my mind. I don’t care, so call me crazy. We can live in a world that we design. ‘Cause every night I lie in bed. The brightest colors fill my head. A million dreams are keeping me awake” ~The Greatest Showman, A Million Dreams

This song caused me to think how backwards life can be. This world has this ability to keep people for dreaming and longing for unimaginable possibilities simply because this world claims them to be impossible. The world calls people “crazy” if they dare to be different. Yet these movies still come up like the Greatest Showman and they grow in popularity as the world takes notice. Why is this? Could it be because we are all starving for these dreams in our own lives? I believe God places these dreams into our hearts because it is His way of calling us home. We live in this world but we are not of this world so we retreat into our imaginations were “we can live in a world that we design.” This past week I have seen life through music and it has inspired me to live differently. I will seek the Holy Spirit to show me His world that He wishes me to live in, the world where anything is possible.

Drink Up

“Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” ~John 4: 10-14

Jesus Christ is truly the Word incarnate for He continues to reveal Himself through the Word to me. This passage from John tells of the Samaritan woman. I know this story well but never was able to relate to it. It took the insight of a priest to enlighten a new and powerful understanding.

It has almost been a month since I moved from New York to New Jersey. Coming into this new life in New Jersey has been like a rebirth everything is new and beautiful. I find myself praising God for every little thing I receive and life has become a life of blessings. My points of struggle come when I have to go back into New York. The days I have to travel to the city I wake up with great anxiety and it is a fight just to get out of bed and on my way to the train station the anxiety quickly transforms into pure fear. Once I arrive in the city I am filled with harbored anger inside my heart. Everything that I come in contact with makes me frustrated and upset, I get very tired very easily and place unwarranted judgment on others. I do not like the person I am when I am in New York. It is because my internal peace that the Lord has granted me in New Jersey feels like it is being taken away. All these negative emotions that I have towards New York truly confused me, I used to adore New York. In fact it was in New York where I found the Lord and He brought me back to life. How can I be so angry at a place that reunited me with my Savior?

After speaking to this priest about my struggle he enlightened me with great wisdom that I would have never reached on my own. He said to me that it sounded like I went through my own crucible in New York. At first it was alarming to hear mainly because once again I had not accepted how traumatic my time in New York really was. He also referenced the Israelites being delivered from Egypt. Colorado, my home, was Egypt and I knew I needed to leave that place in order to grow. I went to New York believing that New York was the “Promised Land.” I believed that was where the Lord wanted me to be but in reality New York was the desert that I had to get through in order to reach the Promised land. I found the Lord in New York because my life was so difficult and so impossible that I had to surrender myself completely to Him. Looking back there is absolutely no logical explanation of how I survived New York. My time in New York was a true miracle. There was a significant reason for my time in New York, like there was a reason for the Israelites to endure those years in the desert. When they reached the Promised land they were entirely the Lord’s and they were able to appreciate the Promised land for everything that it was. My entire reality, identity and life has been transformed because of things that I endured during my time in “the desert.”

How does this all relate to the woman at the well? While I was in New York I was digging my own well searching for the spring of water. I had faith that is was there and my soul thirsted for the water of eternal life. The well is deep but when I finally reached the spring water gushed forth. I am entering into a new chapter in my life, a chapter of great gratitude. I fully intend to drink deep during this time and to take advantage of every close moment the Lord grants me to spend with His Son. Even though I have found the spring the well can always go deeper and the Lord is always calling His people to go deeper. The water I drink now will revitalize me so that I can dig again. I know that this chapter is preparing for the next chapter.

Change of Heart

I am returning to New York after a long weekend visiting home in Colorado. It was a quick trip but it felt like a lifetime probably because I had to make quite a few life decisions. New York has been an incredible adventure. I have no doubt that I needed to move to New York because God used New York to bring me back to Him. Not only did He reveal Himself, He also revealed who I was. I was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes and I allowed that diagnosis to keep me from the person the Lord had planned me to be. I had no idea how dead inside I was until Jesus Christ brought me back to life. Like a Phoenix I was born again from my ashes and was made new, even stronger than before. Once Jesus reminded me who I was He took me a step farther and showed me the person I am meant to be. I am so grateful to the Lord for granting me the courage to move to New York. As beautiful as that chapter was it also takes courage to recognize when it is time to move onto the next chapter. Where I used to finding blessing and peace I am now faced with sadness and anger. God provided me a job that allowed me to walk the streets of New York after work. I could walk for hours talking with Jesus. I looked forward to that time because it was always a surprise of what new things He would reveal to me. Those walks no longer bring revelation and instead bring hatred and frustration.

When I went home this weekend it felt as though I was coming out of a great darkness. I could see, hear and feel again. I was confronted with the question of whether or not it was a good idea to remain in New York. My answer surprised me, I did not want to remain there. I woke up this morning crying and I continued to cry troughout the entire journey back to New York. I am once again faced with the same thoughts that brought me to New York in the first place. “I only have one life and I can’t waste it.” The same thoughts that drew me to New York are now drawing me out. There are bigger and greater things to do and because of my new and strengthened trust in Christ I now have the ability to do them.

My time in New York is not done and in this time I believe the Holy Spirit has challenged me to live without abandon, live each day as though it is my last. God has blessed me with this time to truly live without fear and to speak the Lord’s word, the Lord’s truth. I have nothing to lose my time there is coming to an end and I am going to make the most of it.

I have no idea what is to come after the conclusion of this chapter but I know that it will be graced by God. Today New York City but tomorrow the World!

Please and Thank You

My last few days I have found myself getting frustrated with the extreme monotony of my life. My frustration has led to giving into this built up anger I have had festering within me since I was diagnosed with diabetes. The anger comes from my realization that my life is not going to be what I expected it to be. When I moved to New York I got this new hope for my life the anger subsided. I was riding high basking in all the wonderful new graces the Lord blessed me with. When the presence of God is evident in your life to the point there is no way you can deny it you can develop an invincibility complex. When you are so close to Jesus you feel like you can do anything because Jesus can do anything. It is easy but what happens things calm down and the excitement fades? I am left with simple reality and I lose sight of the presence of Jesus Christ. It is harder to feel His presence when life isn’t as exciting and isn’t moving at the pace I want it to. I want my love life to be farther along, I want a more fulfilling job, I want a better living situation. Those are all big things but big things can’t happen everyday. In those every days what can I do to keep from giving up the hope that those big things will happen in God’s time?

Over the past weeks I have allowed myself to get distracted and because of these distractions I think I have felt lazy. I am waiting on the Lord but what if I am not doing my part to move things along? I am not searching for new jobs as much as I should. I am not being as social as I should and engaging in activities to meet new people. At the end of my day I end up feeling like I have got nothing done. I feel like a failure and if I am not trying I worry God will give up trying as well. During the past few days, I have felt exceptionally lazy and have given into the fear that God has not been active either. I got really sick earlier this week. I got so dizzy that I could not walk in a straight line. I was getting worried that I would have to go to the hospital because I had no idea what was wrong and had no clue how to make it better. I am doing better now but during those days I got absolutely nothing done mainly because I had no energy. Even though I could not see it at the time Jesus Christ has never been more active in my life. He provided me with enough strength to get through those tough days and He got me to a doctor, not only did I get help for my dizziness I now have a doctor which I have been needing to find since I moved to New York. He was also in my work. My aggravation with my work continues to grow especially dealing with difficult customers. It was the end of the night and I was fully involved in my closing activities and this woman comes in and wants some cookies. Immediately after she ordered she ended up apologizing to me for not saying “please.” I rarely ever get a “please” at work. When I gave her the cookies she followed up with a “thank you.” Not only was it nice to hear a “please” and “thank you,” it was refreshing to hear the customer acknowledge the importance of the words as well. Those little gifts from the Lord may appear small but gives me what I need to push forward.

It is in these times of waiting on the Lord I can easily get tired and forget what I am fighting for. I just don’t feel like I am making a difference and my life has plateaued. When I am tired I am not the best version of myself and I take it out on God. Like a child I convince myself that the more I kick and scream the more of a reaction I will get from the Lord. Of course, He does not work that way but like a good Father He can take it and continues to bless me with a new doctor and a customer that says please and thank you. It is in the really hard times that we need to say “thank you” to Jesus because these thank yous will mean so much more.

Happy Easter!

This year was an Easter unlike any other. I woke up alone in the early hours of the morning to go to work. I have never had to work on Easter before and I have never spent an Easter without my family. I am not going to lie even on this day when the light shines its brightest I had several dark moments especially in the moments when I was completely aware of how far away I was from my home. The Lord is truly a good good Father and even in the midst of my despair He was able to show me miraculous blessings.

Jesus Christ is Risen!!! He is with us and He will never leave us. While pondering these thoughts The Holy Spirit transformed my thought process and changed that sentence to He is with me and will never leave me. That simple change allowed my to feel the statement in a more personal perspective. Holy Week was difficult because I truly experienced the separation from Jesus but the instant I woke up Easter Sunday I could feel His presence again. It was not just the idea that He now looks over me from His throne in Heaven. I felt Him in my room and it carried on into my work and throughout the rest of my day. What a blessing it was to not have any distractions and no obligations the entire day. I was free to spend the entire day walking with Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ revealed Himself to me in numerous ways at work, mainly in the faces and spirits of the customers that came in. The location I work at has a strong Jewish community so I had to watch what I said and couldn’t openly wish people a Happy Easter but customers could wish it to me. Every time a customer wished me a “Happy Easter,” I could see the light of Jesus Christ and it was infectious. With every wish of “Happy Easter” my spirit lightened.

Jesus is alive in each one of us, in our joy but also in our tribulation. He may be resurrected but the wounds on His hands He still bares so that we can remember our crosses we carry. Towards the end of my shift this man with a young boy walked past the pastry counter where I was working. It was obvious that the boy had some mental problems. He was making noises and talking in a somewhat slurred manner. The man was probably a caregiver of some sort because he was very calm and addressed the boy in a calm and affirming nature. The caregiver and the boy stopped it the end of my pastry counter and the caregiver got out a cloth satchel. I immediately recognized what it was, it was glucose monitor. The puzzle pieces were suddenly coming together. The boy must have had diabetes and based off his actions I am assuming his blood sugars were low. I overheard the caregiver praising the boy after testing his blood and handed him a root beer saying, “after you have this you will feel better.” Watching this all play out my heart went out to that boy because having diabetes myself I understood exactly what he was going through in that moment. I also understood the pain of having to show one’s humanity out in public for everyone to see and judge. It was a busy time at the store and it was not lost on me seeing many people walking past and looking at the boy with judgmental eyes not understanding what the boy was doing. The boy and I were united in the crosses that we bear and we are united because of Jesus Christ.

Happy Easter, I hope everyone had a blessed day. Jesus is Risen! He is Risen indeed.

Negative Numbers

I never really noticed before how much our lives are governed by numbers and unfortunately most of the time the numbers are not positive. Think about it- our blood pressure, weight, blood sugar, bank account, bills, number of likes on a blog, and let us not forget our age! My birthday is coming up and it is a big one, but makes it a big one? Why is my life measured by this number? In addition to my age my life is also measured by my blood sugar numbers that I have to check everyday. I also struggle with the number on the scale. I have had weight issues most of my life and by the grace of God I have gotten better at not allowing myself get consumed by the fear of gaining weight. Nevertheless it is still a great battle getting on that scale and seeing that number. Ever since I moved to New York I have also become more and more aware of the balance in my bank account and my credit card statements. All of these things are significant numbers that can majorly impact life.

Somehow I have gotten to the point that I use these numbers as markers of who I am. It is incredible how easily we can allow ourselves to get consumed by details. That is all the numbers are, details. I am not what these numbers dictate and I need to accept what is. Yes, these numbers are going to be with me for the rest of my life. I will always need to check my blood sugar, my weight will always need to be checked, bank accounts with credit card statements are just a constant evil, and each year we get one year older. It will take a great deal of surrender on my part to mentally separate what these numbers tell me who I am and who I actually am. I have to replace these negative numbers with the Lord’s love. Who made me? Who has the plan for my life? Who has been taking care of me everyday of my life? God has the final say and He gets to determine who I am. My age does not even factor into His equation.

My equation of who I am:

Age (Blood Sugar + A1C) / Weight + Bank Account= Life’s Worth

God’s Equation:

Love (Good Works + People Touched) / Devotion + Trust x Love x LOVE x LOVE= Life’s Worth

I actually find it somewhat amusing when I think about all the things I place so much importance yet in reality they are not important at all. If I were to go to God at the final judgment and say look I had perfect blood sugar numbers each day of my life does this earn me a ticket to Heaven? The answer would obviously be no. I have no doubt that He would look at me and say, “What did you do with the rest of those days?” Some of my best days have been the days when I had the worst morning blood sugars. He has the ability to overcome those blood sugars and use me to glorify His kingdom. The number was just a detail of that day, what made the day was my behavior and my attitude. I overcame the negative number thanks to the blessings of the Lord.

As I approach this birthday I am going to try my best not to allow myself to drown in my negative numbers. The Lord has an equation for my life and numbers have nothing to do with it. I trust in Him that He is going to keep surprising me with the wonders of life and I will have a wonderful birthday because of the promise of what is to come in my life and not the actual age number.