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.

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A Whole New World

A hundred thousand things to see
I’m like a shooting star
I’ve come so far
I can’t go back to where I used to be

A whole new world, Every turn a surprise
With new horizons to pursue
I’ll chase them anywhere”~ A Whole New World, Disney’s Aladdin
I grew up with Disney’s Aladdin, I was captivated by Princess Jasmine. I even insisted that I wear my Princess Jasmine costume when my family visited Disneyland for the first time. Over Memorial Day weekend Disney released their latest version of the classic movie. I am always skeptical about these remakes since I am so attached to the originals. Nevertheless I had to satisfy my curiosity and I went to see it over the weekend but I did not anticipate the graces I would receive while watching this movie.
My parents were also visiting over Memorial Day weekend. The entire weekend was truly filled with the healing of the Holy Spirit. In one weekend the Holy Spirit was once again able to heal wounds that I never thought were possible. My parents recently made the decision to sell their house in Colorado and move to South Carolina. For my entire life this idea of selling my childhood home was literally my worst nightmare. That house held everything that I cherished in life. When my parents first told me they were moving I did not handle it well. I actually cut off communication with my mother entirely but Jesus was hard at work changing my heart and began to show me a “Whole New World.” The Lord has a great ability of making all things new. Through the Holy Spirit’s working He showed me that I no longer needed that home because I had found my forever home in Jesus Christ.

By completely giving myself to Jesus Christ I came to realize that there is no going back. My heart still aches a bit when I think about the things that I will never see or do again. To be honest, I do not see myself going back to Colorado for the foreseeable future, it is filled with too many memories. I know I do not need Colorado or my old home anymore because that is all they are– memories. My attachment to them were only keeping from moving forward and completely accepting God’s plan for my life. Much to my surprise over the weekend I was able to fully engage with my parents and talk openly about this new world we were about to embark on. I even found myself excited about the new possibilities. My parents moving to South Carolina means they will be closer to me which means I can see them more often.

The weekend ended with the movie Aladdin which was the perfect conclusion to the visit. Here I was watching something new while still keeping the original foundations intact. My entire life is the Lord’s now. There is nothing of this world that I am attached to that can keep me from Him. I am entering into a whole new world with Jesus Christ and cannot go back to where I used to be.

Thank You

Raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,

for the Kingdom of God is yours.

Blessed are you who are now hungry,

for you will be satisfied.

Blessed are you who are now weeping,

for you will laugh.

Blessed are you when people hate you,

and when they exclude and insult you,

and denounce your name as evil

on account of the Son of Man. ~ Luke 6: 20-26

When I was first diagnosed with type one diabetes this passage really resonated with me. The three months I lived with diabetes and didn’t know it were the most difficult times of my life or so I thought. Upon reflection of those times I felt blessed and honored that the Lord knew that I could handle such hardship. My body, soul and spirit were abused and battered. I couldn’t imagine anything worse than the turmoil I went through… until now.

Getting diagnosed with diabetes was only the tip of the iceberg, enduring the reality of living with a chronic illness was nothing compared to what I have gone through in New York. Yesterday marked my one year anniversary of living in New York. It is hard to believe I made it a year, it does not feel like a year but at the same time it feels like a lifetime. I am not the person who I was when I boarded that plane to New York a year ago. The person I was a year ago was truly a hollow shell surviving life without any idea of who she was with no purpose and had no passion for anything and most importantly no hope.

Throughout this year I became poor, hungry, and I wept almost everyday but through these pains the Lord blessed me and restored my life. “Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven”(Luke 6: 20-26). I have found new meaning in the beatitudes. When I read them while struggling with diabetes I read them without hope or joy and believed in them as a promise of happiness after death in Heaven. Today, I read them with new eyes and I can see that the Lord has blessed me with His Kingdom already. I was stripped of everything, all the comforts of home and what did I have left? I had Jesus Christ. All I have and all I want is Him. I can see the Kingdom of Heaven through the sorrows of this world. With a renewed spirit I praise God for giving me diabetes because that pain prepared me for the pure agony I would have to go through in New York. I can see the mastery of the Lord’s divine plan for without lessons I learned managing diabetes I would have not ever survived in New York.

Change of Address

I hit my lowest point last week, I got extremely sick with a stomach bug. It came on without warning and left me bedridden for over 48 hours. It came on so quickly I had to resort to something I never imagined doing, I threw up on the side of the road. It was humiliating and dehumanizing. It was an immense reality check. I have been living in New York for almost a year now and I thought I was doing pretty well taking care of myself. I had figured out laundry, grocery shopping, working, and monthly bills, yet there I was completely unprepared. I had nothing in my apartment for a stomach bug and I was so weak I couldn’t imagine how I was going to get any of the stuff. All I can really remember is falling into my bed and falling asleep. I woke up around midnight and I think I threw up again. I knew I needed to get some food and liquid in me because I didn’t want to get dehydrated. The benefits of New York is that there are so many 24 hour grocery stores within blocks of your apartment. I was able to make out of my apartment and pick up Ginger Ale, some crackers, and jam for toast. The next 48 hours were truly a test of strength, endurance and faith in the Lord. It got to the point where I couldn’t keep anything down and I was on the verge of severe dehydration. Immense fear came over me in the realization that I was all alone and I could barely get out of bed. I couldn’t take care of myself.

The Lord truly answers His children’s call right at the moment of need. Mere seconds after I came to the reality that I might need to go to the hospital the Lord relieved all my discomfort. Suddenly, I had an appetite again. I had survived my first real illness on my own but the only reason I survived was because of my Heavenly Father. He took care of me. It was a big wake up call for me and once again called me to re-evaluate what was I doing here? I lost my humanity, I truly hated how low I went and I really did not like the feeling of knowing that there was no one I could call on for help. I do have friends that I am sure would have come and helped but I didn’t feel comfortable asking them to take care of me, that is not their responsibility. I needed family which brought me to realize how much I miss my family and how much I rely on them. I do believe this is one of the reasons the Lord brought me to New York in the first place, to learn to rely on Him instead of my family.

Through this entire process I was once again reminded of how differently people live in New York. I felt dehumanized by throwing up on the street yet I am constantly seeing people go to the bathroom on the streets all the time. One of my regular customers who I see often at work came to me the other day extremely excited because she was finally moving out of her parents house. This came as a great surprise to me because she always comes across as being so put together, she shops at a high end grocery store on the upper east side. I would have never guessed she was still reliant on her parents.

Are we all just faking it until we make it? I have often referred to New York as Wonderland and I fell down the rabbit hole. Everything is upside down, inside out and nothing is as it seems. While I might feel as though I am losing my humanity in this new reality I might be becoming more human. To wrap up, here I am feeling degraded, angry and frustrated. I have no idea what I am doing or what I am supposed to do next and most of all I have no desire to stay in New York for another minute. So what do I do? I officially register for a change of address at the Post Office! What is even more crazy is that it actually felt right. God has a strange way of doing things. I place my trust in Him.

Down the Rabbit Hole… AGAIN

My life here in New York can be easily seen as a strange version of Alice in Wonderland. Moving here and adapting to the lifestyle really did feel like adapting to a world where up is down and down is up. At first, I was fascinated and excited to have the opportunity of escaping my mundane life in Colorado. As I spent more time here the excitement wore off and as time continued I got more frustrated with the oddities of this Wonderland. My patience dwindled and I was left with this undeniable desire to find my way back home just like Alice did. The farther Alice ventured into Wonderland things got “curiouser and curiouser” and it got more difficult to find her way back home until she eventually broke down. I have hit that same breaking point. I am sick of enduring the unexplainable day in and day out. I feel lost and often question what on earth am I doing here and why I even came here in the first place. Amongst all the chaos Alice did meet unique and original people, befriended them, all the while creating strong and unbreakable bonds with them. I have done this too. It is the people that keep me here to the point where I can’t imagine my life without them. They keep me sane in this very very insane world.

Here I am standing at a crossroad. Do I take the clear cut path that will lead me back to home or do I take the “short cut” the Cheshire Cat points out that leads me directly in the more intense craziness and combating the Queen of Hearts? I really must be insane because I seem to be choosing the short cut and taking my chances with even more insanity. My lease on my apartment is up at the end of September, I can am free to go home but should I?

I struggle with a deep darkness that comes over me every morning and I am overcome with this terrifying sense of how alone I am. The Holy Spirit is gracious enough to always intervene and provides the strength and courage to get me out of my apartment. As I begin to walk the streets of Manhattan the Holy Spirit brings me out of the darkness. There was a Gospel reading this past week that struck me, Jesus was speaking of the kingdom of Heaven through parables. In Matthew 13: 44-46 Jesus says the kingdom of Heaven is like finding buried treasure. There is that famous saying “life is what happens while we are busy making plans.” I keep on trying to make plans to go back to Colorado but The Holy Spirit continues to surprise me, takes me off guard and give me new reasons to stay in New York. When these surprises happen they have the power to bring me this unbelievable sense of happiness I would never be able to describe. It is truly like finding that buried treasure Jesus spoke of. It is in these moments that I realize that I cannot go home yet because my journey is not over yet. Even though I know that each day will have its challenges and I will most likely question my decision to stay constantly there is still a lot of good to be done here. I am choosing to stay in Wonderland and I may end up loosing my head but I will have lost it fighting for the kingdom of Heaven.