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
And that’s the way it is…
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.
Last year, when I was living in New York and working at a truly horrible job God graced me with several blessings in order to keep my spirits up. Those blessings were also key contributions to my journey with the Lord because they were constant reminders that while I was “in the trenches” at a terrible job I could always count on Jesus to be there enduring the terrors with me. One of those blessings was a friendship with a coworker. We bonded when we were both scheduled to work in the pastry department and were tasked with handling an extremely large delivery of cookies. It was a grueling task and one that we would have never been able to do alone. It was through that task that we discovered how much we could rely on each other for anything. Over time our friendship only grew stronger and after I left that job he was really the only person I continue to maintain steady communication with.
This friendship came as a surprise to me because we were so different. While working at that job I was quite open about my Catholic faith and he was quite open that he was not. I never felt judgement from him though and instead he asked and continues to ask about my faith. In fact, even though our religious beliefs do not always match we always end up agreeing on many “hot topics” that can often create major divisions between people. We both can see that we were meant to have this friendship with one another. He believes that it was done by the universe where as I know it was the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless we are united in the faith we were destined to be in each other’s lives and this belief was only affirmed last week. We had somehow found ourselves on the topic of my future wedding. To clarify, I am not engaged and I am not even dating anyone but we like to fantasize about the wedding day just because he is a florist and being the artist he is has already started picking out flower arrangements. It is no secret that one of my greatest desires for my life is to find that special guy and get married however I also have a deep desire to be a mother which I have not expressed to the general public quite as much. I have never had that motherly instinct and I do not gravitate to children like some do. It is because of this I question if I would be a good mother. In the deepest part of my heart I have that fear that God does not intend on me becoming one. Fortunately, the Lord knows my heart and knows what I need to hear and when I need to hear it. During that wedding conversation I was having with my friend he suddenly shifted the conversation from the wedding plans to motherhood. He told me that even though he is extremely excited to see how my future love story turns out he is even more excited to see me as a mother because he knows how wonderful I will be as a mother. This statement was so powerful I was left speechless. It was in that moment that I realized I had never heard that before. I have never heard someone consciously tell me that they think I would be a good mother without any coaxing from me. I have complete confidence that the Holy Spirit was using my friend to get a message to me. I told my friend that his statement was the most incredible and significant thing anyone could ever say to me because his words left me forever changed. I was filled with this new and enriched faith that I am meant to be a mother someday and that I can actually be good at it. The Holy Spirit is beautiful in His design and He can perform miracles in the most simplest of circumstances. I am so grateful to have this friendship in my life and it is because I know that it is a gift from God.
In these current times the threat of having your personal accounts, credits cards and even identity compromised is a sad reality. Fortunately, it has become so common companies have come up with good methods at detecting fraud early. My parents have had to replace their credit cards more times than I can count and I am catching up. I have gotten pretty familiar with what to do when my credit card number is compromised, the credit card company recognizes a charge on my card that I did not make and notifies me and replace the card. A few years ago when this happened it would truly have disrupted my life but nowadays it is so common it barely registers.
Nevertheless, I recently was a victim of a different kind of identity fraud. Instead of the invader using my credit card to make a purchase they gained access to my password to my credit card account and because they knew my password they were able to start changing my information from within my account without the credit card company alerting the credit company of fraudulence. The only reason I became aware of it was that I received an email stating that I had changed my email in my account. Of course I hadn’t so I contacted the credit company at once. The first customer service representative I spoke with was very helpful and went through the normal protocol. He reset my password to my account and issued me a new card but then he transferred my over to the credit card company’s actual fraud protection division. That representative was much more intimidating. He informed me that since the invader was already in my account they had probably already changed other pieces of my information. I had to go through and verify every signal piece of my information. Sure enough some other things had already been altered. The representative said that he would put my account on “high alert” status. Just that simple phrase made me uneasy and made me feel extremely vulnerable.
These experiences causes me to put my life into a different perspective. Basic information that I have taken for granted and claimed as my own like my email, phone number, place of residence, are compromised and I found myself literally fighting to prove that I am who I say I am. Identity theft has a great ability to make someone feel a loss of control and rightfully so. In times like these I normally would easily give into anger. I would allow negative thoughts to plague and take over my mind, “how dare this person change my information” and “what right does this person have to invade my privacy.” The truth is they have every ability to take over my account and invade my privacy. The reality is that this is a fallen world and evil is everywhere seeking to disrupt our lives. What defense do we have to combat it? Obviously, there is identity theft protection technology but that can only go so far. While going through the process of checking all my accounts and making sure they all were secure I found myself relying on something or someone greater. I found strength in my faith that I am a child of God. That is my one true identity and there is no password that I require to gain access to it, all I need is my savior Jesus Christ. He holds the ultimate access to the greatest account there is, eternal life. It was thanks to this truth I had the capacity to overcome my initial inclination to give into anger. Once I gave it up to God I had confidence that He would protect my identity. Not only was I able to release the anger I was able to feel compassion for the person who invaded my account. In the name of Jesus Christ I prayed for them and forgave them. It is in these circumstances that I believe God is calling us to our true purpose. In this day and age what is the best protection available when our identity is compromised? It is prayer, prayer for the people who are doing these things. They need help and the best thing we can do is to forgive and pray for them.
Buying a car is probably one of the most stressful and irritating things a person will ever do. Finding a place to live and navigating through all the complicated paperwork, security deposits and realtor fees was easier then it was figuring out the correct protocol of buying a car. I have never bought a car before and I found myself confessing this to many people usually when I found them looking at me like I was an idiot for not knowing something. I instinctively started to take on all the responsibility and apologize for my stupidity. “I am sorry, I am sorry. I didn’t know, I have never done this before,” I would confess. I allowed the intimidation of the task of buying a car to rule over me. I relinquished my self respect and self esteem and reverted back to my meek and self conscious nature. If I am being completely honest with myself I did not believe I could do it and I really didn’t want to do it. The idea of owning a high priced item and taking responsibility for it terrified me. I had to title it and register it and make sure that it is up to the standards that society expects of it. It is like having a child!
Why was I so resistant to this and where did this great fear come from? When I brought this question to the Lord in prayer He graciously revealed that answer. I don’t want to grow up. By buying this car I am once again forced to let go several comforts that I have clung onto with dear life including my Colorado Driver’s license. Even though I lived in New York for over a year I never transferred my license simply because I was not ready to let go of my life in Colorado. My life in New York was definitely what I was supposed to do, I moved there because I was unhappy with Colorado. Nevertheless, I didn’t want to let that go of Colorado because I didn’t want to give up the hope of returning. In the back of my mind New York was temporary, my adventure of moving away was all temporary and I would eventually find my way back to Colorado. I still might return, it is all in God’s hands and I have given up trying to predict what He is planning a long time ago. I know God is not asking me to give up my love for Colorado or my memories. What He is asking is to let go of the attachment I have for them. Attachments are the result of me trying to maintain control of my life. Through this journey in New York and now New Jersey I am slowly learning to let go of those attachments. It turns out I have quite a few but the Holy Spirit is gracious and patient with me only tackling one attachment at a time but He got very ambitious and decided to tackle quite a few this past month. My attachment to my apartment in New York, my old job, and essentially the security and comfort that I held in maintaining residency in Colorado.
The Holy Spirit was truly in control when I finally started the search for this car. I had been struggling with trying decide what were the best cars and the best places to buy these cars. Should I buy through a carfax, Craigslist, or dealership? It drove me crazy and by the end of it I couldn’t keep anything straight. In the end I literally just went out with a good friend who had worked on cars and made our way around Brooklyn in search of cars. He ended up just Googling cheap car dealerships. Google brought us to this little car lot that at first glance looked rather shady. I had written it off even before we had entered the lot but my friend was persistent. All the cars were out of my price range except for one. When I saw this car it felt like a scene out of a movie, Maggie Peyton finding Herbie or discovering Bumblebee from Transformers. This car was parked on the street underneath the train tracks, covered in dust and dirt. At first glance the car looked a piece of junk. My friend gave it a thorough inspection and insisted we take it to a mechanic. Yes, it has its quirks and there are no frills but it has good bones and it is safe and reliable which is what I need. After visiting the mechanic and we expressed interest in purchasing the car the dealer gave it a car wash and cleaned it up. It was transformed and in that moment the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and I saw my car. To my surprise the entire process of purchasing the car was easy. Walking out of that dealership with the title in hand was extremely liberating, I owned a car. There is certain bond that a person can build with a car. Before moving to New York I got into a car accident and totaled my SUV that I had been driving since high school. Letting go of that car was difficult because it had gotten me through several things. I am one of those people who name their cars and I had named it Peter Pan because it was green and it had the ability to take me out of reality and into “Neverland.” This new car seems to have similar capabilities but has a bit more strength because I know it is a gift from the Holy Spirit. Like Maggie Peyton discovering Herbie in the junkyard, I have a hidden treasure. It is also black so I think it fitting to bestow the name of Black Panther (yes, like the Marvel comic) to this one. The Lord’s plan for our lives are beautiful and are made out of these incredible and unexpected stories. I was so focused on buying a car the right way I ended up fighting God to control the situation. He ended up winning and I am so glad He did because I can now be confident I have the car I was supposed to have. My own Black Panther.