Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The year long facebook experiment

I’ve waited with anticipation for opening my little bowed jar. I was writing down anything good that happened through the year as per a recommendation on a facebook post. Not only the obvious ones like surprise gifts, compliments or accomplished goals, but ones not so obvious like the beauty of nature, LOL moments, things that give you warm fuzzy or perhaps a moment that makes you go, 'awwwww’.
   I haven’t allowed myself to peek in or to count how many paper slips I had in there because I wanted it to be a surprise for me as I waited for the New Year’s ball to drop.
  Then it was time. I read each one remembering & reliving each moment which also spurred me to recall ones that I hadn’t written down. They brought a smile to my face for a second time which was pretty cool. 
  While there were little surprise gifts, encouragements & compliments sprinkled throughout the paper snippets I was kind of surprised that there was an equal number of what might be considered the ‘lesser’ things.
  It made me chuckle when I felt inclined to write that Zoey, the big white dog, made it through another vet visit without having to be muzzled (she'd been so scared once they had to) or that I was able to lift a 40 lb bag of dog food (something my hand issues have prevented me from doing for over a year). Getting to make a fairy garden. Valentines hidden throughout the house. A thinking of you card. Seeing fireworks. Getting a new word of focus for 2015.
  There were talks & visits with friends, getting to go to a city wide yard sale also with a friend, traveling to be with our daughter & grandgirls, lunches with my mother-in-law & breakfast dates with my dad, getting to spend a lot of extra time with a brother. Noticing my husband smiling more.
   All in all there were 57 total! So I had a reason to smile at least once a week for an entire year! And something else that occurred to me was that when you make the conscience effort to ‘keep track’ you are more mindful & appreciative of those moments too...I also realized that, for the most part, everything I wrote included someone wasn’t the actual stuff that gave me those wonderful moments, it was the people and all the 'stuff’ that money can’t buy!!
   While doing this little facebook experiment probably is not as exciting as opening Al Capone’s vault, it was a lot more productive!! haha
  What a blessing!! That might just be on my first paper nubbin for 2015!

Friday, December 26, 2014

A colony of poisonous spiders?

So I have to wonder if I'm the only one that has had things in their past that effects you in the here & now all these many years later? Ya, I didn't think so. 

It's been part of your life for so long that in some ways, although the memories are very painful at least they are yours and they're familiar? It's a crazy feeling to have. Who would willingly hold onto a colony of poisonous spiders, bare-handed? It serves no purpose but to hurt you!! Yet that is what we often do. Those things have helped mold 'who you are' yet they will in the long run also be holding you back.

The scriptures tell us to 'take every thought captive to obey Christ" 2 Cor. 10:5  I am reminded of a saying that goes something like, "emotions are like waves, we just have to decide which ones to surf." Hmmm.

Revisiting the past, or more pointedly, letting IT be a large part of your present (which can manifest in our emotions), is a choice we have. 

Past hurts & abuse from decades ago can ever so subtly eat away at your insides. So slyly that you don't even realize it's happening much less have a choice in the matter. For myself the mere mention of a person's name can put that knot in my stomach & a tightness in my chest. For 35 years I have had the same nightmare that has left me gasping for air & crying that ugly cry.

But it doesn't even have to be something as drastic as all that...there have been times that the anxiety & stresses of life have given me those same kind of feelings. The feelings that any minute now the bottom may fall out of my life & in those times, I try to do my best to prepare mentally for it.  But upon closer inspection, that doesn't really help me and quite honestly it just steals my joy and keeps me from living & appreciating the present!!

In Matthew 6:25-34 it tells us about God caring for the lilies of the field. He takes care of their every need even though they do nothing & their lives are short....they don't even 'labor & spin.' Some translations say 'to toil' which means to weary oneself.  It all kind of reminds me of watching a dog chase it's tail. Putting out a lot of energy but never catching it. When he gets exhausted, he quits no better off than when he started.

Is this what we do? Chasing our tails? Riding on our sit-n-spins, going nowhere? Trying to figure it all out on our own?  Do we forget that God loves us so much more than all of those disposable lilies of the field? He has counted every hair on our heads, you know. (Matt. 10:30) Not only do we not have to do things alone we can give it all over to the one that knows what's best to begin with!!

What's the underlying truth, the bottom line if you will, when it comes to the negative feelings we let over take us?  Trust. Trust is the obvious indication that we truly believe God and his promises...I didn't realize when I would let my anxious thoughts overtake & overwhelm me that ultimately I was saying, God I don't trust you to see me through whatever this day brings. I find it very offensive that that kind of thinking, lumped me into a group of unbelievers that is described in Matt.6:32.

 I have this scripture taped above my kitchen sink so I can remind myself of it daily...Philippians 4:5-9 Do not be anxious about ANYTHING, but in everything by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understand, will GUARD your hearts & minds...think about these things. What you have learned & received and heard and seen in me-practice these things and the God of peace will be with you. (see, God knows me so well, that he says 'practice' because he knows I still won't always get it right. He will give me the do-over I need!)

So what does this all mean in my year of H.O.P.E.(Hang On Pain Ends) with a side of Serenity?  I have realized that just like with the lilies of the field, when the winds of hurt, pain. anxiety or stress come blowing through, He has made me to bend not break. I have also learned that my roots go deep to keep me anchored securely. And I know in whom I am rooted!!

It doesn't matter that I will never know if the one responsible for so much pain ever felt regret or maybe even wanted to say sorry but ran out of time.  And in my world (and I would venture to guess yours too) there is bound to be things that will try sneak in to cause me anxiety. My circumstances haven't changed but God has changed me in how I will handle it. I will take my thoughts captive!

 So for the first time in 35 years instead of a nightmare it's been replaced by good dreams as if in confirmation that I finally got it right!..And in the midst of total chaos and family dramas we also found 'a side of serenity' that was in front of us all the time. We just had to surrender it to God & acknowledge the freedom we received from doing so.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Fast forward a couple months

     My word for the year is ‘hope’ and lest we forget, ‘with a side of serenity’.   I should not be, however I am always a little surprised in some ways how God has been able to stretch & grow me into someone better than I was before through the words He’s chosen for me. (oh yes, if this is the first you are hearing about God choosing a word for me this was my 3rd year & I am already equipped with next years which will be revealed soon!)
    Early on in the year hope became something bigger than I even imagined.  It took on a whole new meaning.It was no longer the dictionary version meaning to desire with expectation of fulfilment or to wish but a motto of sorts for my year. HOPE=Hang On Pain Ends.
    This is my second full year of excruciating, debilitating pain in my thumbs/hands so even the thought of this was encouraging! I have had a renewed positive outlook on the whole deal even though without having a crystal ball I still didn’t know what that might mean for me.
    The same week I got my nails done the end of April in an attempt to take those positive thoughts by the proverbial horns, a sequence of events also led me to have an epiphany.  Even though I had consulted with our chiropractor, a theraputic massage therapist & our naturopath they were all out of ideas & approaches.  And the one time I went to the medical dr, he gave me no help besides the condescending & ignorant comment of ‘you are of an age when these things happen’...That made it sound like I was destined to accept this as the status quo and that was unacceptable to me! Deep down I just knew better!
   Longer story just a little shorter, it does seem likely that it was because of the night guard that had been prescribed to me that was causing my issues!!  I had been faithfully wearing it for nearly 2 months prior (Oct 2012) to the hand problems starting and every month thereafter! (til April 2014) And it wasn’t the guard being the culprit exactly but rather the wonky way I was unconsciously holding my jaw when I wore it!! 
    As of this day of writing I am still not totally pain free (it’s taking time to reverse the damage done over the course of 18 months) but for some reason I remain hopeful that with still another week left in this year, maybe I’ll get to start fresh!!!
  You know what’s really something? My “Hang on Pain Ends” motto carried with it more than in referance to my obvious physical pain...Little did I know I had yet to see what else God had in store for me.....healings that I’d never dreamed were possible! stay tuned!! That’ll be coming up very soon!!!!