A Glimpse of Mi Vida...
It started with a missions trip to Camden, where my life and perspective were changed and where this blog began. Life has been a roller coaster filled with its ups and downs and I'm excited for the adventure and discovering what God has in store, even though I really dislike roller coasters... I am a Lady in Waiting...
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
“Do small things with great love” -Mother Theresa
The week of Thanksgiving is always one of my favorite times of the year because it is filled with many service opportunities amongst my church family. This year one of the women from my Growth Group and I (along with her teenage daughter) somehow loaded my car with five boxes of Thanksgiving items, four turkeys, five pies and packages of rolls. It barely fit but we did it and we set out amongst Covina and Glendora. I love serving alongside children and teens because it begins to instill bits of the importance of gratitude and giving back. I didn’t grow up serving alongside my parents, but I learned to love others through their generosity with those they encountered.
As we jumped around town, we delivered meals to our first two families. Our third family was a family of eight. I had a sense of angst as we approached this home as each of our hands were filled with boxes and items. We were greeted halfway through the yard by a man who helped up onto their patio. We had small talk, wished them a Happy Thanksgiving, invited them to Christmas Eve services, and then offered to pray. I felt slightly uncomfortable to offer prayer after we invited them to service. I am not sure why, but there was a hesitation I think because I felt a tinge of uncomfortable due to the chaos of the home that surrounded us. We offered prayer and they gave us basic requests for family and health. We prayed.
I love prayer because it allows us to come to the Father in humbleness, in thankfulness, and to make our petitions. We petitioned for this family and for their needs. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6) Prayer creates vulnerability with God and each other. It was after our prayers that this family began to open up and share their struggles, hurts, and pains of the family and the past. There we stayed with them for another 30 minutes as we offered encouragement and recommended connection to the church community and services. I am thankful for the opportunity to pray with others in all circumstances and for the way that God connects us to others through prayer.
As I reflect upon last night, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness. It is through prayer that we are humbled. Through prayer, we are able to connect with others and can share moments of vulnerability. I love seeing what God does through big faith, generosity, and prayer within our local communities and through our simple obedience.
Friday, November 4, 2016
The past few weeks my church has been going a series on the Ten Commandments. I had missed church the previous weekend as I was preparing for a small speaking engagement with the financial firm, and so I couldn’t recall which commandment we were on. As I walked up the stairs into the auditorium of the church, I read the list of commandments from where we had last left off and I was halted in my steps as I read: “Honor Your Mother and Father”.
I believe that this has been one of the hardest commandments that I have struggled with keeping for awhile. My heart sank into my stomach as I prepared to hear the sermon.
A basic synopsis of my childhood from two other posts:
“Most people who have met me or have seen me live life would never know that I have experienced some traumatic verbal and emotional abuse for most of my life. Heartbreaking neglect and hurtful and harsh words thrown at me from my parents, the people that are suppose to love and accept me most. For the longest time, I held it in. I surrounded myself in busyness and burying this deep heartache and pain because no one could know. It was the lie I believed. I felt unloved and unlovable.”
“Life hasn't been easy or difficult, I have had some very low moments in my childhood and adulthood and some amazing joyous moments. Truth of the matter is, I once was a daddy's girl. At some point things change and my relationship with my dad changed. But I couldn't take the deep emotional hurt or verbal abuse. Truthfully, it doesn't matter what his addictions or pains are, it is my baggage that had to be dealt with, sorted through, conquered, and left at the feet of the Cross. Not every day is easy, but each new day is better as I strive to find forgiveness and healing. Through therapy I began to see my dad for who he is, not who I wished he was. I began to see him as a lost, hurting, and broken boy. I began to let go of the titles, pressure, hurts, and bitterness. God has redeemed me and brought a lot of healing and restoration.”
If you would like here are a few other posts of the back story (or feel free to explore my whole blog later):
The Broken Boy
A Thanksgiving Plea
Symbolism of 40
Briefly glancing over those posts brings up such raw emotions as I linked them just now.
As difficult as it was to sit in the service, it spoke such truth to my heart. The pastor shared that “children are like an arrow- held, pointed in the right direction, pulled back, and then released. Released into the right direction”.
Despite my difficult and emotionally painful childhood, I still have to honor my parents like I honor God. I have learned over the years that I must serve and honor my parents like I serve and honor God. I’ve learned that the closer I grow to God, the further I was from my parents but that the closer I grew to God, the more that grace and love for them grew.
The thing that most spoke to my soul from the pastor was that he spoke about how sometimes honoring your parents is about creating space with them. That was myself with my family over the past two years since moving out. Space created healthy boundaries for me. Therapy created ways for me to process through my past and find ways to be tolerant of the words that were spoken to me. Therapy allowed me to not hold thoughts of my parents hostage because when I do hold them hostage and place blame, it truly holds me in with bitterness. God’s love broke down many emotional barriers for me.
The pastor then said, “that it should break your heart to have to obey God when it in turn disobeys your parents.” This described so much of my turmoil amidst our relationship. My choice to move to Haiti or go on mission trips, my choice to move out, my choice to work in the nonprofit sector. God had led me to so many amazing opportunities and sometimes they didn’t meet my parent’s will for my life but it met God’s perfect will. When my will and God’s will align it is a beautiful thing of peace.
Although there were times, places, and spaces where I felt empty or broken or unfulfilled, God filled in the gaps and He made a way for me.
As I was recently making an upcoming list for a party, I was dumbfounded by the amount of people I had on the list who have impacted my life. I don’t say that to sound conceited or popular, it’s quite opposite actually. God has first and foremost filled me and comforted me with His presence over the years. But secondly, He has brought so many people in my life that also filled gaps that I needed. From friends, to other families who have invited me over for Thanksgiving meals, Christmas dinners, Easter and other important times- when I struggled being apart of my family, so many other families came by my side and welcomed me into theirs.
I think one of my greatest prayers has been for my future husband’s family to include me into their family like their own (like I’ve maybe been a missing piece and the perfect fit for their son), to even potentially call me daughter as well. I am thankful for the healing and restoration that God had done through me because of surrender and through a therapy chair in the past. Life with my parents has not been easy, but I am thankful for the honor I wish to still bring them and the respect I have as appropriate boundaries and space were created in my adulthood. I am excited for my future family and to hopefully impart wisdom on those who struggle through similar family circumstances. The conversations aren’t always easy but let me know if you want to chat.
Dear Lord, please continue to give my vision to see things like you do and to see family through a filter of love, honor, and respect and offer grace continually.
You can listen to the sermon here.