Oaks Of Splendor

Sharing My Life's Story And Things That Inspire Me


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Transformed by the Potter’s Hand #Poetry

 

Glory will be exalted as the transformation takes shape, 

Preparing for who I have made you to be. 

I mold you on the potter’s wheel,

as it turns the cold subtle clay from soft to strong. 

It becomes something unrecognizable,

Transformed in a kiln of fire burning- 

as bright as the hottest star in the universe. 

I wait for the moments when you come to me,

Loving me as I have first Loved you.

You are my greatest creation.

That is why I made you in my image. 

To know more completely. 

You are my bride who says “I do”

Take up my cross and follow me,

For I am beyond what your mind can comprehend.

I have more wonder-

than the air you breath. 

Come let me Transform you. 

 

 

 

Jeremiah 18:6   He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.

1 Peter 5:6- 7   Humble yourselves, therefore, under Godʼs mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

 

 


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1 Timothy 4:4

1 Timothy 4:4  Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. 

 

I think about what we see as good and bad. What makes something good? How do we define the word good? The word “good” can be an adjective used to describe, it can be a noun, or it can be an adverb. Good as an adjective means either to be desired or approved of, it also means having the qualities for a particular role. Good as a noun simply means that which is morally right, benefit or advantage to someone or something. Good as an adverb, the expression of relation, it means well. If a thing then therefore is desired and approved of , then it must be therefore good. In this sense a flat tire can be good. What if the flat tire we got in the morning caused us to be late, and because we were late we missed being in an accident that could’ve happened had we been on time. If we knew that this would have happened then we could all agree the flat tire was a good thing not bad. It is relevant to the perspective of the event then. Of course we can’t see into our own future and know the outcome of what might of happened if something else hadn’t of happened. Instead we see the flat tire as bad because we are then late for work and because the world says being late is bad it must be so. Can we be grateful for the things in our lives we do not want. If we are grateful for it even though we do not like it, we could still call that which we do not like good. It’s a simple verse, and very straight to the point. It is a reminder of how great God truly is. To create everything good. Yet, it is our exceptance of everything in gratefulness which shows us God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.


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How Deserving Are You?

Over the years I have enjoyed reading. During my early twenties I started reading a lot of different types of non-fiction. I have always loved a good story, but as I was becoming an adult true life stories to over my fascination. I was in a time of my life when I was trying to discover the definition of self. I remember one particular book asked the question if you rated your life from one to a hundred ‘How deserving are you?’. What shocked me was my honest answer was not one hundred percent, no I would have loved to say in all certainty that I believed in myself. Instead I started with an answer of 85%, but then a small voice filled my head and said ‘no its lower’. Was it 75%? The voice didn’t agree, instead I believed that I was only 65% deserving of my life. At first I didn’t understand how I could believe such a thing about myself. I knew that self-confidence was important. It wasn’t like I completely hated myself. Although I don’t think a percent who doubts their own worth has true love for themselves. Instead I questioned my worth not because I didn’t have people who loved me and supported me. I like so many people often do, I could not trust that this frail small person traveling along her way could ever find favor in life. I lived in a word where no matter what I did, I would never be good enough.

I had grown up in the church. I was a christian from the young age of five, which is the first time I asked Jesus to come into my heart. I knew even then that no matter where I went in life I would always have him by my side if I only asked. I did not really understand this fully, but I felt like it was something I must do. Not because it was expected, but because it was what I needed. I took many turns in my life. I went out into the world, and even though my faith never fully left me. After all once you ask Christ in, his promise is to stay with you. I did however stop going to church, stopped reading the bible, stopped praying unless I really needed something. I am sure a lot of people pray like that. The pray only comes when something tragic happens and you have nothing left to do but pray. Or maybe you only pray to ask for things like a good job, or new car. Well, that’s what I did for a while. I became wrapped up in my own struggles and world.

Today I was reading Luke 15, the parable of the lost son. To paraphrase the story the son takes his inheritance and goes out into the world and basically blows all of his money. Then he has nothing. For a while he is too afraid to return home, but eventually he does. He thought surely his father would at least give him a job among the servants. To the son’s surprise the father rejoices in his return.

Luke 15:21-24

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Letʼs have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

In many ways I can relate to how he must have felt. The son still loved his father as he went into the world. He just wanted to make his own way, have a bit of fun. He did things the father would not approve of. It wasn’t until after graduating undergraduate school that I walked away. As I look back at taking my inheritance, it became about trying to decide what I believed. I was no longer certain that I believed in Jesus because it was something I wanted or something my family and friends wanted. It was a time when I had to discover the truth for myself. I was not a bad person even though I was questioning my faith. I look at this time in my life as great growth. I spent all my inheritance in the world and had ups and downs.

Then as I looked around and had nothing left. Like the prodigal son, I turned to my father. I walked into a church that changed my life. The very first sunday God sent me a messenger, to remind me how much he loved me. At the end of the service as we sang one last song, a stranger came up to me and asked to pray for me. As she started praying, the words she spoke poured into my brokenness with love. She shared an image of a little girl wrapped in her father’s arms. She spoke truth about how Jesus had never left me. I was the prodigal daughter who had come back to my father’s house and he was sending his servant to bring me a robe of love. Over the last two years he has been there every step, as I healed, as I became whole, and as I said yes. I discovered my worth. I can now answer the question ‘How deserving are you?’ and answer 100%. My heart is full with his love. I am sure that there will be times I stubble like a small child he will always be there to scoop me up. To wrap his arms around me, and sing a song of celebration. I know it is because of him. I know with every breath I posses, that I am worthy of his love. Not because I am perfect , but because I am his child. Just as you are his child, have faith that you are 100% deserving. Run to the father’s arms knowing he too will scoop you up and carry you through.

Romans 8:14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.


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The Root of Understanding

Like there is a river that runs into the sea, or the flower that blooms on the tree later to transform into a leaf, as the one leaf becomes many. There is you and there is me sharing this blog. I ask who are you the reader? I can not know you directly unless you introduce yourself in a message or email. But even in that do I ‘know’ you? So instead, you are who I imagine you to be, the person I imagine that I am writing to. You are tall and have blue eyes, or you are short with brown eyes. Both descriptions could describe the person on the other side of the screen that is right now reading what I have written. Maybe you are not these physical descriptions at the same time but in equal parts of my imagination you are all descriptive adjectives.

You are ‘every man’. Not to say you have to be a man, I myself am a woman. However, I too am ‘every man’. I like you have fears, even if those fears seem to be different. That which we identify as fear is still fear whether it is of a spider or rejection. I like you have hopes, hope that traces through the very center of who I define myself to be.

Some time ago I was sitting in my room alone, much like I am now. I was writing in a journal while listening to music. I find that my greatest moments of inspiration come from music and the lyrics artist write. I find inspiration from others, but also from God. I have been trying to hear God more clearly in the past years of my journey. I feel like I have gotten better at this, not perfect though. During the night mentioned before, I was also reading scripture trying to understand the direction that God wanted me to take. I have more clarity now but still I find that the answer is not as clear as I would want. Or maybe I am just not receiving it as clearly. I don’t know, but I am ok with the unknown.

I use to have so many plans of my own. Plans that were mapped out to what I believed would bring me my greatest joy. Like you who are reading these words, the things I wanted and planned did not turn out as expected. Nor did they even happen. In my youth I used to believe that someday I would be a great performer on broadway, then once in college after realizing that I suffered from stage fright. I dreamt that I would be a great lighting designer on broadway. I went as far as going into one of the top-level lighting design programs in the country. I had applied twice to the same program, because they only accepted two people a year. I know that I had talent, and I still know this. I even had passion for what I dreamt of achieving. The problem came though once I had walked through the door of accomplishing my goal of getting into graduate school. Have you ever desired something some much that it ached through your bones? The day I received the acceptance letter was one of the happiest days. I literally jumped for joy. My mom heard me yelling and thought something was wrong, I couldn’t even get the words out at first because I had lost my breath. I was happy crying uncontrollably. Finally the words “I got in” sprung forth with such force that laughter replaced the tears.  The year changed me. I learned a lot about lighting design. I also learned a more important life lesson, one I never planned. Life lessons are like that though, always unplanned. I came to realize the plan I had for my life was not who I was. The direction I had been swimming towards, no longer defined who I wanted to be. Nor who I was intended to be. It was a hard lesson to realize. I kept struggling through the program, not because I lacked the talent. Maybe I lacked the experience, but that is the least of the source. I achieved a goal I had worked so hard for. However, once I stepped through the door of achievement the image I saw was not me. It was instead the imagined me I had used as the adjective to define myself. I still love the things I used to dream of, and it will always hold a place inside me. The fact remains that while I was trying to define myself as theatre lighting designer, I didn’t leave room for anything else. I am so much more than one adjective. You are so much more than blue-eyed or brown-eyed.  You and I are alike because underneath it all we have the same desires.

The nights I sit in my room alone to write I find honesty in my continued evolution. I like most have been shaped by my experiences. These experiences at the core are the same as yours. They are the roots that help us understand our lives and its purpose. The root of my life has given me an understanding that LOVE is the purpose of life.

1 Corinthians 8:3 But whoever loves God is known by God. 

1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is Love. 

 

 

 

 


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4 Things About Holidays You Didn’t Know When You Were A Kid

Turkeys cost money. I found out today that my brother and his family didn’t have enough money to buy a turkey or other groceries for thanksgiving day. When I was little I don’t think I ever thought about how much a Thanksgiving Day dinner really costs. According to google the average cost of a 16 pound bird will set you back 23 dollars. Not to mention the cost of all the other ingredients for things like stuffing or mashed potatoes. What’s a Thanksgiving dinner without all the sides? Luckily my brother has his family who can send money so that he and his wife can go shopping to prepare a family thanksgiving. Others may not be so fortunate, so you may rely on a local food pantry. I am grateful for the provision of a Turkey and sides on this Thanksgiving Day.

Not all cranberry sauce is the same, round. Sometimes even if you dress it up on a crystal plate it still came from the can. I think Holidays are often dressed up so to speak and everyone plays nice just for the show of it. When you are young and sitting at the table surrounded by all your aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents you don’t realize how dysfunctional your family can be. When you become an adult and see how other families act during the holidays, you see all the freakouts that happened on Thanksgiving for what they were- dysfunctional. No matter how it was dressed up it was always going to be drama. As a kid I just thought that’s what all families did on holidays, argue.

Great Grandma use to turn to each of us around the dinner table and ask in german….”Is it Good?” She would expect you to reply in german “This is good.” To this day it is the only german I know. After dinner my great grandmother would sit in the living room and randomly sing christmas songs in german. As a kid, all I thought was how cool it was she spoke another language. I found it silly that she would sometimes put german words in the middle of her sentences. I thought she was being silly. So I would laugh. What I didn’t realize was that she was starting to get dementia and she probably didn’t mean to speak german words in the middle of a sentence. Memories you have are not always the truth. Sometimes when you are young you see the world one way, like an old lady intentionally trying to be silly and make you laugh was really a woman who sometimes couldn’t remember what she was trying to say.

Colossians 3

11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 

17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Over the summer I lived with several internationals who came to Boston to study or work. One roommate in particular, from Peru, had only been in the US two weeks before she moved into the apartment. Since she didn’t have a car which is a more convenient way to go to the grocery store, I often would offer for her to tag along as I ran my errands. On saturday like most I liked to rest from the long work week. I remember one specific saturday where it ended up being more restful than any other. It wasn’t like I went to the spa and pampered myself. Instead what I did was simple. In the afternoon I went to a park with my roommate to enjoy some live music, we then went to the grocery store, followed by coming back to the apartment and making dinner together. I think what made this day a different kind of peaceful wasn’t what I did but rather my state of mind while I went about my day. I woke up that day feeling full, not a physical fullness but a spiritual one. The night before I put down the netflix and decided to read the bible. I then followed it with journaling describing how I felt in that moment. While background music played I wrote down every worry,and let it go to God. Thanking him for ruling my heart and bringing peace. Something changed in that moment when I let the spirit of christ come into the all of me. When I woke I felt a difference. I walked through the day with a deep Thanksgiving in my heart, and every deed I did knowing that Jesus was with me. I did not know this when I was a kid. I did not know that being full in spirit was a better feeling than when you over stuff on Thanksgiving day and have to let out the top button of your pants. When you cook a meal with thanksgiving in the heart it brings a peace unlike any other.  The simple deed of cooking is transformed, and what used to be stressful becomes a source of joy. The words of what you are thankful for this year has more meaning than you could understand before. Feel Christ in you- through you, and be grateful.

 


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Countdown to Thanksgiving Day 5: Thanksgiving Ingredients God Has Put in Front of Me

I am happy to see that I am getting visitors to my new blog and people are responding to what I have to say. I only hope that the words I write glorify God, and inspire those who read every symbol I type. This week I reached out to a few friends back in Boston, it just reminded me how much I miss them. However, I know that they will always be a part of me because they are more family than just friend. I didn’t live close enough to my family during my stay in Boston, so I found people who like family would show up when I needed help. Some of them became a choice, and others God led me to.

Today I was sitting in the living room listening to an open playlist on spotify as I filled out job applications online, and I recognized one of the songs I used to love by Alexi Murdoch called Orange Sky. It was a song that had been on the soundtrack for the movie Into the Wild. If you haven’t seen the movie I definitely recommend it. Anyways, the movie which is based off a nonfiction book about a man who gives up everything and sets out on a journey  through America to the Alaskan wilderness. What inspires me about his choice is how he begins to live his life whole-heartedly. He took life by the balls, so to speak. It’s something I admire, because in this season I want to learn to live with such boldness.

The boldness I seek is not to leave everything to travel across the world in search of something. My boldness comes from a realization that God has invited me (and you) to a banquette. The things he wants of me to savor are sitting right in front of me. I ask myself….. Do I really have things to figure out when I need to instead see the bounty sitting right in front of my spot at the table. I can take a bite out of allowing my body to be a temple, and taste what it’s like to be a runner. Maybe that is what I have been looking for to be healthy. I have tried a few things but have never been consistent. Instead I let the lies I was told when young hold me to being a person unmotivated.

I now believe Jesus has been asking me to take a heaping spoonful of writing. However, up to this point I was to afraid to share my voice. Yet, he has showed me my voice and understanding are unique. The Lord has given me a gift of understanding, this includes not only what I know but what others know. I feel him saying take a piece of dessert child, the dreams and possibilities await you in the future are sweet. They do exist and can become a reality, even if they seem silly or foolish. Don’t forget the gravy on all of this is the Lord’s grace and love which make all things true, good, full, possible, and even worthy. The lies you have clinged to don’t have to be what you believe about myself or the world. You can let it all go to be renewed through love.

Some months ago before I was laid off, I had chosen to start on a journey towards volunteering for a mission project overseas. I went through the whole process. It was a lengthy application where I was asked questions about my moral values and character. I was accepted into the program. Next I went to a week long training session the first week of June. I felt like this was something God was strongly asking me to do. For the first time in my life I truly said yes, I said yes to this calling with every ounce of who I am. At the training retreat where we learned about support raising and what the eight month program would look like, I agreed to get rebaptised. I had been baptised when I was a child but never as an adult, where it was my decision and no one else’s. I will share the baptism story another time, but just know that I did feel renewed after stepping out of the river. I ended up slowly raising money when I returned, putting in the work to go. Then four weeks before I was to leave, the assistant pastor at my church sat me down and explained to me why he felt like it was not my time to go yet. Because I needed the sponsorship from my church to attend the trip, I was not be allowed to go . The money that had been raised up to that date will still be available for me to use at another time. However, I did not leave as originally intended.

I was angry and confused. How could someone say I could not do what I felt God calling me to do?  I can still be thankful for God using the journey of going as a way to transform me. To draw me closer to him. I know that the promise he gave me to go overseas is still relevant. I see now how he had some other ingredients to offer before me, ingredients in my thanksgiving feast that will become a dish which many will find filling. However, he still has some things to teach me before I start mixing. I think about a souffle in this case. If everything is not perfectly mixed together and the recipe not followed to the exact measurements then it falls flat. Once you get everything how they need to be, and then bake it, the end result is a golden crust gleaming on top of a mound of yummy goodness.

I was excited about the transformation I knew that I would go through on a trip overseas. Now I feel like God wanted to show me that transformation does not have to take place half around the world. Instead you can transform right in your own backyard. He continues to call me to throw out the past lies I held so true. Instead replace them with the fresh ingredients of his bounty , a bounty that sits right in front of me. I can be healthy, happy, and fulfilled. The first measure is a commitment to write with the Lord’s glory during the next year. The second measurement is taking action towards living healthy. Third measurement is a continuation of daily devotion that was started this summer. Fourth measurement I see is to listen to God as he continues to teach me the instructions and call out additional ingredients each step on my journey. I want to see the golden crusted mound of yumminess as my life comes forth from the oven to be shared with all those around me. Including you who are reading my words in this moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Countdown to Thanksgiving Day 2: What Attitude Can Teach You About Thanksgiving

Our daily lives we walk through each day and are affected by the attitude we have. I sure know that if I wake up in the morning and stub my toe on the corner of the dresser, than you might just find me going through the day with an attitude that its such a bad day. And as I continue to be , lets just say a grouch, I will find that each experience I have starts to become worst that the one before. I am pretty sure you know what I am talking about. If not then there is a great children’s book called Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. When I was a kid, and my mom first read this book to me I knew exactly how Alexander felt. I could relate, and even then I knew in some small way that it was his attitude that really shaped how he experienced the day. These past few years God has kept reminding me about this lesson. It is easy to get caught up on the bum toe that hurts as you walk. It is easy to get caught up in the problems you have in your marriage or even with your job. I know that sometimes we find ourselves only focusing on one thing that is bringing us misery. that thing in our life that we don’t want at all. You lose your job and find yourself depressed because you feel useless. Money problems happen and something needs fixed unexpectedly, so you get angry. You begin to ask yourself why in as much self-pity as you can muster. The day that is filled with sunshine only seems cloudy.

I think that is why I really love Thanksgiving as a holiday. It literally forces you to stop and think about the things you are grateful for instead of the things that are hard to handle and make the sky seem grey. I was reminded recently by one f my favorite poets Maya Angelou that “God puts rainbow in the clouds”. I believe this is so true, but sometimes when your attitude about what is only sees the grey you can’t really find the rainbow. I am sure it is there and once you step out of the situation and look back to the time you end up seeing the good that came out of the bad situation. I threw a rotten banana onto the floor once only to slip. I loved Chris but things had not been going well for some time, but all I could see was that I loved him and I didn’t want to let go. Then when things really were over and I was dealing with the fact that I still had to live with him for six more months until our lease was over. I could only have an attitude of anger and grief. I wanted to hurt him the way he kept hurting me, so I got into his face one day and pissed him off. I never seen him so angry in the few years I had known him. He just kept telling me to leave him alone, but I could not I was tired of being walked over so I just kept yelling back. He got so angry that he couldn’t control it any more so he picked up the desk chair and threw it on the floor. I had never pushed any one to the brink like that. It wasn’t like I was hurt or anything but I was sure scared. I threw that banana onto the floor with my attitude and it made not only me loose my own self control but his too. We both fell, not in an actual way tell you but in a way that somehow tarnished any kindness that was left between us. We didn’t speak much after that before we moved out a month later. I regret that the attitude I had could cause such anger and bitterness. As hard as things had been up to that point, at least there always remained a hope between both of us that someday we could be friends. And the broken chair that had to be taken to the dumpster was really just the last bit of love that cindered in our hearts for what was.

God kept telling me through scripture and sermons, and even songs that to find true Thanksgiving in our lives we must first shift our attitude about the things we do not want.  Psalm 3:3 But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. If we allow the lord to lift our heads high to truly see what we can not when our attitudes do not allow it, then we can find the sun shinning and the clouds will disappear.  That is the lesson in thanksgiving that he continues to remind me of each day.

Romans 15   5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.


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Isaiah 60:3

Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

 

The words sometimes seems so dismal. Often I hear people talk about the end of days and how they feel like the time is near. I just started a devotional class at church on revelations. It was really an introduction class this past Sunday, but this Sunday is when we are going to be digging into the material. I have read parts of revelations when I was younger but I am going to be honest that I often don’t read many passages in the book. Mostly because in the past I only viewed it as something that scared me, however when we were discussing it on Sunday it was brought to my attention that many people view the book as a source of hope. Knowing that the plan God has for the end overpowers any evil that may be in this world. That he has a plan much bigger than we can often understand.

The prediction of Jesus must have been like this for the Jews, a prophecy of hope of what was to come. The accession of the true church to make the nations and kings come to the light. It makes me excited to begin this study into something that used to scare me as a child. As i have grown not only in my physical self but also spiritual self, I know that the truth that fear is nothing to fear because everything that was has been overcome by the love of the blood.

I was born to two parents who loved me, but only one of them knew what the love of God meant. My mother brought us to church every Sunday from the time I was born, but my father did not believe back then. Instead he tried to escape the pain and hurt by taking drugs. My father had his troubles and I will never really know exactly because I was so young, and the things that a child knows and remembers is different than an adult. I only remember that he was often angry, angry at my mom or me or even my two year old brother. I remember what it felt like when you found your daddy passed out on the couch,and he wouldn’t wake up. So you just sat watching TV until your mom got home.  Yet, as I child you only think he is sick, which as an adult you know is true because addiction is an illness. The thing that moves me to tears is the fact that at the end of my father’s life after not speaking to him for fifteen years…..I found a changed man who had been brought into the light of God’s love for him. And as he slowly died from the cancer that had spread throughout his body, he found peace. I know that the eyes of a person who has the peace of God of their death bed is different than a person who has never known. There is a gratefulness that exists. The testament that often inspires those I share this with is that my mother prayed for my father everyday, even though they were divorced…..even though non of us had spoken to him in years. She prayed that one day he would come to know the Lord. As I spoke to him before his passing, I learned that yes her prayers had come to be answered. And so i know in my heart that God reaches down to each one of us and opens the door so that we as part of the nation can be brought to the light. Even so we come to this light by the love of Jesus Christ. The one who died so that we could know a peace unlike any other. I miss my father and miss that I never got to know the man he became after he came to know God. Yet, I know that one day I too will come to my end with the same peace and gratitude that he had before his death. Yes Jesus Loves me for the Bible tells me so. Jesus has brought me to the light that shines on all nations, as it is God’s great plan that each one of us know him.

 


Isaiah 61:3 – A hopeful prayer to pivot into the Lord’s favor.

Today is a turning point for the nation. The election will determine the shape of the country for the next four years. As I think about this, I then ask myself…What do I want the shape of my life to be for the next four years. I too am standing at a pivoting point where my next decision will shape the course of my future. I never thought that I would leave Boston and move back to West Virginia. Never did I want to be living at my mother’s house again. I was in this place six years ago before I moved to Boston. It was right after I got injured at work and got placed on workers comp. That was a waiting time too. The big difference though is this time around, my heart is different.

In 2008 when I was forced to rely on living with my mother, I was not only injured physically but I was still hurt from the failure I felt from the decision I made to move to California where I was injured on the job. I believed that it was my fault that such a thing would happen to me. I believed that somehow I had asked for that latter to fall on my head, causing trauma to my neck. I had asked to be injured. I felt like going to California was the worst decision I had ever made. I was so angry at myself. I did not know how to deal with it. So, I let myself sink into a deep depression. This was only compounded by the headache I had non-stop for over a year, and the pain and soreness I had in my neck and shoulders. I was wasting my days away sleeping all the time, living each day in my dreams and fantasies I would create in my head about all the things I would have when…. when I was _____ fill in blank with whatever I desired that day. I was living for the grass being greener on the other side. I was wallowing in my misery.  I allowed the fantasies that I created to hold me, not caring how crazy they were. It did not matter, it was my only source of happiness. Those few hours before bed when I got to imagine my life anyway that I wanted. Then I would wake up and reality would set in. I would imagine that I could live an extraordinary life, but never take time to create it in my reality.

Since I have been back living in West Virginia, things have gotten to the point where I started dreaming again like before. But its different somehow. I have often fantasized when my life is not how I want it to be. It is easy to imagine a story of extraordinary measures, but it is difficult to live one. So often people settle instead of take action towards a reality of extraordinary.

My heart wants more than anything to live an extraordinary life. There are so many things that I would love to do in my life. I want to travel, and I want to help others. I would love to have a book published. I want to be the best version of myself I can be. The person Gog has made me to be. I have often found myself only living for the imaginative. I want to start living for the reality that I know I can create with the love of Jesus.

I am a person who spent so many years focused on one goal. And six years ago I realized that it’s OK to let goals be fluid like the changing river! The river shapes the landscape, it cuts through rocks and opens up valleys to create beauty and wonder. I wast to start re-shaping my own landscape. Not because circumstances have forced me to make a decision, and then wallow into the effect of that decision. A decision that feels forced upon me. I want to live tomorrow for the grace that opens the blind eyes to see.

The biggest difference now versus last time I found myself in this pivot point, well that difference is I have found healing water. This past summer I was re-baptized in an actual river. Yes, I had been baptized as an infant but it was not my decision. I stood before God and asked for him to transform me. He has been changing me ever since, forcing me to dive deep into the inner depths of myself. Asking me to evaluate and examine the things that NO longer serve me. Those old habits that have not worked in making my light shine.

Living my life through some imaginary world I create in my mind before bed because my reality is nothing that I want or ask for; this does not serve the new me that I want to be. All it does is make me stuck in false lies and disillusions. So because I want to shape my landscape, I know that I can change this old habit. This old comfort which helped me escape moments in my life that were too challenging to handle.

One of the other challenges that I often avoid relates to my own health. I know that I want to change this, but part of me feels unready. Maybe I should focus on a few things at a time. Yet, a yearning boils inside to be radical and stop thinking about it. I know a time will come when this still small voice will become to loud to ignore. I want to excercise everyday, and I know that it is what you are supposed to do to be health. I find it challenging, and I am a person who has often taken the easy way out because that’s what I am used to. It was how I learned to survive my own life of self misery. I didn’t know any better though, that is how my mother learned to deal with the things in her life that she found to difficult. Now that I know better, I can do better. I so want to do better. I want to break this chain that holds me. Oh, Lord take this burden and transform it. I know that you took my yoke when I said yes. I rise to find the gratitude that I no longer have to live in my self-created imaginary world, which I used to use to escape. I used to use it to escape the problems and challenges that I had no control over. The things that were simply because. The things I did not want but was too afraid to ask for you Lord to change the landscape.

Prayer:

Lord, change my landscape, and give me the wisdom to follow your river. The light shines upon the shores of your beauty, and the joy that floods to create rich soil for my growth. Growth towards who not only I want to be, but who you made me to be. You have me in this place where I learned the things that do not serve me, so that you can change the landscape. You brought me to this place that has so many memories of the darkness, so that I no longer fear letting my light shine. Let it shine for the splendor of your righteousness.