Starting this Friday I am going to try and commit to sharing more of my poetry. SInce it seems like my poems get the most likes of all my posts. I am going to start with a series of Poems I am entitling “Before I Found the Light”. The are poems when I was suffering in pain and turmoil with depression, before I was re-baptized last summer. I was baptized as an infant when I was a child, but last year 2016. I walked into a river in Texas and choose to declare giving my life over to the Light of the world. It was then I was reborn. Over the next 10 weeks I am going to share some of these poems ever Poetry Friday. I figure it’s a good way to end the working week. First Poem is the answer to a poem I shared before. the one I wrote at the age 18 about who I am. Or who I thought I was at the age of 18. I am including both to show the transition that occurred. I wrote the first in at 18 and the second when I was 22 years old.
My 18 Year Old Self
I am trapped in myself.
Yearning to be set free,
captured by my own inner turmoil of self discovery.
My life moves outside the bubble
of inflicted learning, of self realism.
I cry to move.
Holding on just a moment longer.
Let go I say,
so I may be able to dance to a new me,
sing of the awakening,
think about tomorrow.
For it is then,
I shall be set free.
My 22 Year Old Self
I was once trapped in myself,
Now I am set free-
Free to my own self-discovery,
Enlightened to move into my own self realistic thought,
The word I read a couple days before my trip was Psalm 119:49-50 .
Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope. Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.
The word was a reminder of God’s promise to me, to all of us. I asked for God to take any burdens I was feeling , and surrendered it to his yoke. I instantly felt relief from any stress I had been feeling that morning as I drove to work. Then as I was signing praise and worship to his greatness, I heard God ask me for my next commitment as I am continuing on for the next 70 days of the 70 for 70 Project. As I finish the last two weeks of my maiden voyage I am to prepare myself for 70 days of Praise. I will press further still into the Lord. Asking how each day I can best show my praise to the Lord for all he has done. I am to show with actions.
Praise is more than words or songs, it is also in what you do. I am going to spend the last 14 days of my first commitment fasting in order to prepare for this next step. I am going to do a partial fast, breaking from all added sugars, processed foods, dairy, white flour foods, chemicals, and preservatives. I will eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa, nuts and seeds, legumes, healthy oils and fats, a variety of spices, and only drink water. Instead of looking at this as depriving myself of things I enjoy. Or having an attitude that I am punishing myself, which is how I sometimes feel on restrictive diets.
I am going to view this as a sacrifice for my Lord. If Jesus could sacrifice his life for my sins, then surely I can sacrifice sugar and sweets for preparation of 70 days of praise. Especially, eating my favorite foods of pizza and ice cream. I will also continue pushing further into my exercise commitment, which I will openly admit has not been as successful as I would have hoped.
A friend of mine once said that she uses yoga as a tool to build a better body. She teaches a christian yoga class in colorado. She described it as allowing God’s presence to embrace you through each stretch and pose. I am going to give this a whirl. I have found enjoyment in a good yoga class in the past, but did not always get into the whole yogi thing. Of course during my fast I will be doing a daily bible study. I will try to update you as I move along through it.
I feel like God is going to use this as a way to show me actions I can take over my 70 days of Praise. If I am building a temple for God, and the first 70 days I was clearing the foundation. I believe these next 70 days will be about pouring out the cement for the base of the temple. I want to build a strong temple on the rock and not on sand. I am planning to start my 14 day fast today June 5th and ending on the 70th day of June 18th. The funny thing about this is it was on December 18th of 2016 when God first asked me to commit to the 70 for 70 Project. It was 70 days before when God had asked me to wait for him to reveal a plan for me. I know his timing in all these small commitments are lining up perfectly. It makes me excited to start.
I recently went on vacation. I went to visit some friends back in Boston. A few of us went down to Cape Cod for the holiday weekend. I flew into Boston early Friday morning, met one of my friends to go get the rental car. Then we picked up another person who was going too.
We arrived to the hotel after three hours of sitting in traffic. If anyone reading this is from the Boston area, it gets crazy driving down to the Cape on Fridays throughout the summer. Especially during holiday weekends. We got some great food for dinner, spent some time exploring and shopping. I really enjoyed Falmouth, MA. One Saturday we woke up early and caught the morning ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard. The ferry ride itself was such a great experience. Then we had more great food, explored , and did some more shopping. I even rode the oldest carousel still in operation, and the whole time on the ride I just kept thinking how many people had ridden this thing in 141 years. I could even see in my imagination the weekend it first opened and what a thrill it must have been. The high button shoes, the bustled dresses, little boys in knickers, and little girls in bonnets, all dressed for a day at the beach. The year was 1876, so different from those riding with me in the year 2017. It gave me a grand sense of nostalgia, for the things of yesterday.
We finished up Saturday returning on the five o’clock ferry. We headed to the beach near the hotel, once we returned. We all had just had some ice cream before boarding the ferry so none of us were hungry yet. We all spent some time relaxing and enjoying the beauty of the sea. Then as the sun was setting we walked back to the hotel and went to grab some dinner. Later that evening I felt like I wanted to spend sometime alone. I ended up sitting on the patio near the pool for about an hour. The stars in the sky were too numerous to count. As I sat there alone, I put on some praise and worship music, singing to the wonder and glory of God’s beauty. My heart was filled with a sense that in that moment I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I was completely present. I had an intimate time of prayer and reflection with God. A moment of praise and gratitude for allowing me the time to come see my beloved friends. I could see God in everything around me. The stars got brighter, as I stared into the wonder.
Sunday morning we all got up and checked out early . One of my friends, who also was a former roommate, needed to be back at her church to lead morning prayer at 9:30am. I was actually grateful she needed to be at church because I really wanted to go back and see all the great people of my former church. I also had a lunch date with the family I had lived with for sometime when I was in Boston. They were such a blessing to take me in when I needed someone. I love them all so dearly. I became overwhelmed as I walked in and sat down. The praise team was already playing. I had a moment of tears as I realized how much I truly missed the church who became my family. The people who helped me to become stronger in my faith. Those who inspired me to press deeper into Jesus. During the sermon, like most sundays there, I felt like God was speaking directly to me.
When I first left Boston, I did not understand why God would lead me away from such a strong support group. I did not understand why I had to go back to my hometown in West Virginia. Back to a place I loathed, and never wanted to go back to. Yet, as I have shared before, I now understand how important is was for me to come home, and to face the things which are rooted to my past. I keep going back to the dream I had before I left Boston. The image of the willow tree being transformed from the roots up into a strong tall oak tree. At first, I thought this was just about me climbing, and Jesus telling me I no longer needed to climb. Now I know that I am like the willow tree. Although I was standing tall, if you think about the root structure of a weeping willow tree it grows closer to the surface. It is a water seeking tree, and the roots can spread far beyond the canopy. Disturbing the roots in the slightest way can damage the tree. However, when you compare it with the root structure of an oak tree there is a strong difference. The oak tree starts with a tap root, which grows deep underground seeking a dependable source of water. Once this is accomplished, the tap root is surpassed by an extensive root system which holds the tree firmly in place. I understand now how God has been transforming my roots daily, as I have been living here back at home. I am both trees. I am being transformed, by his grace.
When I returned back from Boston, I did receive notice that I did not get the position I had interviewed for the Thursday before I left. Although, it would have been nice to make more money, and it seemed like a great opportunity. I see how the point of the job interview was not to change companies nor my position, but God simply saying I can open any door. I whole heartily believe I am still exactly where I am supposed to be. I am not even disappointed about not getting the job offer. I know the promises God has laid out for my life are greater still. I believe in the hope of tomorrow, as I learn from yesterday, and live for today. God still has more roots to transform as I come close to the end of my first 70 day commitment.
I have even been shown what is next as I continue my 70 for 70 Project. Maybe even some of you will take up the challenge and join along.
Tonight I find myself frustrated. I am frustrated by the way my mother often changes her story about what she knows and remembers about the past. I am even more frustrated by the fact that the way I was told something for years often changes. The way I remember something in the past seems to never be correct, according to my mother. I also am frustrated with the my own need to argue the point. Then the argument keeps going on until one of us walks away. It is a habit I had learned well over the years, from both parents. The need to argue. I wish this pattern would no longer continue. Not only am I complaining about this now, but I know in the past my mother has also been frustrated with her own mother for the exact same reason. It seems like in this family we often remember things the way we want to remember them; even if parts are exaggerated or false.
As I dive deeper into this thought , I feel as if seeing a character trait in other people is easy. Recognizing it in yourself proves to be the challenge. As I journey through the 70 for 70 Project, God has increased the strength of my eyeglass prescription, so I am seeing things a lot clearer than before. I was talking to my friend a few days ago, and telling her how I feel God has brought me to this place. A place where all the painful roots of my past had formed and made me grow. Yet, he calls me to change one root at a time. If I allow him to help me change my roots, then I will become the oak tree full of all his splendor, bearing lots of fruit.
As I write now, I pray to my father to change this root. Allow me to no longer need to argue to the point of frustration. Instead I want to face this type of situation with grace and acceptance. Understanding everyone’s filter is different. Even when we enter into an experience at the exact same time. the facts may be the same, but our memories and interpretation are never the same. And this is OK. God made each of us unique, like snowflakes. Not a single snowflake is alike, but together they create a magical winter wonderland. Embracing these differences will help me to stop needing to argue over the memories of the past. I can see how in the next time I face conflict, I can allow his presence to fill the space. Then I will be reminded to embrace the grace of different filters.
This week has been pretty stressful at work. I am working as a corporate recruiter for a manufacturing company. I took the job three months ago. The position is a new role they are trying out, for the remainder of the year. Their goal is to save money from all the fees associated with using temp agencies for their hiring needs. They are hoping to achieve this by having an on site recruiter.
The biggest cause for my stress comes from getting push back on asking for the tools necessary to do my job. We are fast approaching a month were the hiring needs will exceed what we have been doing. However, without the approval for the tools needed for me to do my job the most effective way possible. I am afraid I won’t be able to meet the goals and quota for the next few months hiring needs as production picks up for the summer.
My fear is because I am on contract until the position is proven, they could change their mind about the position anytime. Reverting back to the old way they use to hire. I have been able make a decent amount of direct hires since I have been there, but it varies between four to ten people a week. Like I said, knowing the goals for the needs over the next few months, I know based on previous recruiting experience it will be impossible to achieve these goals with the number of applicants we are currently getting each week. It takes 10 applications on average for every one position available. We are behind by 25 positions as of this week. I have only seen 5 to 20 applications max during any given week. With the exception of two job fair events I organized. Even those two events saw an average of 30% hire rate.
I have been especially stressed this week after I found out the company has put a freeze on budget spending for now. I feel like I am not being set up for success, because the company has not been willing to spend the budget necessary for developing a new Talent Acquisition Department. This has been the source of my stress lately.
Yet, this brings me to today. I was praising and worshiping with my Lord today as I drove to work like I have been everyday since I started the 70 for 70 Project. I realized I had been holding onto my worries about my job, and the future of my position. So, I prayed to Jesus to take my burdens. I surrendered it all unto his hands. Not only did I feel so much lighter as I went into work today, but I had a reminder that God has my back.
First I had a great day at work, where I was able to set up a good amount of interviews for the remainder of the week. Then when I got home today and checked my email, I found an email from a recruiter about a new job opportunity in my area for a permanent recruiting role. I haven’t spoken to the recruiter about the job yet. And it may not even go anywhere beyond a simple email. I don’t feel like that’s the point. Instead, I feel like god was saying to me ” I got you girl! I got you!”.
He reminded me how he has a great plan for my life. I need not worry what the future holds, because he has control. I feel confident he will always be with me. He will always have my back, and open up new opportunities. Anytime one door closes he will open another, even if it’s a window. A window which reminds us how he can guide us if we let him. If we surrender to his will and not our own. If we say yes lord take our burdens, exchange our yoke for yours. For our burdens are heavy, while yours are light.