Facing, Chasing and Embracing the Inevitable part 1

8070759598_f4cd070694_b  Do you remember yourself, as a child, falling purposely into the freshly raked pile of leaves in your front yard? Your fall forcing the air to move, just enough, sending a light breeze to consider the leaves. In the stretch between your fall and landing, time is generous, sparing seconds for the breeze to clear the leaves from under you. Laying there in the grass, surrounded by all the leaves bouncing in the wind, you are taken away by the ambiance of natures beauty, even if it is for just a short moment. I wonder if time scared us then as much as it does now. I can’t recall ever really stressing over the notion of time. Not then anyway. I knew when the street lights came on, it was time to go in. I knew when the smell of my mom’s tasteful cooking made it to my bedroom from the kitchen it meant it was time for dinner. I knew when the sound of the evening bell rang, it meant school was out. Time was just there, like it always had been. As long as time was present, that meant I was too. So, although I don’t remember all my fears of childhood, it would make sense for me to assume time was not one of them.

large Time is inevitable, that has never changed, neither has the wind or the pattern of seasons. We can not rewind it, pause it, or make it move any faster ahead. Just as winter turns into spring, spring into summer, and summer into fall- we too enter into new seasons in our own lives.  Not when we choose too, but as they come.

The season that holds my greatest memories is the one that gave me my childhood.  It is the season that came and went too fast.  A minute was sixty seconds, an hour sixty minutes, a day twenty-four hours, no different than any season that has come and gone since then however, everything is different.  At that time, in that season, the seconds and minutes and hours and days were on my side.  With each season that passes, the less I find time on my side. What good is the memory if it just continues fading away from me as more seasons intervene in the time that separates us.

When my memories started becoming a bit blurry, bringing me to believe time would, “in time”, send my memories into oblivion, that is when my fear of time began.

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Time is the wind and we are the leaves. Holding on tight to our branches, we hope our stems are strong enough to withstand the wind, even if for just one last time.  (We hoped for “one last time” the last time– and all the last times that came before that.) We just continue to convince ourselves over and over again, that the next time the wind came we’d be ready.

                                                             THE TRUTH: We will probably never be ready                                       

     Maybe we know the truth.        Maybe what we want is to hide from it for as long as we can.

The windows in my bedroom used to be dressed in these beautiful, purple, sheer curtains that I fell in love with at Big Lots. They matched perfectly with my bedspreads. (Literally, so perfect, I’d lose them for a second if I placed them, wrinkle free,on my bed.) Any who, I bought them, and they hung there with no purpose other than for show. They were sheer, so I was able to see the whole world out my window.  On the flip side, the world was able to see my little world right through my window as well. Long story short, that didn’t last for long. Have you ever just sort of not been in the mood for anything.?You don’t want to entertain company nor do you want to be someone else’s company waiting to be entertained.  If you can relate you will understand why I pitched those curtains for new ones.  These were black out curtains, keeping my room in complete darkness even as the day entered into the light.

 But how long can a dark room really convince you that time is not still proceeding beyond its wall? 

The leaves can not hold on to the branches forever.  Soon enough a season will come bringing with it the weather that forces the leaves to become weak. And during that season the leaves will begin to fall from their branches.

HOWEVER…

As each leaf falls it is given two choices. Does it remain fearful of the wind? If so, it continues falling until it lands in the pile of leaves, beneath the tree, all of which fear the same.  The journey ends there’s. The other choice is to let go of that fear, just like it had let go of the branch.  If chosen, its journey wouldn’t end there.  In fact it’s journey would just begin as wind sends it twirling through the sky, into a whole new world.

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The canvas has been painted.  The one thing that can’t seem to part from my mind, as I imagine the words coming alive on the canvas, is the image of countless leaves falling to the ground. As I remove the metaphor, it’s no longer leaves I’m faced to imagine, its people, Real people, just like you and I.

The branches are the people, places and/or things that keep you from experiencing life.  I can’t even began to try naming all the branches through out my life that kept me from chasing the wind.  And what was once hard to accept, that I have now gained the wisdom to understand, is the realization that it was me that held myself back. Sure the branches were deceiving, but it was I that allowed myself to be controlled by anyone or anything other than myself.

Why do we fear time, the wind, a new season – the inevitable?   It’s natural for anyone to avoid facing whatever it is they fear.  Someone who fears the dark, may wire their home with sensory lights, preventing a single step they take from walking into darkness.  Someone who fears heights will opt from flying and take a car, even if the drive is two days long, as long as it means they get to remain on the ground.   In a sense it’s pointless to fear that of which we have no choice but to face. When you put that way it makes you think twice about why we even fear time.

Why be the leaf that buries itself in the dirt, when you can be the leaf that chases the wind? Whether we want to accept the passing of time or not, it’s still happening.  Every second that passes by we are closer to the next season that is approaching.  Once that comes, the season we are in now is over.  The leaf that chases the wind may not always travel gracefully. It might go through rain, snow, and thunder along the way.  But is that not a sacrifice worth making in order to appreciate the blue skies, the rainbows, the sunrises and all the other wonders the world offers to those who choose to look up and embrace them.  The leaf that chooses the dirt still endures the rain, the snow and the thunder, however, it dwells in the aftermath that impacts the ground they choose to lay upon rather than facing the world which continues on in time with or without it.

So which will it be? Will you be like the leaf who chases the wind? Or will you be like the leaf that settles on the ground only to be buried under the aftermath of life’s storm?  The choice is ours; time goes on either way.

From my heart to yours, BRI

Live a life you are proud of… even if it means starting over

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What was once a prayer, was now my reality.

I’ll never forget the way my reflection smiled back at me – a smile that spoke a thousand words.  Every morning I woke up proud of who I was.  Up until then I was never sure of anything.  My hopes were only dreams, far from my reach.  The steps I took forward only ever left me with more space to fall back into.  I was a roller-coaster of emotions traveling along tracks of confusion. But the ride finally stopped and I was set free of its bars.  Life was as beautiful as I had dreamed it to be- the opportunities endless.  Goals I had set long ago, were no longer goals, they were accomplishments.

I moved into my first home, finally out of my parents, by myself.  I was offered a job, a street over from my home, making more money than I had at any previous job.  I was living the life I once desperately longed for. I found my way out the darkness, however, I could not have done it alone.

I was proud of myself, but even more so I was proud of the life I’d chosen to live. 

I chose to live a life no longer for myself, but for Christ.  As I trusted in Him, His promises became evident in my life.  Those who have yet to embrace the power that comes when standing still in God’s presence, can not possibly comprehend the freedom that awaited me there- that awaits everyone.  Choosing His will over mine was a choice that saved my life.

For years depression controlled my every emotion.  When I brought that burden to the cross my chains were broken and peace consumed me.  No longer controlled by the world, I began to live a life filled with purpose. No doctor or medicine had ever been able to heal me the way Jesus had, restoring every part of my being.

When God blesses you, he does so abundantly. 

My life continued moving forward taking me into a new season.  My greatest blessing was my new leadership position at the church I attend. I was just beginning to lead my church’s first young adult life group. Years ago God had placed on my heart a vision to began an outreach geared towards young adults. When the pastors of my church sat me down to discuss an opportunity at leading a new life group, I knew right away this could be the beginning of a new season in my life. I finally found myself getting closer to fulfilling the calling I knew God had placed over my life. The life group I began to lead offered me a great foundation to began my ministry.

He wasn’t done yet!

I faithfully prayed for the man God would one day present to me as my husband. I prayed that He would prepare him for me and I for him. With all my heart I believe He was working hard at delivering that prayer to me. Scott was a new comer to my life group and as his leader is was a blessing to watch him grow stronger in his faith each and every day. I can remember the first time Scott led the agenda for life group. He passionately studied what he would be sharing with the group and it showed in his deliverance. He came so prepared and ready, anyone who didn’t know Scott would have never believed it was his first time leading the agenda. I was excited for him and as I continued to pour into him I soon found myself being encouraged by him as well.From there a friendship began and before we knew it feeling we never expected started developing between us. Before entering a relationship I prayed for guidance and I also expressed to Scott my desire to uphold a Godly relationship. Though he had never attempted a relationship with such boundaries he was sure it was what he wanted aware of the difficulties he would face.

When walking the fence, you always fall- ALWAYS!

I guess I became so comfortable with how great life had been for me, I forgot the very One who brought me there.  I began spending less time with God and more time worrying about myself. I could tell something was changing in me.  I was becoming bitter, angry and I was sad all the time. It wasn’t until I was feeling myself falling back, that I had finally decided to reach out to God. I was half in and half out, and it just didn’t work that way.

How did I get here?

It has been a year since then. Seven months ago I held my last life group meeting. Six months ago I lost my job. Five months ago I lost my home. Four months ago my husband lost his job and our only vehicle. Three months ago I married my husband. We spent our first night married in our room at my mothers house, the home we currently live in. Laying it out in a timeline makes it appear more real than it already feels living it. Its crazy how much can change in just six months. Reflecting over each fall makes rock bottom appear much clearer.

I didn’t only fail myself and God, but I also failed Scott. Scott was drawn to me because of the love I held for God and the joy I expressed for this life we have been blessed with. It was my passion for God that connected us and it has been my disobedience to God that has began to separate us.

I was no longer proud of the life I was living…

With the strength that came from God alone I chose to start over…

The one truth I can thankfully hold on to is the hope we have in Jesus Christ. For as his word reads in Romans 3 “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by the grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ”. That scripture delivers to us the message of the sweet and gracious gift of forgiveness we receive all due to the blood Jesus shed when He gave His life for us on the cross. Like one of my favorite worship songs express “I’ll never know how much it costs to see my sins upon that cross” I will never grasp the pain Jesus went through to forgive me of all my sins. I’ll never understand why He continues to fight for me, cry for me, and rescue me from my own self. I’ll never comprehend the immeasurable notion of His love for me. However, one thing I’ll never be able to erase is the sound of His voice crying out for me to return back into His arms. No matter how far I run away, His arms are the one place I never forget my way back to.

The precious gift of forgiveness 

I owe it to myself to finally open my eyes to what I have led myself into. I also owe it to myself to find forgiveness not only for the destruction I’ve caused my relationship but the destruction I have caused myself. I am a child of God. I am a precious jewel. His daughter. I am one who holds purpose is His eyes. I owe it to God and to myself to fulfill that purpose.

Lastly I desperately feel the need to express my heart to my husband. When I met you my heart burned with passion for Christ. I showed you that life holds a precious joy that no one can take away from you. My joy was contagious and my liveliness awoken you from a low place. I helped you to see the bright side of life. You fell in love with my heart. Why? Because my heart was overtaken my the love of Christ. My passion to be a better person made you want to be a better person. My kind heart gave you hope in a life greater than you had faith in. My heart helped you to see God in a way you hadn’t before.

I failed you. I allowed my fire to burn out. I left behind my joy for anger. I allowed my flesh to overcome me and I took you down with me. We you needed me to be strong, I bled with weakness. When you needed positive words, I flooded our lives with negativity. When you were not yet ready to take the lead I didn’t continue to move forward.

I’m sorry for blaming you. I’m sorry for becoming an angry person. I’m sorry for giving up rather than leaning on God for his strength. I let you down, but I’m not going to do that anymore.

Not because of who I am alone, but because of who I am with Christ, I promise to give you back the woman you fell in love with. I always tell you I don’t why i deal with you. The truth is I don’t know how you have dealt with me. I want to be your partner. I want to once again demonstrate the example of Christ everyday. No matter what it takes, I promise one day you will look at me again and fall in love all over again with the girl you once was inspired by. I love you. Thank you for never giving up on me.

I trust that God is good. I trust His perfect will. I trust in the restoration He will bring to me as I began starting over in becoming proud of the life I live! 

BRI