New Traditions

11/7/13
Again, another break up, the same man as last year, exactly the same date as the man the prior year…. Another heartbreak before the holidays…. Is it a curse? No, it’s God’s way of telling me I need to focus on Him, that He is my tradition, that He is my priority, my focus should be on Him and thankfully again, he has provided for me, not only with long lost relatives for Thanksgiving, and loving friends to be the balm to my heart that seems to always get broken this time of year who keep showing me true Godly love, friendship, and genuine caring, but that His love NEVER FAILS.  Human love appears to be temporary and conditional, where as He and He alone will always love and provide for me….. Thank you Abba Daddy for loving me so very much and blessing me with the perfect people at the perfect time, and for removing the ones that don’t belong in Your plans for me….Amen!

breathfromheaven

I grew up in a family of mismatched people and no traditional celebrations other than birthdays.  We were different from most families, but we were the “fun” family.  People always wanted to hang out with us at our house.  I suppose that could be considered a tradition in itself.  No matter where we lived, it was always a given that the place to hang out was at my house.

When I was young I longed to have the traditional family.  The gatherings, the long lost cousins coming to visit once a year on Thanksgiving or Christmas.  We didn’t have extended family.  There was no one to come.  I promised myself when I grew up and had my own family, I would ALWAYS have a traditional get together on the holidays, inviting many friends and family to feel the love I wanted to share.

Welcome to reality.  By the time I…

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New Traditions

I grew up in a family of mismatched people and no traditional celebrations other than birthdays.  We were different from most families, but we were the “fun” family.  People always wanted to hang out with us at our house.  I suppose that could be considered a tradition in itself.  No matter where we lived, it was always a given that the place to hang out was at my house.

When I was young I longed to have the traditional family.  The gatherings, the long lost cousins coming to visit once a year on Thanksgiving or Christmas.  We didn’t have extended family.  There was no one to come.  I promised myself when I grew up and had my own family, I would ALWAYS have a traditional get together on the holidays, inviting many friends and family to feel the love I wanted to share.

Welcome to reality.  By the time I was married and had a child, it was too late to start these traditions I wanted to share.  My mom had passed, my then husband’s family had their own celebrations in another state and were too old to travel, and basically, he never allowed me to invite people over.  I was forbidden to ever have a dinner party or gathering.  If I did, he would always find a way to ruin it, or make me “pay” in some verbal or mental way.  So, I avoided it, just to keep the peace.

Finally divorced the man that caused so much anguish for me for over 13 years.  I was finally free to start new traditions with my little girl.  But wait, she is only with me on even years as per the divorce.  So much for the traditional celebrations, again.

Imagine how excited I was when I fell in love just before Valentine’s day 2011.  I’d NEVER had a Valentine.  Then we celebrated 4th of July together.  Oh boy.  Next up, Thanksgiving.  Plans were made, time off from work scheduled.  Heart break 3 weeks before the turkey was to be cooked up and served with love and tradition in a mountain community surrounded by a family I had fallen in love with.  So, my friend lovingly invited me to her home, with her family in from California, to celebrate with them.  It was wonderful to be among the love and noise of this family.  However, it wasn’t mine.

How blessed I was to fall in love again just before Valentine’s day, 2012!  As we cautiously nurtured this relationship, we spent time together, Memorial day, a birthday, vacation time, even flew out of state for a concert.  I was hopeful for the start of a new tradition with my new love.  Possible Thanksgiving with him or he with us.  Life is so cruel sometimes.  Heartbreak again.  A month before the warm roasted turkey would be served with savory stuffing and warm pies from the oven.  Now it felt like I would just die, a nice bologny sandwich would suffice at this point.  Who needs tradition?  Not me.  I never had it, why start now?

Another loving invite from the same friend who took me in last year.  Then it dawned on me.  I do have a new tradition.  I have a friend who treats me better than my family ever did, than any man ever has, and that means a heck of a lot more than any heartbreak just before a holiday.

New  traditions?  Definitely.  May not have been the way I saw them in my “visions and fantasies”, but God knew exactly what he was doing when he gave me Angela Staples and her loving family as my earthly angels.  My traditions may not be a set table in my own home with my significant other and our children.  My traditions may not be with my blood kin.  Apparently, my traditions are just like they were when I was growing up.  Mine.  My traditions.  Eclectic.  Spur of the moment.  The place that love built.  In my heart my traditions will always be, and I will always and forever be grateful for loving friends that seem to always be there for me at the exact time I need them.

Funny isn’t it?  How God has TRADITIONally provided exactly what I need, at exactly the right time?

Beautiful Things…

Me God?  You make beautiful things out of the dust, yes, but ME?  Really?  I’m not beautiful.  I’ve done some things in my life that I am ashamed of, that make me feel dirty, undeserving and unworthy…. I’ve had things done to me that bring the same feelings.   I’m over weight, I have lost friends over silly disagreements, and I’ve lost loves…. I’m not beautiful according to that road map I described.  How do you begin to love someone like me, and call me beautiful?

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time…..”

Psalm 139:13-14   “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

Oh Lord how I need to hear these words, your unconditional love, the way you wash my sins away with your blood.  How I feel in your presence.  How I feel in the covering of your love.  BEAUTIFUL.

I present to the world a happy, go lucky girl with lots of smiles and giggles.  Easy to joke, poke fun, and be the life of the party.  I thought these things were signs of my true happiness.

Shocker alert:  These are not signs of my true self.  These are things I offer to the world to cover my pain.  My hurt.  My ugliness.  My shame.  My guilt.  I’ve hidden these things so well that I didn’t even recognize them as they came to the surface today.  Today, as I was broken, and turned inside out, unaware of the tears streaming down my face as I sunk my heart and soul into worship at the Women of Faith Conference in Ft Lauderdale.

I listened to women who had endured the same things as I and still were beautiful.  I laughed with these women who were in places so dark and circumstances so dire, like me, and yet they were each so beautiful.  I worshipped with women who had come to rock bottom, and climbed their way back, and still, they were beautiful.

Our Heavenly Father did that, he made each one of them into what he designed, in His time.  Beautiful from the time they were formed in the womb.  Beautiful.  Like me.

Did you Ask God?

In light of recent events, I had been a little distracted.  Forgot about a Calvary Chapel Night of Worship scheduled for this evening.  Thrilled at the prospect of going, I texted a couple friends, grabbed my daughter, and we ran to the church.  In my mind, I was going to get a lot of healing tonight.  Feel God so close to me again, feel loved again.  Worship is my drug.  I would give up anything to be able to worship and praise all the time.  God would take the hurt away, I’d not feel unloved anymore, and I could go on with my life.

Let’s back up a few days.  This was not my weekend to have my daughter.  A few days ago I was only going to have her on Saturday for a Girl Scout function.  Then last night I decided it would be a good idea to switch weekends with her dad, so I made the call and thankfully, he agreed.

First will of God.  Have me so broken that I would NEED to go to Night of Worship, even though I had been sick the last few days.  Second will of God.  That I would actually have custody of Katie to take her to the Night of Worship.  Here we have 2 God-oh-inces (stolen from Pastor Bob Coy)….. I have Katie “all of a sudden”, and I remarkably just “remembered” that there was a night of worship at the church on this very day.  Hmmmmmmmm.  Just so happened?  I think not.

So excited.  It’s my daughter and I, meeting a friend and daughter.  As I sit in the sanctuary, my eyes are already filling with tears as I wait for the Holy Spirit to take me to that place I long to be 24/7.  My friend comes over, there are 4 front row seats saved, just for us.  I have NEVER been able to sit front row.  It’s not allowed when the choir sings, and being in the choir usually meant we had to sit at least 10 rows back or to the sides.  Since the choir was “off” for this night of worship, that rule did not apply.  Let’s check this again.  Have my daughter last minute.  Remember night of worship, last minute.  Texted friend, last minute.  Friend finds 4 front row seats, last minute.

Just as we sit down to wait, the worship community takes the stage, the sanctuary erupts with applause and we all jump to our feet in anticipation.  Oh, this is what I needed.  This is what I’m here for, the touch of Jesus to make things all right again.

The first songs are amazing, calling the Holy Spirit into our house…… the smell was amazing, so fresh, so pure, the spirit was everywhere, soaking up everything, anointing the worshippers.  Hugging us.  Hugging me.

Pastor Clay titled tonight “Did you Ask Him”.  Talked about asking God before doing things on your own.  Ok, now he’s talking to me.  Did I ask God about what tonight was about?  No.  I only “assumed” this night was going to be all about me getting my “fix”.  Jesus is laughing at me I’m sure….. He had a big surprise waiting for me….

Pastor Clay gets to the part where he asks people to give their lives to Jesus.  He’s really pulling on heartstrings and I’m wishing I could be born again, again.  Then I hear this sweet, most magical sound I have ever heard before.

My darling little girl, 11 years old, looks up at me with those big beautiful green eyes, and asks me if she could go up.  I looked at her with my heart in my mouth, telling myself to stay calm, lets make sure I’m hearing this correctly.  I asked her if she knew what that meant, by going forward.  She answered yes, and shook her head up and down.  She looked a little nervous.  I told her to go on… she was scared.  I offered to go up with her, she took my hand and led me the 3 or four steps to the stage.  I look over and my friend is standing there with her daughter as well.  The tears start rolling down both our cheeks.  I stand behind my daughter, holding her, touching her shoulders, letting her know I’m with her, and I am silently saying my thank you’s to Jesus, silently giving him back the daughter he so graciously lent to me to protect and nurture while she’s on this earth.  Wow.  Sharing that moment with Jesus has got to be the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced.  In that moment I knew that it was Katie’s night to be there.  This was the moment she would have ever lasting life, her name is now in the Lamb’s book, and will rejoice in heaven and praise Jesus forever.  Just sit back and think about that.  At that moment, nothing else mattered.  NOTHING was more important than my precious child receiving her Savior by choice.  Did I ask for this from God?  Oh yes, I did, many many times, and for many many years.  Since the day she was born.  I knew it would come.  I am so thrilled it did.

We talked on the way home about what this means, how she is now filled with the holy spirit, what that entails, what steps we do to make sure she stays on the right track.  I mentioned getting water baptized.  Dunked in the ocean.  The eagerness on that little girl’s face was like Christmas morning and seeing the presents under the tree for the first time.

Yes.  I asked God.  And he provided.  Praise the Lord.