Unwanted Soul…

There’s something incrediblely fascinating to me about feeling alone…

I think it’s the reality that sometimes our experiences cause us to feel separated from others… Like we don’t belong because life happened and now we feel less than unwanted and undesirable…

Like we have to put up a shield of protection every time we enter a room… Because, if people see how alone we feel, well we’ll be judged and marked as a flawed person…

So, rather than show people how alone we feel, we do things to cover that pain… We turn to things that cause death and destruction in our lives… And those substances, they produce more darkness, more pain and more trouble for us…

For years I turned to food… Because food gave me a sense of being wanted… I felt comforted to a degree…
And I thought once I began to eat healthy and exercise some of this feeling of being alone would fall away… That I would lose weight, become more attractive and then the sense of feeling alone would leave…

But it didn’t…

It only got worse…

And from that spiraled the addiction I had to sugar… And that addiction made me feel out of control… Out of sorts… Even more flawed, undesirable and unwanted…

And the aloneness I felt increased and multiplied…

I was driving myself, my family and close friends crazy… Because I constantly obsessed about not being able to conquer this addiction to sugar…

Of course I left out the feelings I had of being alone… It was unimportant to share all of that in detail…

I mean, who really wants to say, “I feel alone! I constantly feel alone and unwanted at my core… and it’s killing me!!!”

But that’s how I felt… That’s how I felt for years…

And the truth is, it’s no ones fault… It’s not my parents, grandparents, friends or sisters fault…

No one is to blame…

We live in a flawed world…

Seeking acceptance, that I believe, can only truly come from one source…

And I’ve said it before, but I believed that souce is Father God… He is the only source I can go to and feel whole and complete…

And, when I spend enough time in His presence… I can then live my day with a loved, wanted and accepted feeling…

Because the inside of me no longer feels the need to be intangibly loved by my family, friends and peers…

The love I am receiving goes beyond what they can provide for my soul… And so I feel good… I no longer need an addiction to cause me to “feel” better… I just need the love flowing from His heart, and His heart alone…

So if you’re going through a hard time… If you feel alone, unwanted, undesirable and out of control with an addiction… Please be encouraged to know, Father God and His love are the power that will bring you out and away from what you’re experiencing…

Because everything else, our relationships with people, our things, what we do, say and think… To me they are a facade… Seeming to make us feel loved, accepted and wanted… But intangibly, in the depth of our soul, never actually giving us what we truly need… Which is just basic love from and connection to Father God…

Quality of Life…

The day after my grandmother died, a comment was made to my sister… “Well, you know Bridget, it’s really about the quality of life”…

If you knew my grandmother’s story, you know that she was healed 41 years ago in August… But before that day, her quality of life wasn’t that great… In a body cast and neck brace for 19 ½ years, she just wanted to die… Simple… Right?…

But that night, well her quality of life, it increased…

Because she was given a completely restored body…

Some say, her healing was the greatest healing of the 20th century…. And I don’t disagree…

But aside from her physical healing was what she intangibly gained that night…

To me… Physical healing is kind of a smoke and mirrors show… Like God’s way of getting our attention… So that then we can learn what’s truly invaluable and important…

So, she spent her life focused on the Holy Spirit… Focused on how His influence and individual, intimate relationship in each of our lives brings on a greater quality of life… And how, because of the grace of God through Jesus, well we can all gain that relationship… We can all walk with Him on a day-to-day basis…

I believe, so often, we are drawn to God because of a message on eternity, Heaven, life after death…

But what about life on earth?…

My grandmother lived for 89 years…

Was she healthy?… Was she whole?… What does that even mean?…

To me, to me it means that our spirit, soul and body are in health… Of course we aren’t going to be perfect… No one is… But we can keep them balanced…

So, do we have a relationship with Father God?… What about the Holy Spirit?… And do we know who’s blood is responsible for our ability to have these relationships so freely?…

And what about an identity?… Before this year, well my identity was founded in people, places, things, ministries, organizations… Things that can and have failed me… Things that are fragile, here one moment and gone the next…

So, are we firmly rooted in the things of God, so that when tragedy hits we will not be shaken or moved?…

And what about our thought lives?… Our emotions?… Do we try to stay positive under pressure?… Or do we crack and become a sea of emotion?…

And then there’s our physical body… The vehicle or vessel we live in?… How do we treat it?… Do we eat really unhealthy?… Or do we fill it with things that encourage our spirit and soul to perform better?…

I say all of this because to me… To me, this is life in a nutshell… Because health, spirit, soul and body, is the foundation of life… So that we can pursue what God has given us to it’s very fullest…

And it’s not always easy… Sometimes life happens and we get bitter and angry… Sometimes we think about things that we shouldn’t… Sometimes we eat the whole bag of cookies…

But the reality is, I believe, God is about our quality of life… And that He sent Jesus so that we could have that quality of life… And then He sent the Holy Spirit to help us maintain the quality, and then increase life beyond our wildest dreams…

Of course it doesn’t happen over night… It takes time and effort… Because… Well… Life is a journey… A process… A continual climbing of mountains and walks through valleys, with a lot of highs and lows…

But… The good news is, we all have the capability to cultivate the best quality of life possible…

Loving My Body…

Just recently I had a conversation with a friend about health and fitness…

Knowing the journey I’ve been on in life with my weight, image and overall approach to health, she asked if I had “gained a better understanding” of what it means to gain our confidence from within…

I thought about it for a moment… And then realized something…

Honestly, it’s taken me time to respect my inner beauty over my outer beauty…

I definitely feel more confident when clothes fit me well, but the place I was in 3 years ago was scary… I let outer beauty and its importance take me over… It became such a form of control in my life…

But then… Living and working out here in Cali taught me so much about myself…

And I think just being in an environment everyday where I didn’t feel judged by anyone for the way I looked definitely helped… Kimora was a supermodel, but she never looked down on me for the way I did or did not look… She really just helped me accept myself… And I’m still not sure how…

And the kids too… They didn’t love me for the way I looked… They loved me for being myself and giving them what they needed, 120% of the time…

But… I think more than anything, just accepting myself helped has cured me…

Accepting who I am internally has caused me to love who I am externally… I will never ever be super tiny… I’m taller and bigger boned than what Ive been taught I should be… And my chest I broader, which I’ve always disliked…. And I don’t have huge boobs, which I’ve also disliked before…

Plus, I hated all of the stretch marks and extra skin left on my body from weighing so much for so many years…

But the truth is, no one sees any of this but me… And if people care, then they aren’t looking at my heart… They see surface things…

This is my body…  It’s my story… I live my life in it everyday and it deserves to be appreciated as much as my spirit and soul do…

Plus, I’m going to live every single day in this frame for the rest of my life, so I have to continue to learn to love it…

And… As silly as it may sound… I recently started speaking and sending more positive thoughts to the parts of my body I still struggle loving, and it’s helping SO much!..

God

2015/01/img_2324.jpgOver the years my relationship with God has changed… It’s evolved so very much…

When I was a kid… Well he was the one all the adults around me talked about… The one I’d hear it was important to have a relationship with… And my grandmother taught me so much about the Spirit of God and how he was the one I should cultivate a very personal and intimate relationship with…

As I grew up… Well God became more of something instead of a someone… I learned more and more about him through people than for myself… At school, in church, at Bible Studies… It was my responsibility to have a relationship I knew… But everyone kept telling me what theirs was like so I watched as listen… Never truly trying to cultivate a relationship with him… Because I thought I knew… I thought I had all the answers…

Then when I turned 17 I began to hear the voice of God for the first time… And I realized how prideful I was in thinking I had so many answers… That I knew the personality of God, when all I truly knew was based on other experiences….

So I started cultivating my own relationship with him… Unfortunately I will still listening to those around me too much… It was still more about what I thought I knew versus what was real…

So not until I turned 21 did I truly begin to cultivate a relationship with him… And for the next 4-5 years I would stay on this amazing journey… Learning about God in ways of never thought about him before… And he’d speak to me and tell me things in the realist way I knew…

And I enjoyed that relationship so much… I learned for myself that I strongly disliked the church for what it had taught me about God… And that I strongly disliked the school I grew up in for the same reasons… And then I found myself strongly disliking my grandmother and her ministry too…

Of course I’ve had to come full-circle with all of it… Realizing that I was gaining something of my own… Not something that was someone else’s… Not something that was borrowed and then passed out and expected to be believed by everyone… But a relationship that truly belonged to me…

And then came the time that I realized that I wanted to study Jewish teachings and learn more principles about the way God designed the earth… And those things were and still are cool and so real to me…

And as I did that my relationship with him changed even more because I grew more annoyed by what I was being told versus what I knew God was directly saying to me…

In a way I can compare my relationship with God like the one I experience at work… I feel like God’s a celebrity… He’s printed about in the tabloids and everyone thinks they know him and who he is and what he stands for and does… But those that truly know him… The ones that talk to him on a daily basis like I do with my boss… Well they know for a fact that God is who they experience on a moment by moment basis…

So now… Now I’ve come this far… And being out here in Cali… Well I’m disconnected from the religion I was raised in… Meaning… I’m alone… And nothing is really familiar… So I’ve tried to connect myself to what I knew… To jump into a church… Something familiar…

And you know what I’ve learned… Well I’ve learned that my relationship with God is changing… It’s still not what I hear the preacher preach about… And honestly I still find myself annoyed with church as a whole…

I don’t read my Bible… I haven’t read my Bible in years… I don’t find anything really intriguing and interesting… Maybe it’s because of the years it was crammed down my throat through a Christian upbringing, Christian school and the Bible college…

It’s just not for me…

But you know where I do find God?… Where I feel like our relationship is at its realist?… Where I am at my realist right now?…

It’s in my drive to work… Or my drive anywhere for that matter… Of course I can always talk to him… But my relationship with him has changed because I’ve changed… I’ve changed through what I see… And what I see on a daily basis is so spectacular… The mountains… The hills… The trees… The sunsets… The 24/7 greenery…. The colors of a flower blooming year round…

God stopped becoming what’s in a book and what other people were telling me… He stopped becoming what he told me he was and what I assumed he’d always be… He became something more when he showed me the simplicity of his creation… When he opened an opportunity for me to move to Cali and stand in awe of his creation… Well that’s when it got real…

And even more than that… It became so much more real when I got this job and became a kind of mother to three kids… Because I’ve learned so many principles from them… And I stand in awe of the way love can overpower anger, hate and jealousy in a child and home… As long as I stay patient and willing…

So too me… Right now… Within my relationship with God… Well, I thought it was real before… But as I continue to live… Well I realized it’s so much more… And it’s truly alive now… More than ever before…

Because it’s no longer him talking to me while I sit behind a computer and piece information together… It’s no longer laying in bed at night and talking to him… It’s no longer the long walks to class I used to have in college… And it’s definitely not what everyone else is saying…

Because for the first time it’s a realness through what I see… And through what I experience through helping children learn and grow… It’s so real… It’s so much God that God isn’t even mentioned within it… I just know he’s there and I thank him for it…

And if being in awe is what this relationship is right now… If it’s what’s keeping me full on a constant basis… Well then I’m ok with that… Because I honestly don’t want to read another scripture or hear another message… I’m ok with just where I am…

And the best part is… It’s mine… It’s my relationship… Based on where I am in life… Standing in awe constantly… And I’m so ok with that…

Do Not Resuscitate

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I find myself questioning a lot right now…. In my own mind and with mom… Actually my conversation with mom sparked these thoughts..

We were discussing how awful it must be for Joan Rivers family… To have to make a decision like taking someone off of life support…. to hold the keys to life and death in your hands…. how awful would that be?

I think it would be so hard…. and I’m so thankful for the decision dad made…. to have “do not resuscitate”….

Thinking about it all right now…. well it kind of seems like a blur…. Did it all really happen? Did we really live through the tragic death of my father? The tragic discovery and quick downfall of a man in his early 50s with stage 4 cancer? Did that really happen, or am I dreaming?

I wish I was dreaming…. I really do…

Looking back now…. well, I realize that I may have lived through one of the most difficult and challenging times of my life… I still can’t believe it all happened and so very fast…. my mind is still swarming….

But this “do not resuscitate” thing has me thinking…. wondering and curious over the decision itself…

Dad said he made the decision based on a conversation he had with my grandmother…. that she has or wants the same…. Ironically when she coded 3 years ago they brought her back to life…. but that’s a different story and thought line…

Right now I’m focused on his decision because it seems like the one that is affecting me and my world the most….. the choice to well continue on with death if his heart stopped….

He said he choose this because why keep him here if that’s his time? Why allow man to bring him back to life with machines if God was ready for him to be in eternity? And I can see that perspective… that point of view…. but then I see it from the other perspective…

Isn’t modern medicine a modern day miracle? And if so, doesn’t that justify bringing someone back to life? Shocking their heart back into reality so they can breathe more and experience more time on this earth?

But if not, do we have a right where God is concerned to mess with the life of someone? Have several people lived that should’ve been dead? And, is it important to persevere life because we want someone here? Someone we love dearly close to us?

So many questions like this swarm my mind…. and honestly, I still can’t get over the fact that I watched my dad die…. that he took his last few breathes in front of the five of us…. it just seems so surreal and unreal…. like it didn’t really happen because it’s something you see in a movie….

Why? Why did this have to happen? Why am I stuck in a position of encouraging my sister that someone will come along and believe in her the way dad did? Why do I have to hear my mom cry when talking about how sad and depressed she is when she sees couples together… especially old couples? Why do I have to hear and think about that she’ll never get to grow old with dad? And why do I have to call my grandmother and know that she’s not alright…. that she’s down because it’s opening Sunday for the NFL and all she wants is dad there to watch the Saints and Cowboys games?

All of this seems so unfair…. so ridiculously unfair and not right…. But I know deep down in my heart that it’s part of life…. that it’s part of the consequence of the world we live in…. that no matter how much I could’ve helped… well I couldn’t have helped…

Because at the end of the day we make choices…. in a way I believe we kind of help choose where our lives take us…. and as much as it sucks to know that dad’s ended this way…. that all of our choices helped him get here… and that he’s never returning… well I have to live with that….

But I wish that I could bring him back…. that I didn’t have to text his phone and hope deep down that he’s receiving the message somehow…. I know life here is petty… not too important… but I believe he still cares 100%….

And I think all of this is teaching me a lesson in this very moment…. to love…. to live and to love deeply… and find someone and something that you are crazy passionate about…. that it’s enough to love from far away….

I feel like he’s so far away right now…. but the idea of dad’s love for all of us and his passion for building… well it makes him feel very close…. like he’s here right now…. even though he never will be again….

Shouldn’t we all love though? Find someone or something to love deep enough that only time can separate us until we are all together again? And if so, doesn’t that make the idea of death a little better? To know someone out there…. other than God… is extending their love… their hope.. their belief… and their presence to us…. and that one day when we aren’t able to be resuscitated anymore either… well… it will make the situation that much greater because we’ll be together again?

It’s Just a Body

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Why is it that we care so much about the physical….. our bodies and what we can see and touch?

I’ve asked myself this question before…. and here I am with it again.

Since experiencing death, I’ve learned that the body really is just a shell… our vehicle here on planet Earth. It’s what disguises and protects what’s most important and vital in this life…. the soul.

I still can’t get this picture out of my mind that surrounds my dad laying in a hospital bed with breathe and then laying in a hospital bed without breathe…. The morning of his death, he had conversation and expressions of love within him… And then that evening I watched his life actually leave his body. And then I was left with only a body… a skeleton made from dust, covered in well… meat.

Yes it looked like dad, but everything that was dad was gone…. his voice, his laugh, his humor, his thoughts and most importantly his love and soul. Those things that I valued so deeply within me were no longer part of life, but only part of my memory…. and it just all seems so strange.

It’s strange how something as simple, but as complex as breathing keeps us connected to this earth… this place called life. And it’s pretty impressive and completely annoying that we choose to care so much about the physical…. this body that’s left behind, thrown in the ground, covered with dirt…. only to become dust again.

Because in the grand scheme of things, this body is so temporary… it doesn’t last long. It’s not made to last long at all. It’s made to age and evolve into something else… to be regenerated into something greater than it was before.

Maybe the bodies greatest purpose is housing the soul. All of this matter comes together so that we can live and love for a little while… and then it just becomes the dust that we walk on…. But what if it’s greatest purpose lies in the dust we walk on, and the amount of lives that cross it?

And the answer is most likely insignificant to me and my life here on Earth…. I don’t need to know these things because, what good will they do for me in life? But honestly, I did find it incredibly fascinating and in a strange way entertaining to watch life leave the body of a human being.

I know it was shocking…. and I know it was painful… but it was also so intriguing and life altering.

I’ve said it several times…. that I don’t know what to do with the moment. I don’t know where to file it because I was feeling so much. As a daughter, it was awful and painful and just so raw and real. But as an onlooker and studier of life… it was kind of cool, interesting and amazing (I am the kid that willingly wanted to study cadavers in high school).

And… a long with the shock I was feeling… I was also feeling aw… Aw and continuous wonder of how incredible God must be to place something so valuable and rare into dust and then have other souls care so much about it…. that when it finally shows the last signs of physical life…. well everyone is completely stunned.

The five of us standing in the room were begging him to keep breathing… to stay alive and take more breathes… we were all begging his soul to stay with us just a little longer and live inside of a dirty, grimy, unhealthy and unsanitary home called the body.

I mean when I really think it through…. I’m sure the soul is pissed to have to live in such conditions. To be taken away from aw and greatness to come here where time is and be a part of this thing called life. And then we decide with our truly remarkable minds to downgrade the value of our lives and trash out our bodies to the best of our abilities.

But at the same time we are encouraged to make something of life… to live and develop this thing called the soul. To increase it’s value and really do remarkable things with it so that generations after us will experience a greater life…. filled with increasing love, joy and happiness.

Ironically I don’t really see the souls of today striving to leave this world a better place. We are too focused on greed, pride, control and overall unkindness… which shows our lack of confidence and security. So… most that think they are doing what they should be doing to fit the status quo should really step back and question: What am I doing? What should I be leaving behind? And why is it important to get married and have kids in the first place?

And I’m not saying that I don’t try and fit in with societies norms. I spend too much time in my own head… worried about things that will be gone in a matter of years.

It would be so nice if I could just step back, value what I have… I mean what’s genuinely important and then choose to live.

And… I guess in a way, I have everything I need to value my soul and mind and this thing called life. Because experiencing the death of my father was more than just an experience. As of now, I think it will go down as the most life altering moment of my life. Now I just need to make something great of it that I can carry with me forever.

Because at the end of the day…. well the soul does have forever.