Revealings of a road trip . . .

Middle of Nowhere

When Google maps tells you: “You’ve arrived at your destination.” but you’re on a country road, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by paddocks.  Only to learn that you actually drove through the ‘town centre’ a few minutes earlier, it just wasn’t what you expected, so you didn’t recognise it.

Sometimes we arrive at a destination that isn’t what we expected.
But it’s not always about the place we find ourselves in.
Sometimes it’s about the space we create,
in that place we find ourselves in.

I found a rustic looking cafe, with an unusual name.
But it was loud and noisy, pizza’s and burgers, not a cosy, quiet cafe.
Not the atmosphere I was looking for, but I was hungry for food.
So I looked at the menu, not taking a seat, while asessing my mood.
Brekky looked good, but without a suitable drink it wasn’t for me.
This lil town had less than I thought, but where else could I eat?
Am I asking too much, should I just settle for this?

Sometimes we settle for less than we want.
Sometimes we settle cos we’re scared.
Scared of not finding that which we hope for.
Scared of not seeing the right door.

Making the choice not to settle, I left and walked to the end of the road.  I was standing at the crossroad, wondering which way I should go,  when I remembered the ‘Folk Alley Cafe’ up on the hill.  I had seen it on my way back from the ‘middle of nowhere’ after Google maps had over shot my location.

Sometimes we don’t ‘see’ any other options,
until first we say “No!”
to the ones that we already know are not quite right for us.
AND
Sometimes the best discoveries are on the way back from that place

where we found ourselves ‘in the middle of nowhere’ . . .

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So I walked up the hill . . . around the back of the general store . . . where an old woman was watering plants in an outdoor cafe area.  Unsure (by the style of the door) as to   if I was walking into a private residence . . . she instructed me to go on in.  It was quaint, with cushions on bench seats, and chairs around tables.  The music was contemporary and at a suitable level to hold a conversation, albeit I’m all by myself.  With a full menu, real chai, and almond milk, it was everything I wanted and needed, and had hoped to find for my day.  To think that if I had settled for the ‘pizza burger place’ I wouldn’t have gone on to find the ‘Folk Alley Cafe.’

When you don’t settle for less . . .
you’ll find the more that you hoped for,
as you venture on around the corner,
further along on the road,
up the hill.

The ABC’s of Frank and me . . .

FrankWhen I think about the impact of essential oils in my life, this is just one instance of how they have helped me.
In 2016 having been diagnosed with severe depression, and my faith all but lost, I knew what I needed to do, but I didn’t know how to do it.  I didn’t know how to get from here to there. “Just believe!” they said.  But I didn’t have the capacity to believe . . . for anything!  And so I felt like I was missing the critical link, an essential component to get me from here to there.  And so this was a time in my life where I felt:
Abandoned, my Being was Consumed by Depression and Everything was Falling to the Ground!
Then one morning while reflecting on some of those situations in my world, I asked what is the purpose in each of these? And so I learnt this . . .
Aim: Building Capacity Drives Everything Forward for the Greater good.
Aim: find what is the purpose in my pain.
Build: I knew I had to build myself up. In fact I felt like I was a demolition site, and so I had to rebuild.  Rebuild who I am from scratch.  Let all the rubble of trouble go, and start again.
Capacity: but that was the link that I lacked.  The capacity to rebuild.  It was in that diminished (almost deleted) capacity of faith, that I discovered Essential Oils.  And “Hello Frank(incense)!”  It was that drop of Frank in my bottle of water every day, that one little drop that helped me get from the stage of knowing I needed to build capacity, to the stage of being able to do that, to then . . .  drive everything forward.
Drive Everything Forward: with Frank ‘on board’ I was able to ‘drive’ in the direction I needed to go.  Frank (the Guru of oils for better mental health) was my ‘missing link’, providing the bridge for me to cross from here to there.  Infusing me with a level of capacity to be able to rebuild, and giving me a sense of direction as to how to get there, I began to see my way out of feeling abandoned. This led me to start seeing … the greater good.
Greater good: was what I learnt in those areas of growth, and so my faith was slowly but surely being restored.  As my faith grew … I gained greater capacity to believe.  As my capacity to rebuild and my faith to believe both continued to grow, I saw less and less reliance on Frank … and more and more reliance on God.
Now some might question my ability to believe in Essential Oils over God and faith, but for me that’s not an issue.  Why?  Because I had a glitch in my relationship with God, but He knew where I was at.  We both knew that that relationship needed to be rebuilt from ground up, just as much as I needed to be rebuilt from ground up.  He knew the missing link was an ‘essential’ (pun not intended but it works) component to my recovery and so he reconnected me with a friend from many years ago, who introduced me to Essential Oils which has proven to be that missing link I was looking for.  That essential (hehe) component was in His plant creation, which I had enough faith for (albeit as small as a mustard seed), as a place to start from.

For so long I was stuck in:
the A (of Abandonment.)
the B (of Being me.)
the C (of my being Consumed by)
the DEFG altogether like a boulder coming down a hill, picking up speed
(Depression Everything Falling to the Ground.)

And so now here I am, having shifted from:
Abandoned to Aiming
Being to Building
Consumed to Capacity
Depressed Everything Falling to Driving Everything Forward.
Ground zero to the Greater good.
And maybe a little corny (but that’s me) this all makes for a:
Healthier Happier Helen.

So be encouraged …
The purpose of trials is in:
the Aim of Building you up,
by increasing Capacity in you,
that would then Drive Everything forward
for you to encounter better, that would then
serve the Greater good in growing you into a stronger version of yourself ..

The more I write about the diagnosis of depression, the more I see progress forward out of it.  I have read that ‘depression can be your friend’ and at the time I thought that was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard.  Especially given it nearly took me out.  But now I’m learning just how much of a friend she is:

She is my warning for when something is not right.
She is my warning to check my head space, my heart space, my whole space around me.
She encourages me to stand up for myself, to stand strong, and to have my own back.
She pushes me to check my boundaries, and to not give in.
She is about me, prioritising my being, over that of everyone else.
She has my back!
She is my back bone!
So long as I listen to her, she keeps me safe.

Unusual and a little bit different.

Where do I start?  Do you ever feel like your head is full with a story, thoughts and words all coming through at once, like a traffic jam.  But as soon as you sit down to type and let it all out, it’s like all that traffic has reached a bottle neck, and now nothing can get through?  Maybe not?  Probably not!  But that’s how it is for me today . . .

So here we go . . .  today I received a belated birthday gift.  I’ve been waiting and anticipating it for 6 weeks or so, but I knew it was coming, I just didn’t know when.  I knew my friend was anxious about whether I’d like it or not, perceiving one aspect of it as me, but then she wasn’t sure about it overall.  I had previously tried to reassure her, that given I’m on my own journey of self-discovery and working out who I am, whatever the gift is, the aspect she is not sure about . . . may well turn out to be something that I’m already contemplating, or maybe I need to explore.

And so today when my friend approached holding the gift, declaring it as “unusual, and a little bit different” I was feeling somewhat pressured (in myself) to ensure an appropriate response, so as not to disappoint her, but at the same time knowing I am terrible at pulling off a poker face.  It’s for this reason that I don’t particularly like receiving gifts.  But for all of the same reasons as my friend, while I like to give gifts, I hate being in the position as the gift giver, because like her, I want to give the perfect gift.  And so I know all about wanting the supportive evidence of this, in the recipient’s response.

So with friends standing by, watching me unwrap my gift, my anxieties were already amplified.  All the more so when the wrapping was off and the box was revealed and my mind was not able to comprehend what my eyes were seeing.  And there goes my moment of opportunity . . . to give the supportive evidence in the ultimate response to the perfect gift.  In pulling it out of the box, I first thought I was looking at some sort of artistic tool for drawing or painting or cutting or something . . . and my mind dashed back to my own words of “… it may well turn out to be something that I need to explore.“ and in that moment more fear gripped me, as I had no idea what it was, for me to explore, much more fearing “What would this lead me to explore?”  But then my friend graciously explained it’s a pen that is actually a multi-functional tool. So it was confirmed, it’s not just a ballpoint pen!  It’s so much more!!! It’s a ruler.  It’s a spirit level. It’s a stylet for my phone.  And as I unscrewed it at each end, to expose its inner most parts, there’s the ink cartridge (of course) and a screw driver (for both Phillips and Flat head).  Hellooo McGyver!  Now I just need some gum.  Or maybe more Maxwell Smart . . . lol!

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Then on my way home from church this afternoon, I remembered some thoughts I had had during the week, in some moments of feeling a little overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed, as I try to perfect the art of managing my full time job, writing for 2 blogs (this being one of them), working at my new business venture in essential oils, keeping up with the administration of life and the domestic duties of maintaining my home, maintaining a healthy lifestyle which includes going to the gym, and then to still have a social life.  “Have I taken on too much?  How do I do it all?”

Then this afternoon I felt like this pen had something to say about that.  And if any pen can talk, then this would be the pen that could:

“A pen that is just a regular pen is built just for that purpose of being a pen.  But look at me!  I was not built as a regular pen, but as a multi functional tool, with capacity far greater than that of ‘just’ a pen.  My external capacity that you can see is not the sum total of my whole capacity.  The capacity you can’t see, the internal parts you did not know about until you opened up to see inside of me, holds more equipment.  Equipment put there by the one who made me, to be used for the purpose ‘he’ designed it for.  Relax in knowing that while all my functions are there ready to use at any time, I am not utilising all my functions at all times.  But each function is called on as needed, for its purpose in that moment of time.” 

At this point I had a little mental picture of my new multi functional tool trying to pull off all of its functions at once, which of course is impossible, as it cannot use the pen and the stylet at the same time as they are at opposite ends.  Likewise the pen and the screw driver (inside the stylet) are at opposite ends.  But I did have a humorous moment imagining what Pixar would and could do with this short comic.

Then I got to thinking . . . we are all just like that gift.  On the outside we may look like ‘a pen.’  But we are not ‘just’ a pen.  We may even already know that we are more than that ‘a pen, with a ruler, a spirit level, and a stylet.’ But do we stop it there?  What else is on the inside?  Because there is still more, if we will just open up to expose our inner most parts, to see what is revealed, that can be put to use for the purpose it was designed for.

Here’s a few thoughts:

  • We’re all a little unusual, a little bit different. But that’s what makes us unique.
  • We all have anxieties about opening up ‘gifts and abilities’ that we are unsure about. Is it really me?  Is it not me?  Well, sometimes we won’t know until we explore them.
  • We put pressure on ourselves because we don’t want to disappoint, or be disappointed. And we expect to ‘know’ from the start, but sometimes the ‘knowing’ doesn’t come until later as a result of exploring the ‘gift or ability’ further and learning how to use it.
  • The initial response is not always a reliable one, but how the ‘gift or ability’ functions in it outworking, is a much better reference point.

And one final hilariously stretching thought . . . while my multi functional tool currently holds 5 functions, the box actually reads: ‘one touch stylus 9 function tool pen’ which means it still has the potential for even more capacity than what it currently holds.  These additional four functions are in the purchasing of additional pieces to become an inkball pen, a fountain pen, or a pencil with an eraser.

So with all this in built capacity for growth and expansion . . .  in the midst of my humorous Pixar imagination, I did feel the subtle punchline blow of what does need to be dealt with:

“While it may be a juggling act as you move between functions, that’s all the more reason to maximise the effective use of your time, and let procrastination go.”   BOOM! 

 

The logo of life . . .

A few weeks back I registered a new business and so with that now comes the deciding on a logo and business cards.  So I outsourced this task to a graphic designer.  I’m told the first step is to decide on a logo.  And once that is finalised, then go on to design a business card.  So after explaining what my business is and my style of taste, the graphic designer sent me three concepts to consider.

Initially I struggled (with fear) to even open up the attachments to see what she had designed.  What if I didn’t like any of them?  Could I be bold enough to say so?  Or would I end up settling for something less than I was happy with?

Then after opening the file . . . while I liked certain aspects of each of the three concepts (each for different reasons), none of them really grabbed me.  Why?  Because I had to choose one!  And I could see that in my choosing, each logo design would limit (because of its design), the design of the business card.  How?  Because I have to choose a colour theme, which then rules out other colour options.  I have to choose a style, but which style?  I don’t want the business card to be overcrowded, but then how do I decide if it is or not?  If the logo is detailed then maybe the design of the business card should be simple?  Or should I make the logo simple and the business card detailed?  And yet ultimately, I just want my business to be known for what it’s about, so that it draws the right people to me.  I had just three logo concepts to choose from, but it felt as if each concept held a hundred different possibilities of business card designs.  How do I make a decision on the hundreds I can’t see, with the three that I can see.  I found myself wanting to know what the final result of the business card might look like for each logo, before I could decide on any one particular logo.  I did not want my choice of one logo to rule out the other possibilities of a business card I might have had, if I had chosen a different logo.  I know that in choosing one logo, the other two logos would be put aside, and work on the business card for the logo I had chosen would begin.  But I didn’t want to rule out what might have been, even though I had no idea of what could have been, or would have been, if I had chosen one of the other logos.  Couldn’t I choose the logo based on the business card?  I might fall in love with any one of the logos, if I know what it looks like on the business card as a finished product?

Then I saw what all this indecision and confusion was about?
Life!  And how do I trust my choices? 

“How is this about life?” you might ask.  Well, let me explain.  If the ‘logo’ is who we are, and the resulting life that we live is the ‘business card’ . . .  in thinking about the ‘logo of you’ and your ‘business card of life’, you decide if you can relate.

I can’t recall what other ‘logos of me’ I had that I didn’t choose, but the ‘logo’ that stood out to me in my early 20’s, that I did choose was the Africa logo.  To be a missionary, a volunteer in Africa, working with orphaned children.  That was my heart beat!  I didn’t struggle with making that choice at all!  I jumped in at every step that the door was opened to me, and went with it.  A couple of times doors closed and I had to walk away, other times they opened (or reopened) and I stepped on through.  I never thought, or even perceived that the Africa logo had limitations on it, because I fully believed it was the one to run with.  I saw colour, style, what it was about, and the people I would connect with.  But in hindsight, if I had seen the whole story, known the resulting ‘business card of life’ that would come (in my perception) as a result of choosing the ‘Africa logo’, I have often wondered if I should have chosen a different logo for me.  If I could have chosen the beginning, based on knowing the end result. To have been able to make my decisions back then, based on what it looked like in the future, which is now.

But then would that have truly been the ‘logo of me’ . . . the choice that I make based on the outcome that I like or want. Rather than the choice that I make based on who I am, not knowing what the outcome would be?  What’s to say that any other ‘logo of me’ would have turned out with a better outcome, than the outcome that I got, with the logo I chose?  There’s no guarantee, only that which I perceive.

It’s about perception and ‘what we know we got with our choice’ compared to ‘what we think we would have got with another choice.’

But then it’s also about (and more importantly so) choosing who you are, over what you do. To be true to oneself, is more important than what you do, even if within that choice, you’re not doing what you hoped to be doing.  To be true to oneself regardless of the outcome, because that is who you are.  And because you stood up in who you are, you stand out in that space that is yours.

So choose your logo first, and your business card second.  Your logo tells of who you are, and your business card then compliments that logo, advertising more of what you do, with details of how to find you.  Just as I’m putting my business cards out in places and spaces where they can reach and connect me with those I’m meant to reach, I believe that when we know the ‘logo of who we are’, our ‘business card of life’ compliments and advertises that, drawing the right people around us that we’re meant to reach.  While your logo may be adjusted as you grow and expand, it should still be the logo that tells of who you are.  Your business card (regardless of what it looks like) then continues to compliment and advertise your logo, connecting others to you.

The ‘business card of life’
It doesnt limit you in the ‘logo of who you are’,
But it does define for others the ‘logo of who you are’.

Is your ‘business card of life’
complimenting and advertising
the ‘logo of who you are?’

So let go of what you perceive would have been, or might have been, and hold on tight to who you are, what you choose, and who you want to be through growth and expansion, because within that, is who you were made to be. Choose the ‘logo of you’ that is your heartbeat. Trust The Master of Graphic Designers, and see the resulting ‘business card’ of life that compliments and advertises you, because of who you are.

Choosing your logo first,
then guides the direction of your business card.
Just as
Knowing who you are first,
then gives direction to what you do.

And there’s a flip side!  In the midst of all these decisions about which logo to choose, I sought the advice of a friend on my dilemma, and she pointed out the fact that a business card has two sides (which we all know).  And so I realised the logo could be on one side, and the flip side could be all the details.  Likewise in life.  The logo is what it is . . . a statement in itself of who we are . . . and then on the flip side we get to define the details of what that looks like . . . thereafter is the unknown of how far we will reach . . . and who we will reach.

And so without knowing the end result that I wanted to know . . . the logo I’ve chosen is better than I could have imagined.  And the business card as a whole with the details being on the flip side is not limited by design, but rather it is in line with the logo, as it reflects what the logo is about.  Thereafter is the unknown . . . but let’s see how that unfolds, and how far it reaches out . . .

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Choose the logo that is you!
That you may then
Live the life that reflects you!
And if it’s not what you expected?
Adjust accordingly so that
The ‘logo of you’ is still being reflected!

Blind insight

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When I moved in to my current home some 18 months ago, I was setting everything up just as I would like it to be, part of which was to organise the cords on my window blinds.  I can’t have cords hanging freely, twisting and tangling at their own will.  So in order to have those cords hang neatly, I attached plastic cord brackets to each of the window frames, running the cord through the bracket to create a pulley system.  Now I needed ‘something’ to remind me which way was up and which way was down . . . a saying or some such ‘line’ or rhyme?  And then it came to me:  Front up! Back down!  It really needs no explanation, but just in case . . . the cord in front is up, and the cord behind (back) is down.  The most awesome solution!  Then it occurred to me. . . not just for handling my blinds, but also for handling my life.

Sometimes there are situations in life, circumstances that we don’t know how to handle, or maybe we are trying too hard at, to sort out, or repair.  Those on the receiving end of our ‘approach’ may feel as though we are more of a ‘front up and bowl down’ approach, which is then perceived and received as confronting and/or overwhelming, achieving the opposite result we were hoping for in trying to sort out that situation.  And so the solution may well be to: ‘front up’ (show up) to that environment we want (or need) to attend, but to ‘back down’ in our approach to the situation within that environment.

Here’s another angle . . .

For the New Year weekend I was on call from Friday night through to Tuesday morning.  So what do you do when you can’t make any definite plans with friends in case you have to abandon that ‘space’ for a surgical emergency?  You plan a project!  And so I planned for ‘Project Balcony Renovation’. With my phone in my pocket, I visited my local hardware store for synthetic turf, a new outdoor setting, some pots, lanterns, and a small water feature.  I already had some succulents, and a friend had given me some additional cuttings from her garden.  I also had a packet of seeds from a Woman’s Conference I had attended some time back.  Potting and repotting, succulents and seeds, as I was watering those seeds . . . I wasn’t sure how much to water . . . and there was no water appearing in the tray below . . . so assuming I hadn’t given enough, I kept watering . . . then suddenly I had water over flowing everywhere . . . I was trying too hard, I was impatient, which resulted in me giving too much water, which was more than the pot and the tray could handle.

Sometimes our approach to those situations in life, those circumstances that we don’t know how to handle, or maybe we are trying too hard at to repair, does more damage than good.  In our efforts, we try too hard, too fast, and it becomes too much to handle.  But as it was with my watering, because we don’t see any return for our effort, we think we must need to give more, and so we do, but then we learn it was all too much, and what was needed was actually time.  Time for the initial watering to soak in to the soil, to nourish the seeds sown, and any excess water would show in the tray below, and be taken up later.   And so I’m learning: to ‘front up’ to water those seeds on my balcony, but to ‘back down’ on how much water I give.  And in the right time . . . hoping that in my new approach, I will see a return for my efforts.

So how do we action this in real life? 

Well maybe there’s a situation in your workplace (or some other space)?  You can’t just not go to work.  You could possibly take leave, or find another workplace, but does either of those really solve anything? Not usually.  So in this case, the analogy goes like this: continue to ‘front up’ to work, to do work . . . but when at work ‘back down’ in terms of your approach to whatever the situation that is causing confrontation or overwhelm.  Don’t buy into the ‘behaviours’ of your peers and colleagues, but instead pay kindness for rudeness, as you ‘back down’ in your overall approach and your ‘need’ to make things right.  Ultimately, people are who they are, believing what they want to believe, be it true or not.  But in time, things will turn around.  And in the mean time . . . keep on ‘fronting up, and backing down.’

So whether it be in life or with your blinds,

When you don’t know which way is up, and which way is down,

The approach to remember is to:

Front up and back down!

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On this journey that is my life, I think two of the hardest aspects are: changing my thinking, and believing God (again).

Changing one’s total self-perception from what you’ve always believed, is like trying to remove a footprint made long ago in wet cement. But I know that learning to recognise the negative banter in my head, to stop that before it gets on a roll, and changing it for positive truth, is the key to my recovery.

Believing and trusting God . . . well I don’t even know where to begin with that one, other than to keep reminding Him (well, myself really), that I’m trusting Him, believing He knows and has the best for me, so PLEASE don’t mess me up any more than I already have done so myself.

It’s now Sunday evening and while writing this, I’ve been cooking cauliflower and onion soup on the stove ready for Monday and Tuesday night dinners at work.  Having given it adequate time to cool, I got up to put it through the bullet.  Seemingly, God can even use my cooking for his analogy:

“You feel like this cauliflower and onion.  Started out whole (seemingly), chopped up, pan fried, boiled in broth, allowed to rest while cooling (which was actually the preparation time), to then be pulverised in to liquid mush!” AWESOME ! ! !  Not funny God !  And in the same way those vegetables will never be whole again, you wonder if this also applies to you?” 

Hmmm . . . This would be true! And knowing how my soup usually turns out, served reheated with a dash of tahini . . . it’s adequate for me, but probably not adequate for anyone else.  Which reminds me of a line from ‘Pitch Perfect 3’ which I rented just last night:“You were always good enough for me.  The problem is that you were never good enough for yourself.”  Hmmm . . . this also rings true.  Do you ever feel set up by God???

And so the piece that follows came to me this morning (Sunday) on waking up.  I had bought the wooden BELIEVE over a year ago, and sat it on my television stand as a constant visual of encouragement from my couch.   Then several months ago now, one night while staring at it (as if fixating on it, would somehow engrave it in my head), I saw my ‘pull a part interpretation’ of the word, which gave me a different perspective, but I didn’t know what to do with it at that time.  A conversation with a friend a couple of nights ago encouraged me to explore it further, and Voila! . . .

Believing for better
Is to
Leave behind the latter.

Believing:
For a healthier view
Of a better you!

Believing:
For a better financial state
And for a life time mate.

But believing God
Is not the same as
Believing in God.

It’s a relational must
With the One in who you believe.
To have a foundation of trust,
For that which you hope to receive.

But don’t believe
the
 . . lie . .
of
. . . . eve
That is:
“By the serpent I was deceived!”
For which he was relieved!
As he
relie . . d
on
    . . . . eve .
to perceive the
. . lie . . .
as truth.

To fall in his trap of deception.
Choosing her own self destruction.
Distorting both: self and world perception.
Fulfilling the plan of his evil construction.

But as did Eve, you DO have a choice!
To take a stand, and declare with your voice!

“I REFUSE to believe your lies anymore!
STOP! dragging me down, making my heart sore.
I will not be deceived
Leading to my own self destruction
The thoughts once perceived
Are under re-construction.
I’m the Builder’s delight
With a better me in sight!”

If you’re on a journey that requires it, then be encouraged

TO  STAND  and  DECLARE !

A raw conversation with God.

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It is 9am on Sunday the 20th of May after the Adore Conference.  

In reflection . . . one of the guest speakers had said something just before her message, and it struck a chord with me.  I can’t remember exactly what she said, but it was a single line to the tune of “some of you are disappointed in God . . . “

Then this morning I was struggling, and yet I didn’t want to rehash it with God yet again . . . but apparently He did, cause then He said to me “Let’s go over it again.  Talk to me about what you’re feeling, today, now, in this moment.”  and so this is the walk He took me on . . .  

Because I can’t always articulate my words well, let alone remember what I say, it was a conversation I recorded (in about 5 separate recordings) stopping at times to work out my feelings, and how to verbalise them.  But I didn’t want to forget what God would say to me.  And ultimately I guess I had already figured it might be something I’d share . . . in the hope of helping someone else.  So while there was no audible voice (other than my own), I believe those little ‘thought bubbles of revelation’ (in red) that had not previously occurred to me (either at all or in full), were those from a higher place.  

“God, in regards to my hysterectomy, for 10 years and then 5 more years after that, I believed that You would heal me.  But then You didn’t come through.  I was anaemic, I had been on 6 months of iron injections, and was finally put on that drug Tranexamic Acid to slow down my haemorrhaging, while I waited for my surgery date.  I went through various consults in preparation for surgery.  While I wasn’t forced in to anything, at the same time I believed those words:  “You have no choice. Surgery is your only option.  All you have to do is sign the paperwork, then it will all happen from there.”

And so I followed through with having the surgery.  It all came together so quickly.  A connection that got me in to see a top specialist, a cancellation that got me into surgery weeks earlier than expected, and so even then, You were with me in the preparation.  But at the same time in some ways, it’s like the enemy used that opportunity for his plan of my demise, to derail my faith.

Somehow, I didn’t realise that in having surgery I was ‘choosing’ what I didn’t want, and how that would affect my faith, expose some lifelong wounds, and thereafter lead me on a path of wrong decisions as a result of my disappointment that You didn’t heal me.  Because what I really wanted was to receive what I had been believing for.  I had believed for 15 years that You would heal me.  That’s a long time of believing, and a whole lot of hoping . . . lost . . .

For so long God, I’ve wrestled with the woman with the issue of blood.  And that whole question of why You healed her?  But You didn’t heal me?  I think back to how it might have been for her.  She didn’t have the option of surgery; she had spent all her money and tried everything available to her.  She didn’t have any other option.  She had exhausted all her other options.  Then You came to town, and You healed her.  But why not me?  If you could do it for her, why not for me?

You know it, I struggle with some of the words in the songs that we sing at church, that I sing at home: of how You’ll never fail me, that “You’re never gonna let me down.” And even though I sing the words, there’s a voice in my head that reminds me that you did fail me, that you did let me down.  So it seems like it’s all lies, and I’m supporting those lies by singing the words to the songs, despite my experience.  And so I cry my way through those songs, because I know what the Bible says, and I know what I want to believe, but my experience tells a different story.  So I sing the words to those songs, in spite of everything, hoping You’ll somehow prove me wrong!   

And yet today, now I see maybe I failed myself in that sense. Maybe I let myself down?  In that instance when those words were spoken to me: “You have no other choice. . .” I lost hope in the other choice that I did have, the choice that I really wanted, but I didn’t see that as still an option.  So yes, I got my healing, but just not in the way I had hoped.  But that was everything to do with my choice, my free will to make a decision, than it was to do with You.  I fell on the ‘train’ of forward motion, and it didn’t ever occur to me, to not go ahead with the surgery.  Without realising it, I gave up on what I truly wanted, and gave in to what ‘man’ would say.  Yes, it was my choice to have the surgery. 

After 15 years of believing, I gave up on You God, and took things back into my own hands without realising it.  And even though I accepted to having the surgery, (effectively saying “No thanks!” to You as the other option), You didn’t abandon me, or take Your hands off my case.  You still watched over me during the surgery, even rescuing me when they found complications, but a urologist was available to come and assist.  I thought I didn’t have a choice, but I did have a choice.  Because, where there is more than one option, there is a choice.  The woman with the issue of blood didn’t have a choice, but I did.  Even though I was anaemic, and I was on TXA to slow down my haemorrhaging (which didn’t work), I still had a choice, surgery or not surgery.  I just didn’t ‘see’ that choice, and so I ‘sowed’ into the surgery option, because that was all that I could see, but really I wasn’t seeing all my options.  And maybe if that woman with the issue of blood was living in my time, she too might have found her healing at the hands of surgeons.  And there’s nothing wrong in that.  She certainly sought out all her options . . . so I reckon she would have taken up the offer, if it was available to her. . . especially given the stigma of ‘uncleanness’ in her time that she would have carried.  But then why for so long did I feel somehow ripped off, cheated of that which I had believed for?  I don’t understand that . . . but then ultimately, it comes back to a choice that I made. 

And all this enables me to fully release You!  It releases me!  To be able to believe for ‘the better’ that You promise in my future.  How?  Because since it wasn’t You that let me down, that situation no longer serves as the example of how You can’t be trusted.  It’s not hanging over my head, invading my head space as a negative example for the enemy to use against You, against me.  Because it all goes back to my choice, which I made, that led to this outcome. 

Thank you for softly and gently guiding me to this revelation.  For not pushing or pressing it on me before I was ready to hear it.  For not overwhelming me with it.  But just allowing it to be a revelation, that would come as a release. 

Wondering what might have been if I hadn’t had the surgery, I cant regret or ‘wish’ about that.  But maybe the final outcome of my story would then have been more like that woman with the issue of blood.  But that is not my story.  This is my story.  And maybe it is this way because it will help someone else in their story . . .

After writing my previous post: ‘Sow & See’ I then got to thinking about that fading ‘See’ and that just maybe there’s a lesson in that for me.  But it doesn’t stop there . . . what about that cyst/blemish (in the pic above) at the bottom of the first ‘e’ in ‘See’ that I pick at especially when I’m feeling anxious about something, which then becomes an open wound. While you can still see it in the photo . . . I had used some essential oils to calm it down, and a concealer to hide it as much as possible.

For me it was the wound of disappointment that was blocking me from seeing anything good for my future. That wound distorted my perception of God.  I perceived that He had disappointed me in not bringing to pass what I had been believing for.  So how could I trust Him, and believe Him to bring to pass anything good in my future?  Why would I trust anyone who has let me down, with so much again?  And even when I tried to ‘let go’ of the hysterectomy story . . . it wouldn’t let go of me.  Because the experiences along those 15 years of believing, that were never realised, were now being highlighted in new struggles of today.

Diagnosed in 2016 with severe depression, (after my hysterectomy in 2015) I had seen progression in the healing of my mental and emotional health, and other things I was struggling with.  But at times it felt like one step forward, two steps back. 

It had been the same with those fibroids over the years.  At times I had seen a degree of healing, but then ultimately gone backwards and the condition gotten worse. 

So then my past experience with the fibroids, became what I feared would be my experience with my current issues.  And so I was always anxious as to if I would ever be free from these issues, because until surgery, I was never free from the fibroid issue.  How could I trust God to heal me from any of my issues, when he never healed me of those fibroids? And yet I have other experiences of healing . . . which I still enjoy the benefits of . . .  but they are somehow forgotten by this fibroid issue . . .

Many times I have felt like Moses in the dessert wandering around for 40 years, on what apparently should have been an 11 day journey.  “God I don’t want to be like that, in this headspace for 40 years.  What do I need to realise, or what revelation do I need to have, to get out of this dessert?  Because unlike Moses, we don’t live for 100+ years.  I’m 48 now, and I don’t want to be living in this desert for 40 years.” 

  • What’s at the bottom of your (inability to) see? 
  • What cyst/blemish/wound is there?
  • I wonder . . . what are you calming down or concealing, but not dealing with? 
  • A wound that maybe nobody else can see . . . but you know it’s there?
  • What is blocking your ability to see that which you desire to see?

Interestingly (or at least to me) shortly after this conversation . . . I realised . . . I had my surgery the week before Adore 2015.  I was there, drugged up to my eyeballs on pain medication.  And here I am having this revelation (releasing a whole lot of pain) . . . which seems somehow full circle . . . 3  VERY LONG  years later.

Sow & See!

It’s just gone the weekend of Adore Conference, the annual women’s conference at my local Enjoy Church.  The theme for which was ‘Sow and See’: to sow seeds (of love, kindness, etc) and see the results of our sowing.

So as is a recent part of my prep for church conferences . . . I went to my hairdresser (with artistic design skills) and had him shave the theme ‘Sow & See’ on the side of my head.

However, this time I didn’t factor in that the hair closer to the nape of my neck is lighter, and thus the ‘See’ while it just made it in the space, is (ironically) difficult to see, and un-readable by some.  ‘See’ kind of fades out at the base of the lettering.  One says “It just looks like swirls.”  Another can’t make out either of the words.  Some have to stand back to see it.  And my favourite: “It’s easy to see when you look at it from an artistic perspective.”

Sometimes life can be just like my head ‘Sow & . . . ‘ a big fat question mark.

We can sometimes feel like all we do is Sow & . . .  Sow & . . . Sow some more.  Only to be left wondering where is that which we desire to see?  And when will we see it?  And so our ability to ‘see’ what we are believing for, fades as a result of our discouragement.  We may even be tempted to stop sowing . . . but then the whole principle of ‘sowing and seeing’ is wiped out.  Not that our motive is to sow, so that we see (like we don’t give to get), but because sowing and seeing (reaping) is a principle, when we apply a principle, we can expect to see the results of that principle.

And so I wonder why is it, that for such a principle that ultimately has to bring a result, instead of:

Sow & See!  (with a bold exclamation point of certainty.)

Some of us instead have a:

Sow and See? (question mark mentality.)

And so I would ask:

To what or who did you exchange

what should be your confident declaration,

for that of (seemingly) reasonable doubt?

When by faith, we can in fact, stand in that of

‘beyond reasonable doubt!’

The me that I see!

When I wrote this piece a few months back, I started somewhere in the middle and continued to almost the end.  Then I started asking myself “Where did this all come from?” And so I worked my way backwards to what is now the beginning. Then came the end!

Why am I sharing this?  Because as I mentioned in a previous post: ‘Remember the Hoodoo Gurus’ … it’s especially for those who relate, but aren’t in a place to share.  Those who are maybe not as far on the journey, but need to know they’re not alone in their issue.  And then maybe there is also an aspect of my own healing that will come, as a result of allowing myself to be vulnerable enough to share the deepest insecurities of my heart.  Scary as that is . . .

While it’s not something I’ve consciously contemplated every minute of every day of my life, I am aware of a negative self-perception that has been evident in my thoughts, in my speech (or lack thereof, when I’m too scared to speak), and in my actions.

Hurtful words from the age of 6 that stuck like glue (obviously never fully dealt with, to be confronting them now at 48), and how that negativity has then grown to the extent of influencing and impacting my decisions and handling of situations throughout my life.  It is an example of how negative thoughts are like an undercurrent, hidden beneath the surface, dangerous, and able to pull us under without notice.

That’s not to say that I haven’t had good, encouraging, positive people in my world, because I definitely have, and still do.  But as the analogy goes, regardless of who builds the structure, the structure itself is only as solid as the foundation on which it is built.

So read this not as a ‘woe is me’ piece, or a stab at anyone, because it’s not either.  But rather it is an expressive piece, a spoken word (a ‘read word’ in this case) about my perception of my being (the me that I be), and my doing (the me that I do), resulting in ‘the me that I see’ today.  That which has been my self-perception, and now I’m on a journey of self-discovery, as I learn to shake off negative thoughts, confront my fears, accept myself mistakes and all, and their resulting consequences.  I’m learning to challenge my thinking, so that I can move forward to finding a bigger, better, brighter life path with a healthy self-perception.

We’ve all had a childhood …

We’ve all got insecurities…

A mixing pot of experiences.

Forming our personalities.

 

Low self esteem.

Too quiet and shy.

Always on the outside.

Feeling passed by.

 

Childhood taunts,

and teenage peers.

Words that haunt,

and all their sneers.

So despite what you see, your version of me, is not the me that I see!

I hate seeing myself in photos,

or that mirrored window reflection.

Yet I miss out on capturing memories,

all because of my own rejection.

 

For the me that I see is unattractive, with a big nose,

a crooked smile, and hooded eyes.

And the me that I be is not smart, somewhat naive, gullible to pranks, socially awkward, with a tremor to hide. 

 And as I stand here declaring my faults,

I’m secretly wondering if you would agree?

That’s all that there is to be seen in me!

 

But the me that I do … she follows her dream,

she steps out in faith, knowing her purpose.

This is the me I was made to be.

In spite of the me that I see, and the me that I be,

it’s the me that I do,

that gives me acceptance and value in humanity.

 

And yet I still wrestle with the me that I do,

Because it’s not fully accepted by you.

I didn’t choose marriage, a home and a kid.

I saved all I could, sold all I had, to do all that I did.

 

So against all the objections, and blockages by you,

I stood by my convictions, and followed them through.

Cause I’m answerable to God, when I stand at the gate.

How would it be … if I said “No!” to His date.

 

With a firm hold on my heart, Africa wouldn’t let go,

And with each step of faith, You confirmed I should go.

So I followed the dream, the purpose, and the call.

Yet nothing worked out as I thought. None of it at all!

So despite what you see, your version of me, is SOOO NOT the me that I see.

But through all of this I’ve held to some facts:

I’m integral, of good character, reliable and true.

Telling myself:

“Inside beauty conquers the outside ugly of you!”

 

But then the me that I ‘do’ was shattered.

A scar on my belly, a hope that was scattered.

No longer a dream, just a faith that is battered.

 

I prayed and I believed,

but I never received!

So they took it away!

I felt lost like a stray!

 

A journey of distorted thinking and bad choices.

Headed for some damning eternal dark voices.

I’m deep in the pit without an escape!

How will I ever get back to my faith?

 

Then came those words:

“That’s not what a good friend would do.”

And so the words that I heard,

With the outside ugly I knew,

Truth that cuts like a sword.

My actions had deleted all beauty through!

 

Without the me that I do,

Or the inside beauty I knew.

Maybe now you can see?

Just how ugly I be!

 

But God, as I’m looking to see the me that You see!

Discarding the negative I see in me.

Please help me to find who You made me to be.

 

You told me today:

“There’s to be NO  MORE apologies.

Nor any such feelings of your inadequacies.

Cos what you did, where you been, and how you see,

Are not who you are, what you be, or what I see!

So STOP with the apologies.

You’re on a journey of discoveries.

It’s a journey with Me!

You’ll see who I made you to be!”

 

God we’ve worked hard to make a new start.

And we’re beginning to see growth from my pains.

Changes that come with a renovating heart.

New thinking for my mind like fresh blood in my veins.

 

So I challenge you: Push through!

To believe for the future

For better times, a better you!

 

Don’t let the darkness win.

Because we’re all just waiting to see

When you stand up and sing . . .

When you boldly declare: “This is me!”

While there is the need to accept ourselves for who we are in the now, we are always growing, so there is also the need to challenge ourselves to believe in and ‘see’ the better version of ourselves in the future.  That’s why I’m loving the hit song ‘This is me’ from ‘The Greatest Showman’ as the words are about standing up in our individuality, making no apologies for who we are, and shaking off all our feelings of inadequacy.

While out having lunch with a friend recently, I came across a children’s book in a shop window titled “Can you see what I see?” by Walter Wick.  In the book description it says “Walter . . . challenges our minds . . . to discover objects in a mirror image that doesn’t quite reflect what’s really there.”

So to put a twist on Walter’s story . . . are there any ‘objects’ that you are ‘seeing’ about yourself, that don’t quite reflect what’s really there?  How’s your self-perception?  If it needs a tweak . . . then go on the journey of self-discovery, confronting any fears, challenging your thinking, accepting who you are mistakes and all, to then boldly declare with full acceptance of yourself: “This is me!”

The hair tie . . .

Three weeks ago I spent four nights on the Gold coast at a healthy lifestyle retreat. Three full days of learning all about how to be a healthier me.  Not being from Queensland, I had opted to stay in the hotel where the conference was being held, so as to avoid any transport issues, and just for the overall convenience.  On the first morning I got up and got ready for the day.  Enjoying all the little hotel samples I got with my room … shampoo, conditioner, etc.  I know … but hotel stays are a novelty to me.  Tearing the top off a little ‘vanity pack’, so as to get out one of the cotton buds, I left the packet mostly intact.  I could see a facial cleaning pad in there as well, and that was it.

Off to Day 1 of the conference … choosing my seat based on the location of the stage and projector screen, I sat down.  As it turned out, I was joined by 2 fellow nurses also from Melbourne.  Throughout the course of the day, we were ‘given’ opportunities to re-energize through dancing and stretches, and the result was a hot and sweaty one.  One of my new friends realised she’d forgotten to bring a hair tie … but with my short hair, I was not equipped to help her out.  So she got resourceful … and used her conference lanyard.

Day 2: I got ready, utilising my freshly provided sample packs, and went off to learn all that I could.  Being in conference all day, my friend hadn’t managed to find time or energy to get out and buy some hair ties, so the lanyard was employed again.

Day 3: I got ready, once again utilising my freshly provided sample packs, and went off to learn all that I could for the final day.  Today my friend didn’t take off her lanyard to use as a hair tie, but instead had managed to find a more suitable option in the form of a rubber band.  Not ideal … but it will do the job.

Day 4: the conference has finished and I’m getting ready to start my day … and fly home.  Utilising a fresh ‘vanity pack’ for the last time I tore it open and what should fall out … but a white fabric stretchy hair tie.

IMG_20180326_073930

Ha! My little ‘vanity pack’ had more in it than I had thought, or even knew about.  I chuckled and thought of my friend …

In life we can sometimes think that we are not equipped to help someone out.  We look at ourselves, and are quick to assume that because of who we are (or who we’re not), we think we do not have what they need.  Because of my short hair, I did not have a hair tie to offer.  And yet all the while a fresh hair tie was available to me every day via the provision of my accommodation.

Sometimes we underestimate what we have to offer one another, be it support and encouragement, a piece of knowledge we have learnt on the journey of life, or a word of wisdom we have to share.

How much more could we help each other if we did not limit ‘our ability to help’ to that of ‘our perception of what we have’.  But instead extended our thinking to include that which we have available to us, which may require thinking and/or seeing outside the box.

By this I mean that there can be a significant difference between our thinking and the reality:

Who we think we are, and what we think we have

compared to

Who we actually are, and what we actually have.

Sometimes we don’t know just how equipped we are ….

But just like my ‘vanity pack’ … you can’t help with what you have, if you don’t know that you have it.  So then … isn’t that all the more reason to fully open up the ‘packet’ that is you … to fully explore all that you are, so that you can grow to be all that you were created to be … in order to do your ‘thing’ that makes you you, and as a result the world around you gets to experience what you have to offer!  And in that, you may or may not see and know all the ways in which you are having an impact on those you meet …