Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bff's, Disciples and God

I'm thick.  Thick in my thighs, thick in the head, and spiritually thick.

I was riding this high the last part of this week.  After everything I told you about Wednesday I was all God is awesome!  He hears me!  Then, Thursday, I was invited to St. Gabriel's for a praise and worship meeting.  I was very excited to go because I had been invited a couple years ago, but never was able to make it.  So, I went, and my Jesus high continued!  First off, St. Gabriel is my guardian angel, so that was awesome!  Then, we sang songs and all through the service I kept getting signs giving a positive affirmation of something that I had wanted more than anything in my life.  Something, that was out of my hands and out of my control.  It was in the Holy Spirits hands.  Obviously, all these positive signs were a yes!  I was even more elated!  And, to highlight the evening, I shared it with one of my bestest friends in the whole world, Patti.  Clearly I have a lot of best friends. lol  I don't say that lightly.  Having literally no friends growing up, I take my friendships deeply to heart.  Carol was my first best friend, then Tina, then Patti.  There's also Sharon, Julie, Sheila and Mary P (I know more than one Mary lol) and my bunco group.   I am extremely close to these women and to just say they're my friend seems to minimize the weight in which my heart loves them.  But, I digress.  Patti was the sprinkles and cherry and cream on top of the evening.

I knew from earlier in the week that the decision on which I'd been waiting would be coming yesterday.  And, it did.  And, it was not in my favor.  One of my bffs texted me immediately and then asked if they were a bad friend for letting me know.  Seriously?  I don't have bad friends.  I thought it was beautiful and courageous of her.  And, I am extremely excited for those of my bffs who this decision  was favorable.  However, that's where it all ended.

My high crashed.  Plummeted into the depths of the center of the earth.  The why's began.  Why not me?  Was I not good enough?  Why am I never good enough?  What did I do wrong?  I wasn't angry.  No, I was hurt.  Very deeply hurt.  At this point, my husband and I were taking my son to his first retreat at my beloved Montserrat.  On the way there, I texted a friend asking if I had done something wrong.  She said absolutely not and then gave some consoling words.  I texted one of my favorite people in the world as soon as I had heard the news and she was wonderful.  My husband came to me with open arms and held me as I cried.  All of this consoling all I could think of was I don't want consolation, I want my answer.  What were all those signs about!!!?!  I texted another one of my bff's, Tina.  Actually, I texted all my bffs who got the yes and told them how I was extremely happy for them, because I AM.  My sadness and hurt does not diminish my joy for them.  I'm kinda weird that way (among others).  Anywho, Tina and I lamented how we wouldn't be together.  She and I haven't had a lot of time lately.  But, we'll figure it out.  As we arrived at Montserrat, I got a hug from Fr. Ron, which was a gift from God.  That I do know.  Priests just don't go around giving random hugs, at least the ones I know.  Then, after showing my family around my second home, my son and I sat on my swing.  That was a beautiful moment in my life.  However, I was antsy.  I didn't want to overstay my welcome or encroach on his time, plus, it felt weird to be so sad and want to cry while being happy for my son.  We left him in great hands, Gods.

Then, this morning, still smarting.  I texted another one of my bffs.  I told her how I really feel.  I left nothing out.  I laid myself bare before her and told her how hurt I was by God.  How I misread all of his signs.  That I was spiritually blind and I didn't give a hoot anymore.  Being the wonderful person she is, she held me through the phone, gave me her love and support, and gently chided me for some of the things that I had said.  That's the great thing about my friendships.  They don't coddle me.  They hold me accountable and tell me the truth.  Even when it hurts.  They call me on my negative thoughts and feelings, my hurt and my anger.  And that was awesome.  My bff did all of this while getting ready for her daughter's wedding.  Tell me that's not awesome, I dare you.

Finally, I called my mom.  I miss her terribly.  More than I can express.  I explained what happened and she said that I don't know what His plan was.  More of the same, but from my mom.  Finally, I cracked.  "Mom, can't just one person say that this decision is wack?!  That it's crazy that it wasn't in my favor?  That it's unfair and wrong?!!!!"  God love her, my mom said "I can't do that because it was God's decision".  UGH!  I hate when she's right.  When everyone is right but me!  I know there's a reason.  I understand there's a reason.  I DON'T LIKE THE DECISION SO GIVE ME THE BLESSED REASON ALREADY!!!!!  Yea, he doesn't work like that.

So, here I sit, after two blissful days of signs that all is well and that I'm hearing God, dejected, spent and sad.  You know, the disciples didn't have it easy.  Things didn't go their way even when Jesus was among them.  They were asked to blindly trust.  I said I'd work on it, and then at the first opportunity, I failed miserably.   Which after the initial disappointment in myself, I realized wasn't so bad.  The disciples failed lots of times.  Look at Peter, he and Saul are my favorites.  I mean, I like the others, don't get me wrong, but I relate to those two a lot more.  They failed and they were His disciples and eventually, they got it right.  I'm His disciple too.  How could I expect not to fail, to be any better than they were?

Does this mean that I'm all happy with his choice for me now?  Um, no.  I'm still sad and God is still awesome.  We'll get on the same page eventually.

Until next time,
Please pray for my son who is on retreat.



Then, this morn

Thursday, May 23, 2013

God's Surprises

When you talk to God, you're praying.  But when He talks to you, people think you're nuts.

What happens when God talks to you?  I've been talking to God lately.  Telling him my woes and trials and praying for others.  I asked Him to send me billboards.  He and I both know how thick I can be sometimes.  Well, yesterday, He hit me smack in the head with a ton of billboards.  Let me explain...

I've been dealing with a few decisions of my own.  Choices really.  Choices that can be a bit scary.  The unknown usually is.  I've been trying to make a new bible study at church the last two weeks called the Daughters of Mary.  I finally made it last night.  As I walked in, I headed to the water fountain and as I turned the corner, there was the sacred heart of Jesus painting, hanging where it always is saying "Jesus, I trust in you".  I chuckled to myself and said "I'm workin' on it, I'm working on it."  I made it to the fountain and then to the study.    The first thing I read is the spiritual Gift of the Week:

We ask for the grace of courageous faith in the Trinity.   Mary had a courageous faith in the mystery of the Trinity.  In the love of the Father, she said yes to the Spirit and gave birth to Christ, and also, she guided the birth of the Church at Pentecost.

Immediately, I started laughing to myself.  I know I don't have a courageous faith!  Then we read a homily from Pope Francis.  Here is the excerpt that spoke to me.

Newness always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control, if we are the ones who build, program, and plan our lives in accordance with our own ideas, our own comfort, our own preferences.  This is also the case when it comes to God.  Often we follow him, we accept him, but only up to a certain point.  It is hard to abandon ourselves to him with complete trust, allowing the Holy Spirit to be the soul and guide of our lives in our every decision.  We fear that God may force us to strike out on new paths and leave behind our all too narrow, closed and selfish horizons in order to become open to his own.  Yet throughout the history of salvation, whenever God reveals himself, he brings newness and change, and demands our complete trust.  Are we open to "God's surprises"? Or are we closed and fearful before the newness of the Holy Spirit?

At this point, silent tears began to fall down my face.  Gods was speaking directly to me.  He knew exactly what has been going on with me.  He knows how I last blogged about blind trust in Him.  Reading this was extremely comforting.  It was through the Pope that God blatantly showed me that the decisions that have been turning in my head like a whirling dervish are good.  That I shouldn't let the fear of newness and getting out of my comfort zone keep me from making necessary decisions.  How often have I  not only shut the door, but locked it and pulled down the blinds to God's surprised?  He totally pegged me on my control freak nature and the feeling of security that comes with it.  However, God was not done talking with me yet.  We read John 16: 12-15.  Here is the excerpt that got me. "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now."  That right there is the answer to me constantly wanting to know God's plan!  My first thought was "how bad is it, if I'm not going to be able to bear it?"  But listening to these women talk, I learned that it is God giving me exactly what I need to get through exactly what I'm going through.  Just the right measure.  No more.  No less.

So, I left the bible study extremely elated.  Knowing that God has lots of surprises for me, I just have to open my hand and my heart to Him.  The first thing I did this morning was make a huge decision that was extremely out of my comfort zone.  I'll let you know how that goes.  Open hand and open heart, right?  I can do this, and you can too.   What is holding you back from God's surprises?  Are you a control freak like me?  Are you scared, like me?  You can do it.  Like Bill Murray says in "What About Bob?"  "baby steps".  We can do this!

Until next time,
Say a prayer.  Any prayer.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Howard Jones, Oklahoma, and God

I am an angry person.  Well, okay, that's not exactly true.  I can be an angry person and some of the time, when things don't go according to my newest plan, I get very angry.  I rant and rave and throw a hissy fit, much like a toddler.  When someone wrongs me, misjudges me, upsets me, etc, I have a target for my anger.  Sometimes I hold it in, but in my head, watch out, I am giving it to that person with both barrels!  What happens then, when, like Howard Jones says, "no one is to blame?"

Yesterday's events in Moore, OK has everyone praying and some who've lost love ones before, children even, sympathizing.  This is all good and well.  And, for a lot of us, when we feel helpless, it's the only way we know how to cope.  In this devastation, there is no one to blame.  No terrorist.  No bad guy.  No one who went postal.  No one out for revenge.  Nothing and no one.  So, with all of this devastation and loss, who do you blame?  Where do you put the anger?  God.  Yes, you heard me, I said God.

Inevitably, as it usually does when there is no one to blame, God gets the blame.  I will get asked 'How could He let this happen?'  'How can you follow a God who would allow such horrible act to happen?  To let children die?'  The answer to the first question is always the same.  I don't know.  I am not He (thank God, talk about a high pressure job!).  I don't begin to know what goes through His mind or why He makes decisions the way He does.  I cannot help you there.  For the second question, the answer is harder.  I follow Him because I love Him and He loves me.  There's always going to be 'why do bad things happen to good people' situations.  Everyday.  It's how we choose to deal with it I think, that matters.  And, quite a lot of time, I don't deal with things very well.   I don't necessarily 'blame' God for things, but lots and lots of time, I take my anger out on Him.  I rant, and rave, and throw my hissy fit.  I yell.  I tell Him how I think He wronged me.  I yell at Him "how could you let this happen!  Why couldn't you let things go MY way this time!"  And, my personal favorite when I yell at Him  "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!!!!!!"  And, most of the time, He never tells me what He was thinking.  I can tell you this though, that after all my yelling, I am spent.  I am not as angry.  I can tell you that looking back months after a fit, I can see how things worked better than I thought had He done things my way.  And, I don't always look back, who wants to see how they were wrong, yet again?  So, it comes down to this.  Trust.  Do I trust God?  Honestly?  Most days, yes.  I say most days because if I just said a blanket 'yes' that would be a total and utter lie.  Most days I do trust Him.  However, if I trusted Him completely, I would not have anger issues when things don't go my way (how Sinatra got to do things his way is beyond me).  I have not mastered that. 

There are days when I feel as close to God as air to my skin and I can quote scripture to express what I'm feeling.  Or, when my friends are down, or need help, a scripture magically appears in my head.  However, other times, I feel distant and I don't want to hear He has a plan.  I don't want His plan, I want mine.  That is when I have one of my anger fits.  I had one just about a week ago.  Trust is scary.  It makes me vulnerable, more so than I would like to be.  I mean, come on, I wear my heart on my sleeve and that's pretty vulnerable.  Blind trust however is a whole other level! 

I wish I had answers for you.  I wish I could take your pain (over any situation) away.  I wish I could make it better.  All I can tell you is that it's okay to yell at God.  It's okay to tell Him how you feel.  He doesn't want to be there for you just when things are going great.  He wants to be there for you always.

Until next time,
Hug your friends and family a little tighter (or even for the first time).


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Job the Musical!, Tom Petty, and Me

Tom Petty says "waiting is the hardest part".  He wasn't lying.  Sing it, Tom!  I'm cranky, crabby, and irritable.  I have a list of things I am trying to get done and nothing is happening.  Nothing is in my control right now and I hate that.  I hate, hate, HATE that!  I want what I want and I want it done NOW!  How hard is that to do!?  Hear that?  Listen.  That's the sound of God laughing at my plans. 

I've been praying and praying and praying.  I know God hears me.  I know this because over the sound of His laughter (okay, so He's not laughing that hard at me) He keeps telling me to wait!  Are you flippin kidding me!  You know how much I hate waiting...for my birthday, for my visits from Dad, for Christmas, wait, wait, wait!  UGH!  He's asking me to wait.  It would be one thing if He said "Gina, would you wait for me?" And I said "okay".  But He knows me well enough that I'd be all "okay, now hurry.  When are you getting here?  Are you almost here?"  So I would bug the ever loving crap out of Him.  So, He has me wait and sooner or later I figure out what He wants me to do (sometimes though, I'm so thick I really don't get it) and I go "aaaaaaaaahhhhhh haaaaaaaaa!"

God love my husband, he says yesterday "you don't seem happy".  So I tell him "I'm not happy" and tell him all the reasons why.  This makes my husband sad because there is nothing he can do to fix it.  I haven't been sleeping well with everything going on in my head.  So last night as I'm trying to go to sleep, I picture my swing.  At Montserrat, there's a bench swing outside of the dining hall.  That's my swing.  I spend a lot of time on it.  I pictured myself laying down on it like I like to do.  I could feel the wood arm against my back.  I pulled my hood over my head (I wear a hoodie because I don't like bugs and I'd rather the random stray one crawl over that than me) almost completely covering my head.  I laid on the swing like this many times at the retreat.  And before I knew it, I was asleep.  And I slept.  The first good nights sleep in about a week.  When I'm at the retreat and we have to picture our happy place and being with Jesus, more often than not, I picture my church.  I'm sitting in a pew next to Him with my head on His right shoulder.  Then, when I'm not at the retreat, I picture myself at the retreat and the peace I find there!  Weird I know. 

So, here's what God does, while I'm lamenting and staring in my own one act play "Job the musical!" He puts other people in my life who need me.  They just need me to listen.  Not to do anything, not to fix anything, just to listen to them.  And, while I do that, I pray for them.  And, while I'm concentrating on them, I don't think about ME.  This would be great if I could do this at the onset of my irritation of things that aren't going my way.  But I am stubborn.  George likes to say I need to let stuff roll of my back like a duck.  I told him I CAN'T do that.  I'm not like that.  I lead with my emotions.  So, it takes me a while, days even, to settle down.  God knows this about me and He loves me STILL!  Amazing, no?

Songs from "Job the Musical!": 

Don't tell me to count my blessings, I'm Angry!
God doesn't share (His plan)
Scream (don't tell me He has a plan)
Show me don't tell me (what you're plan is)
Why (Me?  Am I going through this?)
What do you want from me?
I haven't got time for the pain
I've got friends in low places
I just called to say I love you.

Until next time,
Pray for St. Joseph the worker.  Today is his feast day :D