Bruised

Goodness, life is hard sometimes isn’t it?
 
Last night I went to bed with a heart feeling as bruised as my black and blue booty.
 
Covid times just add an extra layer of what if’s to my ever wondering mind. Add that to a little unexpected chaos, uncomfortable growing pains, restless sleep, deeply hurting friends and hard conversations..I hit my pillow last night with a sense of grief and loss, wondering where my hope and faith are. How can I stand in the gap for others when I am not doing so for myself? I can’t.
 
Then…I got to wake up this morning. I went outside to see the bright sun peeking out and feel the warm air on my skin. I remembered…this waking to a new day is a privilege not to be taken for granted.
 
I took a hot shower while singing loudly and off key. The lyrics rolled out of my heart and off my tongue. I was surprised at the loudness of my own voice; yearning to be heard. Thank God no one is home and only God and the animals (poor animals) could hear my shower symphony.
 
I’m thankful AND I’m hurting. I’m learning AND I’m imperfect. I’m open AND I have healthy boundaries. I’m feeling stuck AND I’m capable of getting unstuck. I’m making choices AND not everyone is going to approve. I must honor my heart AND it sucks that this means displeasing people I love.
 
There are endless dichotomies. Ultimately, I know my heart, motives and intent better than any other human; I have the choices.
 
Today I will choose to honor my moments, make the best of them, treasure those closest to me and hold on to the little bit of hope and mustard seed of faith I still have. Today, this is what my brave looks like.
 
Reminder to self…bruises heal.

I’m Here.

So much time to think and think and think some more….
 
Today’s insight….
 
I graduated in December, 2020, with my Masters in Counseling Psychology. Until July, 2019, we had a couple of years to take the test required for LPC licensure.
 
In July, 2019, the regulations changed. That test had to be taken BEFORE a Masters person could go become a supervised candidate for LPC licensure. Bummer. Oh well.
 
My plan was to take the test at the end of February. Instead, we sold our home on February 14. (A significant date of beginnings and endings in my life, it seems).
 
I remained flexible, reminded myself that I was in competition with no one regarding when I took my test, and refocused on my own race. I decided that I would get moved asap and take the test in April.
 
Then…we all know what happened in March and April. Covid-19 became a part of our daily vocabulary and changed everything. I struggled with all of what everyone else struggled with. For a minute, I got a bit frustrated and frozen about the timing of all of this. Don’t judge…sometimes my inner 4 year old speaks louder than grown up me.
 
I still can’t take my test. It’s not being offered at this time and I don’t really know when it will be. I need to study more anyway because I’m way off track there. Still, I’ve been reminded that all things don’t occur according to my plan. Thank God for that.
 
Circling back to this moment. I am still working as a Case Manager for seniors in our community. I have continually said that it will be horribly hard for me to leave my true work family and clients. However, according to my own plans, this would’ve occurred already as I hopefully would’ve passed my test and moved on (to an LPC candidacy position).
 
In my version, I would’ve begun a new job and who knows with all of this hullabaloo if I’d even still have it. Instead, I am right where I belong. I am absolutely honored to be there for my clients, some of who I’ve worked with for 3 years. They are afraid and not always trusting. It is a gift to have a pre-existing relationship with them and be able to assist and serve them, even if it looks different. I have the safety, comfort and familiarity of my team at work, whom I love and adore. I am deeply grateful for all of this.
 
Since 2011, I have hung on to God’s promise in Joel 2:25. I don’t know much; yet I know this verse has felt so real to me. HE WILL RESTORE THE YEARS THE LOCUSTS HAVE EATEN. I don’t know all of His promises. I’m unsure how to interpret what I do know. Still, whatever He has promised me feels like it should be covered under this verse. God knows what the locusts have eaten away at in my spirit, and He knows what it means to bring restoration. Restoration according to His plan, not mine. There is tremendous comforting personal truth in these words for me.
 
I wish I could say that these words ended my doubts, resolved my trust issues and increased my belief 200%. I can say that I am so thankful to see God in this moment. I am glad I see His work in hindsight and that I am aware enough to realize that I’d like to trust Him with my future just as deeply.
 
I ask God questions such as; “Why did you have me go to school later in life if everyone is just going to get Covid anyways?” I go crazy with my what if’s and the tone in my head is a little edgy. And a little more edgy until internally, I’m a little over the edge, lol! (But not really lol)
 
I’m here. Praying, wondering, believing, doubting, feeling all the feels and shutting every feeling off.
 
Where are you?

My heart’s response…what’s yours?

My version in response to this…

“I am praying for you.”

Translation: You matter and I am concerned. Practicing the art of surrender and trust is so hard for me whether it’s to, “trust the process”, “trust the universe”, “trust the pole”, or anything else. This includes surrendering you and your outcome. I personally choose to pray to God because my past experiences, my faith, and my heart make me believe this is the most loving and viable option.

“If you don’t get COVID-19, we will claim God shielded.”

Translation: I won’t. I will struggle with why some people did and some people didn’t. I might wonder why a person ignores every request to social distance. I might wonder why they still got it even if they seemed to do everything right. I likely will never understand. Whether I believe in God or not, I will resolve that no human ever has all the answers….so we create our own. This gives us an illusion of control where we truly have none. But humanly, we believe an answer will make us feel better. In the meantime, I will continue to wrestle w God and human reasoning, just as I always do. The answers will be my own, for this is my journey.

“If you do get it and recover, we’ll claim God healed.”

Translation: if you get it and recover, I will be eternally grateful. I will again struggle with why some people got it and recovered while some didn’t. I will choose to believe that, “Jesus wept“ while we wept. I will remember that life and breath are precious and none of us know when our first or last days will be… This matters if a big semi hits us, if we take our own lives, if there is cancer or heart disease, if there is just no reason…Not one human makes it out alive. We can choose gratitude or we can choose constant struggle. Personally, I usually choose a little of both. I don’t know how to do different than that, I myself am human.

“If you die, we’ll explain that God had a reason..”

Translation: this is the biggest copout religious people ever use. I don’t believe God controls us like checker pieces, but I used to. I believed that we were like goldfish swimming around in his tank. Now I believe the saying that I’ve heard so many times. “We are not humans having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings, having a human experience.” This life is not permanent, no matter your belief system.

It is possible that the same results are possible by praying to a telephone pole. Again, my life has led me to this place and I believe the deep joy I experience in the midst of shit is the result.

I recently read that we don’t pray to change God, we pray to change ourselves.

If the same happens by praying to a telephone pole, you change….then good for you or whomever.

I’ve tried endless options as far as beliefs and religion go.

I don’t like religion and I don’t like rules around it. I do like relationship and relationship with God has gotten me through so very much in my life.

Some people can call that a crutch and others say “God is good”.

I believe the latter and I believe that I serve a God who loves us more than I could ever imagine.

None of that changes the fact that I am human and I am infallible. Whether I’m a believer or not, I never get all the answers.

I wonder if life is less about the outcome and more about the journey.

That said, I respect the journey..your’s, mine, and everyone else’s.  I’m only walking in my shoes.