Thursday, October 9, 2008

Three Simple Words...

Trust in God. Three simple words, yet the most challenging words at times. Why is that? I know it's because we're human and all, but really? When we are young children we are totally dependent and trusting of our parents, yet when we get older, we sometimes find trusting in God to be challenging. Maybe it's fear of the unknown, or not being able to control certain outcomes, maybe both. Maybe some people don't really know the power of God. I have a couple of events that have happened in my life that I would like to share. They all took place at a prayer group at St. Mary's. Here's my stories....
I have been brought up Catholic and I am very comfortable in the Catholic ways meaning the gifts of the Holy Spirit. My grandfather use to be a deacon at St. Mary's and I often heard him and my grandmother speak in tongues, so this was the usual for me. In the summer of 2007, I began to regularly attend charasmatic prayer meetings at the church that my parent's lead, however we all knew God was the actual leader. All they do at these prayer meetings is sing praises to God, and after each song, whomever feels lead to do so will speak in tongues, sometimes prophecize and sometimes decipher the prophecy. This one evening, I began to pray aloud in tongues. (I believe that God gives us the gift of tongues as a way that our inner spirit can express or talk to the Holy Spirit in the most intitmate way possible.) As I was doing so, a picture came to my mind. It was very clear, yet I kept thinking that my contacts were messing up, you know, trying to make a scientific reason for what I was seeing. In my picture was a beach. It was sunset and I could clearly see the sand. I saw footprints in the sand and a man walking down the beach. The man was wearing some type of cloak or robe. Also, there was a dove flying in the distance. I could see the waves slowly coming to shore as it was an extremely peaceful evening. I kept asking myself, why am I seeing this picture? Am I making it up or what? At that exact moment, I heard my dad's voice and he began to describe a picture, or vision as he called it, of the exact same beach, sunset, sand with footprints and dove and the man walking. I began to burst in uncontrollable tears for at that moment I knew that God was using me as his tool. At that moment I had God's full attention and he had mine, simultaneously. My dad went on to say these words: "Follow in my footsteps and I will give you peace." I was balling like baby so much that I couldn't even utter a confirmation that I had seen the same vision. Soon after that moment, a lady began to talk and explained that she felt that God was using those words to talk to her for she was going through a rough time in her life. I will never forget that evening.
The second most unforgetable evening I had at this prayer group came a couple of months later. For this meeting, some of the Sisters from Prayer Town were able to attend. We began to sing songs of praise and at the end of one particular song, I felt lead to speak in tongues. As I did another vision came to me and this time I knew I better speak aloud of it because it could mean something to someone else, or confirm what someone else is seeing themselves. After I described what I had seen, a couple of the other Sister's confirmed what I had seen, and then gave even more detail and they hit my vision right on the money. We had all seen a picture of a river or stream, flowing peacefully, and a lady sitting in the shade under a tree, and she was drinking from the river. After we had prayed a little bit on this vision, a lady in the room said she felt lead to read the following verse from John 7:38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” [ Or “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from the heart of anyone who believes in me.’”] WOW! THAT WAS TOTALLY AMAZING!!! I was so overflowed with joy and happiness and I was so humbled that God would use me, of all people, me, as his tool. Why me? Later that evening we were given an opportunity to go and pray with a Sister and a couple others, for whatever we needed prayer for. By this time I was completely broken, so I thought. Up until this night, I had been carrying around baggage from my past. You see, I had made a choice in my life when I was a teenager that I didn't need to wait until I was married to have sex. My friends were doing it, and they seemed fine, so why couldn't I? After all, this would show my boyfriend that I really did love him if I gave him the very most of me. After losing my virginity I soon realized that by giving him the most of me, I felt like I had lost a huge part of me. From that point, I somewhat spiralled down further and further from "me". TV portrays sex as not an intimate time between a husband and a wife, but rather catagorizes it the same as chewing a piece of gum, or driving a car, it's something everyone does and it's not that big of a deal. That's so sad.
Ohh how I was carrying around that guilt 10 years later. I felt that because of choices I had made in my past, I was being punished at that time. That's hard for me to explain to you, but maybe you understand what I'm trying to express. I walked into the room and the Sister asked me what I needed prayer for. I hesitated because I was with my dad and my grandpa who is a retired deacon, and I didn't know the Sister either so sharing something so intimate was a challenge. So I thought I'll leave it vague, I'll ask for guidance. So that's what I did. Then the Sister and my dad and my grandpa placed there hands on me and began to pray over me in tongues. I also opened my hands and began to pray the tongues my heavenly Father gave me. Then all of a sudden I began to cry and I felt so unworthy of this prayer. I wanted to get out of that chair, leave that room and pretend none of this had ever happened, but I felt glued to the chair, I couldn't get up, my body felt so heavy. I began to cry even more as I realized God had me right where me wanted me, truely broken. I began to have flashbacks of the choices I made 10 years prior and began to feel so ashamed and dirty. Just then the Sister stopped praying in tongues and said aloud," Brandy, why are you crying tears of sadness? Cry tears of joy for the Lord says for you have been forgiven by Him. You have to forgive yourself. The Lord doesn't want you to be burdened by these mistakes of the past any more. He wants you to rejoice in his presence, have a peace about the past because he has forgiven you. He forgave you a long time ago. He loves you Brandy. No more tears of sadness but tears of joy for you have been forgiven." (Now, can you explain to me how a woman I had never met knew that I needed to hear those exact words whenever I asked for a prayer of guidance?? Truely a miracle from God.) I wept even more but it was like a peaceful cry. Then my dad's hand and my grandpa's hand grew hot to the touch, felt like someone was putting heat pad on my head and on my shoulder where they were touching me. And just like that, I felt a sense of freedom I hadn't felt in 10 years. I felt so light, as if I was no longer glued to that chair and about to fly away, but the hands of the Sister and my dad and grandpa were holding me down. I felt a surge of calmingness flow through my body. I could smell the spirit, feel the spirit all around and inside of me. I came to the realization that it was Satan that had been controlling my feelings of being punished in the present day for my sins of the past. Once I realized that, the bars were broken and I could then begin to rebuild a relationship with myself and love myself again because God still loved me and had forgiven me years ago, why couldn't I do the same for me? Afterall, we all know that we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. I walked out of that prayer meeting a new woman. I now hold my head higher and my's so much more than I could've ever imagined. My faith and trust in God has gotten me through some tough times I've encountered this past year. Trust in God.....three simple words I now understand. God Bless.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

So here's Thursday and I am looking positive towards a Friday:) This week actually flew by for me. I think it's cause we've had something to do every night this week instead of our usual go home and rest after school. My oldest son got his report card yesterday. I was really nervous to look at it considering the grades he was bringing home. Much to my delightful surprise, he had A's and B's. I was soo proud of him and I could tell he was proud of himself too. He also got the balls to pull out this tooth that had been dangling for quite some time now. He was so scared to pull it out because he thought it might hurt, he cried the entire time he was trying to yank it. After 45 minutes of debating about it, he finally did it. In the meantime, my daughter was in the background telling "R" (my oldest son) to quit being a baby and just pull it out cause she didn't cry at all when her's came out. It was kind of humorous.
Well I seem to have somewhat of a block of what to say today. God Bless.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I'm a Survivor:)

So I made it to Saturday. Whew. I knew that yesterday would have to end sooner or later. And I must say, today is going much smoother:) Probably feels that way cause I was able to catch up on some sleep. Also my daughter is doing much better. She is quite the survivor herself. I have done some thinking and I have come to terms with yesterday. I let my focus change from pleasing God to trying to please myself and others. But when you are attacked like I was yesterday, it's so easy to do get distracted, wouldn't you say? It's so easy to let worldly matters consume your every being. I have recently learned that I have a habit of letting other people's problems become my own. I'm a fixer. Know anyone else like that? I don't like to see other's struggle so in a sense if I try to fix other's situations, I feel like I'm helping take the burden off them. What a nasty habit. One of my favorite saying is "Stop telling God how big your storm is. Instead, tell your storm how big your God is". I have that written on a card in my bathroom so I see it every day. But some days I just go through the motions of reading it and not really taking to heart what it means. My father is big time journalor(sp?) He goes to adiration quite frequently and writes down what he hears our Father telling him at that moment. He lets me read it and I can't seem to forget what he wrote down one morning in his journal. It went something like this.....
Ever notice how a bird is constantly on a mission; whether to gather food for it's young or itself, or to gather twigs and materials to make a nest. It never takes it's focus off the mission. A bird does not fly around randomly, but always has a mission and will not rest until that mission is complete.
Now, if you think about this, it's very true. It is so easy for us to get distracted with our worldly matters that we forget what the mission is, to seek God's mission for our lives for the greater good of his Kingdom. Now, how easy was it for me to take all the storms I encountered yesterday and allow them engulf me with frustration and stress? Pretty darn easy. I think it's only human that we do allow things to distract us. We are human. But I think what's important is that we are able to recognize that we are or were attacked and we need to redirect our focus to our Lord. He wants us to give Him our struggles, our worries, our anxieties, our frustrations and everything else that prohibits us from walking with Him. I believe this is something that we strive to do everyday. Some days it is easier than others, but the sun will always come up the next day and we will have that opportunity to either carry the burden with us from day to day, or to give it to God. Hmm...I find this writing to be very soothing to my soul. It's as if God is talking to me and telling me what to write and talking to me at the same time. I hope someone else finds this assuring and encouraging.

Friday, September 26, 2008

TGIF? Says who?

Whatever happened to the days of looking forward to Friday??? The thrill of leaving work or school and knowing you have 2.5 days of pure freedom. Well the thrill of having the weekend is still here for me, however, Friday's are beginning to become my least fav day. For whatever reason, my past 2-3 Friday's have been drama, drama, drama; whether it involves myself or my family or friends from work, i'm about to begin a campaign to do away with Fridays! Not really, just frustrated because from my point right now, i just have to wonder, how many more emotional blows am I going to receive? Let me elaborate a little...if you care to read....
This day started out like the past couple of Fridays, I'm feeling exhausted from the troubles of the week. By troubles, I mean frustration from a couple of chittlins from my class. My Friday's I go into feeling like I've done a bunch of correcting children all week, especially a few for the same things multiple times a day, and I'm wore out. But what's to be expected when you are working with 1 year olds to almost 3 year olds? Big developmental difference. You're expected to teach the same curriculum to all children, yet 1 year olds have no vocabulary, no sense of personal space, and no desire to work alone. You must be with those children the entire work time if you want them to accomplish anything. Then you have the 2 year olds; willing to work and do for the most part, but their fav words are "no" and "mine". To add to it, you have the responsibility of teaching them to potty in the toilet. If you have children then you know that's no easy task. So I guess in all, we have about 8 2's who are working on potty training. Then there's those couple who are a month or two short of being 3. They are so bored with the curriculum because they know how to do the work provided, so they begin to mimic the younger children or act out for attention because they see that the younger children are receiving attention for their actions whether it be possitive or negative attention. However, you can't tend to everyone at the same time so you begin to feel overwhelmed, at least I do. Did I mention that neither of the almost 3 year olds are close to being potty trained? Do you know how disgusting and extremely frustrating it is to clean a big kid's rear end after they have messed their soggy pull up and you just went to the bathroom with all the children about 10 minutes prior? AHHHHH!!!!! Someone pour me a cold one!
So I finally get the nerve to talk to our director about a particular child. I hate talking to this lady cause she constantly talks down to me, but being the person I am, I take it cause I hate conflict. (This is something I am working on) I explain to her the behavior problems of this particular child and she insists on documenting and such, then decides to tell me, in not so many words, but words I heard come out of her mouth, that my own son is not exactly doing what he should be doing either. I was but I wasn't expecting her to say something about my son's behavior, but yet at the same time I was blind-sided. I knew that if he was having problems his teachers would inform me of them. While this conversation is going on, my daughter is in the room crying because she has a headache. Her teacher had sent her down from her class to come see me about her headache and I decided to keep her in my room so she could lay down. Then before i knew it, she was throwing up in the trash can. My teacher partner was doing her best to keep the other children entertained with their snack and trying to get them cleaned and such as it was time to start getting the children ready to go home. I am actually glad she threw up because I was on the verge of tears and I just wanted to get out of there and her puking was the perfect excuse. The past two weeks I have been doubting my parenting abilities with my so called "problem child" and I have been frustrated about it any ways. So to hear my director say that I wasn't doing enough at home to correct his behavior just made me feel like a failure. That's a pretty crappy feeling. I also felt she was saying, once again in not so many words, that since I can't control my own child of course I can't control others. Once again, making me feel like a failure as a teacher.
So as I got home I was going through my son's graded papers and what did I find??? C's, D's and F's. That just added to it. Of course I had to sit and talk with my oldest about his grades and find out what is going on to distract him so much that he would come from being an A B student to these C's and D's and F's. Well, while we are talking about his grades, my "trouble maker" of a son comes in and shows me he has just broken a movie I had bought on our way home from school. I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT!!! ( I think it's time for another cold one) My daughter is still puking at this time and crying cause her head hurts, and then my phone rings. It's my husband informing me that his brother had just left a retreat before it ended. He didn't even stay a day. And to think we helped pay for that! $100 bucks thrown away. All the prep that went into him going...getting a baby-sitter so we could take him to send off...(Ginger, thanks again:)...what an ungreatful selfish thing to do. So no wonder I'm sitting here with my stomach in knots huh?
So to end this venting...i must go cause my sick daughter just threw up on the bathroom floor cause she didn't make it the toilet on time....TGIF,.,...whatever

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Two Years Later....

So it was January of 2006. We were living in our first house that we had bought. Had been there about 2 years. My kiddos call it our "old yellow house" due to the fact that we painted the soffit and facia yellow to go along with the red brick. My husband and I were getting ready to go and attend a funeral of a young kid who passed away. We were somewhat friends with the parents and wanted to go for support. I got dressed, fixed my hair just so, did my make up and then went to put on my jewelry. As I opened my jewelry box to put on my wedding ring, IT WAS GONE! I didn't totally freak out at first, just thought I needed to look elsewhere. I searched the usual places I could've put it, in the bathrooms or in the kitchen, yet no ring. A little bit of panic started to settle in and I started to wonder if one of our kids had done something with the time, our oldest was 5, our second child was 3, and then our youngest, well, he wasn't even crawling yet. My daughter, the 3 year old, loved to get into my jewelry box and play with whatever she found sparkly. After looking for my ring for about 30 minutes, I was sure my daughter had done something with the ring. Before I knew it it was time to head to the funeral. I thought to myself that I would just look for my ring whenever I got back home. However, after a couple hours and days of looking, I decided to come to terms that my ring was just lost. Possibly flushed down the toilet or something, just lost.
Later that year, we decided to put our house up for sale because we had started to outgrow our cute little yellow house. I couldn't help but to think in the back of my mind that surely my wedding ring would show up whenever we moved all of our stuff out. But yet, I was disappointed ring. We ended up stuffing all of our belongings in the garage of our new home. As the months went by I began to forget about my wedding ring. My hubby, being the sweetie he is, bought me a different ring to substitute as my wedding ring. It wasn't much, but it was great to have another ring on my finger.
Eventually, we got settled in our new home around Jan of 07. Believe it or not, I would still look for my ring as a habit...just hoping and praying that it would just show up, even though we had moved from our yellow house. I mean, what are the odds of it just showing up??? Let's just say the odds were in my favor one day....
Christmas was starting to fill the air and the holidays were fast approaching. I was stepping down into our bedroom when low and behold MY WEDDING RING was laying right on the floor, directly in my path, as if it was put there specifically at that moment, waiting for me to notice it. I did a double take and I couldn't believe it! Almost as if I had been looking for it for so long that I could've been possibly imaging it there....but when I went to pick it up, it was for real! I screamed with excitement, bewilderment and more excitement! My hubby came running in the room and when he saw the ring, he couldn't believe his eyes either. Almost two years later, my wedding ring shows up in my room. Now you answer this question for Even after we had moved, how did my ring find me? How did my ring suddenly appear?? I can honestly say I believe my faith and perserverance in prayer did the trick. Never doubt the power of prayer!!
I can honestly say I never have and never will again:)