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Archive for May, 2018

When He calls

aimeesaratoga.jpgGod isn’t always where you expect. Nor is His calling for you ever stagnant. You want to know what your “true calling” is? Its growth. Spiritual, connectedness, growth, that you continue to evolve until you have reached your maximum potential in this life. Clearly, when I was eight and died, I had not reached mine. So here I am at forty-one pressing on my friends.

After a particularly hard week a few weeks ago, I went to my hometown church in hopes of finding solace. Instead I found a familiar and typical pull, that I am to seek Him elsewhere. This frustrates those I love around me, since we often get settled into a church community, and then I am moved by the holy spirit, to go some where new. It usually starts with a slight hint, which I have had for about a year now. Then, when I try to ignore the gentle pull, its a very clear urge of obedience. And I go. This happens not only with church, but people, places, and things. When it is no longer serving my purpose, I leave.

I entered into another difficult week following this. I was discouraged because I was not only in a difficult season of my life (anyone working in a school system can agree that the end of the year is always the hardest), but now my church home was no longer my calling. Luckily this was leading into a long weekend, which my husband and I planned to go away. My initial pull was to be in nature and connect with the universe. So that is exactly what we did, and headed to Saratoga Springs, NY.

On Sunday, I had planned to find Jesus near a waterfall, but it was pouring rain. Discouraged, I healed my soul with a tasty brunch. On our way back to the hotel, a few very friendly men greeted us with good mornings as they stood on the side walk by a sign. As we returned our greetings, we noticed a familiar sound coming out of the comedy club, it was worship music. I’d like you to know, on my way to brunch I had a moment when I noticed the comedy clubs door open, and thought who in God’s name is practicing stand up comedy at 9am on Sunday morning. I’ll tell you who my friends- Jesus is! So I kept walking. And walking. And saying to my husband things like, “Do you want to go to church since its raining?”, “Do you think they are Christians like us down there or some type of crazy comedy club cult?”. Finally my husband demanded we turn around and go back.

I preface this with, as a social worker, I hate to socialize in new places. I was anxious. I let my husband who is completely opposite, take the lead. I followed him into the comedy club and met Next Level Church. It was small and intimate. The pastor that day delivered to me exactly what I felt the Lord has been calling me to do. You see, it isn’t only church I have been feeling the tipping point about- its over many facets of my life. One being a yearning, and great desire to share the Jesus I know and love through my written word. The Pastor pointed out, if it is Jesus calling you to do something, you are either to rest in it, or to work at it. Resting in hopes Jesus will write my story isn’t going to happen. Working and making the time to write, I can do, and He can make the rest happen. His desire, his timing. Not only for what we know we are made for, but even in the small things of our daily life, as simple as church in a comedy club while on vacation.

Jesus is a wonderful comedian. The great reminder that it isn’t about the four walls I worship Him in, but about the relationship I align myself with. This can be done in my home, in my car, amongst friends over wine, at a hike in the forest, or by golly, in a comedy club.

He is also very serious. Humans don’t enjoy the word obedience. It is as if we are giving up our control and freedom when leaning into the word. However, even when I have had the lump in my throat of “MY GOD I don’t want to do this”, if Jesus is behind it, it always, ALWAYS, delivers exactly what I need.

So as you may have guessed the rain stopped after church. I went for that hike. I heard God speak to me while I walked up the river to the waterfall. I repeated a line that set my heart ablaze years ago, over and over in my head. It was: “set a fire down in my soul that I can contain, and I can’t control, I want more of you God, I want more of you God”. Warning- do not say this unless you mean it- because Jesus will absolutely do this. This is the sweet spot my friends. When you have no idea what our almighty God is up to for you, but it is always in your favor when you go blindly in faith.

When your core yearns for you to go, you go. When your have a knowing that a friendship or relationship no longer is serving you, let it end. When you no longer feel something is meant for you, it is not. Pray on it. Either wait or work. You must not only invite Him to move in your life, you must allow Him too. Even if this means a comedy club in a random town. He made that inner compass of yours, don’t second guess it.

As always, give yourself grace knowing He has made you perfectly as is. He loves you as so. He will wait until you get it right.

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The wilderness is an unknown space, that beckons you in. A place we can’t see through to the other side to assure us safety, because of all the glorious mountains to climb and pines to walk around. We aren’t always prepared for the weather changes or the treacherous hike. Somehow, we take a deep breath and start walking the walk.

When He calls, I listen and deliver. His greatest desire is always my first priority. My obidence is often unwavering, but never comfortable. Which is my never ending human experience question: Why Lord is your calling never comfortable?

I wish I could always be obident to His desire in my pajamas from home, or with people that I already know and accept me. Instead He calls me by name out into the wilderness to experience the unknown.

I always found it interesting that devote Christians felt they could only associate themselves with other Christians. Years ago I remember a devoted Mom tell me she wouldn’t let her kids have a play date with another family because the Mom was an atheist, and the Father abandoned his Catholic faith. This to me speaks volumes of what is wrong with organized religion these days. For if Jesus took this stance He wouldn’t have had any followers! We learn from eachother by experiencing life beside one another. When we are immersed in one dynamic being the same, there is no room for growth. Growth happens to be the sweet spot of Gods glory!

My job isn’t to fill people with scripture and a wagging finger while saying things like “you should …”, my job is to live my life as an accurate reflection of Him, and inspire people to want to know the Jesus I know. Doing this “job” requires me to engage in discussions I may not want to have, and go to places/spaces I would rather not be in.

You see, I often suffer from extreme anxiety. The surge of it turns into a tidal wave of enmourous pain and suffering. It swallows me whole. Yet, you aren’t gonna find me hiding in a corner refusing to try. It’s not an option, and completely what the enemy is counting on me to do. Sometimes- I will pause- everyone has their limits, but I’ll always try.

I used to be the girl that never showed up. I made last minute lame excuses for not being able to make that dinner, or party. I’d say things like “I have enough friends”,or “they won’t get me”. Then one day out of a life experience, and pushing through anxiety, I realized life happens in the spaces we try to excuse ourselves from.  I decided to be a show upper, and to give people a chance. This requires a softness that my deeply empathic self often worries about.

I have not only watched God move within others, but He has continued to transform me. Little by little, I can see the path He had showed me being cleared of the obstacles I always declared were in the way.

Recently, a dear friend of mine said I couldn’t write these words in this space, and not expect people to feel a certain way or want to talk about it with me. This aligned with a sermon I had watched about how our anointings from God are our “usual” every day self, that we down play who we are. Why would anyone want to talk to me about Jesus- when I am average and broken too? My ability to hear the Lords voice is “normal” to me. The visions I see are no big deal. However, my “normal” could be someone’s break through, if I allow myself to rise to my ordained potential. The devil is counting on me to downplay my blessings. The devil is counting on me to be debilitated by my anxiety over my actions and intentions for God.

Lesson being: the most powerful things in life happen when we exceed what we thought was our potential, get out of our comfort zone, try our best in less desirable situations, and declare our existence in the gifts God has given us over the perceptions the devil is feedings is.

So when you are called out into the wilderness: GO. Embrace in the not knowing of what to expect, but knowing you will be a better person for it while obident to the God calling on you.

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26908119_10155347841714639_9186842244593627689_n“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be Kind. Always.”

I’ve been blessed by the kindest comments of people’s perceptions of me. “You are always so positive”, “You have quite the social life”, “People gravitate towards you”,”I wish I had the God you have”, “You are so lucky”, and so on and so forth. What an honor it is when peoples eyes gaze upon you with such uplifting ideals and values of your core. Sometimes these things are true, and others they are mere illusions.

What they don’t see is the day I am laying in bed wondering how I will survive it. My body aches so badly I can barely move. I am so exhausted, that espresso has no impact, and although I slept ten hours the night before, it felt like one. My stomach is off because it is being pumped with a handful of antibiotics that are wrecking havoc inside it. I feel like I have a fever, yet I don’t. The chills, the sweats, each take turn taking a dance within me. I feel faint and dizzy. My legs give out in public and I have to literally talk myself through from the door to the car. I am in a fog. My memory that was once known as the very best, is now often fuzzy and confused. All because a tic bit me, I had no bullseye, and had no clue for a very long time.

Thank God it has been found. Although the medical profession continues to not see it as the epidemic it is. They also think a thirty-day supply of antibiotics will “cure” it, and think it’s a new bite when it comes back in a few months or a few years. As it lingers in the body it gets worse and worse, and steals so much of what makes you wonderful. When untreated, it serves and copycats a million other “treatable” things, when in fact it’s not that at all.

I found this out about myself thanks to my very sick son. My oldest who has Autism, developed some extreme rage and behaviors. The psychiatric medications were like band aids, sometimes working, sometimes bleeding through. He was given a range of diagnosis, but nothing was quite fitting. For two years, I can confidently say, my biggest joy for my husband and I, was that we kept him alive. We took him to so many medical professionals that kept saying they couldn’t quite figure him out. His depression was severe for a child nine, and ten years old. Often he looked as if he was on the brink of a psychiatric break. Seeing as my degree is in mental health, I often beat myself up over the fact I could not pin point what I was seeing, or save him from all the pain he was in. For awhile there, I thought this was a lost cause, and that I would never see my true son again.

Those in my inner circle either hugged and loved me, or slowly backed away. Its true what they say, you find out who your true friends are in your hardest of times. You would think when you share with friends that your greatest achievement is keeping your kid alive, they would show up! Mental health issues are so confining, and lonely. If it was a physical disease, I am sure my doorbell would’ve been rung with dinner, or actually maybe not.  It was heartbreaking to learn that some only wanted to know you in the happy perspective, and not through the hard stuff. Value those that show up for the hard stuff! They are few and far between.

I learned the words PANDAS/PANS a few years ago when most thought it sounded crazy, and not a “thing”. This “thing” that the overall, the medical community still chooses to  question, and not treat correctly, is not only a thing- but nearly cost me everything! This past January 2018, my entire family tested positive for some type of co-infection, lyme, or strep- some with one, some with all. That is all FIVE of us- sick, living in Conneticut where Lyme disease was named- but what epidemic? My oldest with it in his brain, and the reason we were seeing such extreme concerns that we couldn’t figure out. We are all on long-term antibiotics thanks to an amazing doctor. The results have been life changing. I actually feel like I have my son back after two years!!! My daughter had lyme, co-infections, and strep so bad, that the doctor said she was a ticking time bomb of PANDAS/PANS too! My two youngest had strep all the time and I wondered why that was, with no answers from the medical community other than ten-day antibiotics! My personal symptoms of severe anxiety and depression that no antidepressant worked on in the past, now lifted. Sadly the doctors that actually treat this correctly, and the labs that test blood correctly, are all done out-of-pocket thanks to our corrupt medical system that is all about the money-making business, and not about the cure. I stand to wonder, what if a huge chunk of our mental health concerns could be simply cured by antibiotics what would that do to our pharmaceuticals and psychiatric departments? I had been tested for Lyme, seven times in the past, all negative, done by the least reliable but most common Lyme test given in the United States. That means, it was years I was being seen as negative for this disease, while it grew inside of me.

I have learned an abundant amount of lessons on this journey. My most important being, never giving up hope, or faith. Also, just because someone has a Dr. before their name, doesn’t mean they are fully informed, open to learning, or correct in diagnosing what is complex at hand. That I am stronger than I ever thought I could be, and that the power of prayer works. That although modern medicine can “cure” this, it is an ongoing roller coaster ride that I would not wish upon my very worst enemy.

Personally, I have been able to show up and give my all at a job that takes all of me, while being treated myself. This in itself, has floored me. I always thought I was weak and fragile. It is amazing how the worst storms of your life show you fragility isn’t an option when you need to be ironclad. Our house looks like a pharmacy dosing out insane amount of supplements and antibiotics. However, we are better, more present, and finally- FINALLY- able to leave the house. Most importantly, I not only know the what — but the WHO — matters most.

And the WHO still see me as positive, loving, and wonderful. While holding me while I am broken and a mess.

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