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Monday, January 30, 2012

Handle with Care (Pt. 2)


“People just don't know what I'm about...
They haven't seen what's there behind my smile...
There's so much more of me I'm showin out...
(These are the pieces of me)

When it looks like I'm up...sometimes I'm down
I'm alone even when people all around
but that don't change the happiness I found...
(These are the pieces of me)

So when you look at my face...
You gotta know that I'm made of everything love and pain.
(These are the pieces of me)
Like every woman I know...
I'm complicated for sho...
But when I love, I love til there's no love no more...
(These are the pieces of me)…” 
Pieces of Me - Ledisi

Yes, it is clear that I’m back on my music kick again this week.  My first blog dealt with how God handles us carefully, even when it feels as if life is killing us. God does indeed know how to properly insulate us against the pressures of this journey. I’m certain that we can learn lessons about how to treat one another if we would just examine how God handles us.  It doesn’t matter the socioeconomic status, level of education, marital status, gender, religious affiliation…we all struggle with something. There are areas where we are broken, struggling, bruised and confused. I’m unsure as to who first coined the phrase, “Hurt people, hurt people and broken people, break people”, but it is a harsh truth. We offend and we are offended. I’ve come to learn that when we offend or are offended, oftentimes it’s a result of the broken/bruised areas of our lives that we have avoided or refused to admit exists.  At some point, we must confront these areas if we are to be made whole and stop the cycles continuing to live in hurt as well as hurting others.  I love this song by Ledisi because it shows the complexities of our lives.  We can experience loneliness in the midst of a crowd. When it looks like we have it all together, we are sometimes operating in “fake it til we make it” mode. The cover of her cd is also genius.  It is a puzzle picture of her face which is still being put together. We are still works in progress. The picture that’s being put together will reveal who we are; it is made up of all of victories and defeats, who we’ve loved and who we lost, our greatest fears and biggest dreams.

Writing this blog compels me to evaluate my own relationships and experiences. I’m drawn to a moment when I facilitated a small group at church.  The author of the book asked us to write a letter to self we were ten to twenty years ago. This is an excerpt from my letter “…you will learn and you will grow…you will learn that while the relationship may not last, the lesson will, you will learn to see in yourself what others see and sometimes what they cannot…While there are some moments that will challenge everything (and sometimes everybody) you believe in, know that you will make it. I’m amazed at your resilience…When you are challenged there is something I want you to remember…Remember God always sends people to come alongside to be a support, remember to seek those little things that warm your heart when life gets cold, remember that every day you survive brings you closer to your victory/destiny, remember to laugh (being silly is one of the things you do best) and oh yes, remember to flirt with the cute guy.  Veronica, there is a community who is waiting for you, they will embrace your story and your gifts and you will in turn embrace their stories and their gifts. You will be amazed at the new home you will find, so much so that it won’t matter who walked away or what you lost.”

This process revealed to me areas of tremendous growth, but it also showed areas that are still underdeveloped. It revealed why I offend others and why I’ve been offended.  It made me smile, but it also made me shed a few tears. It forced me to vacillate between introspection, retrospection and extrospection.  I once again came to the conclusion that “Hurt people, hurt people and broken people, break people.” It’s up to the individual to decide if they want to remain in that state or move toward healing/wholeness. I choose healing.  In healing, I must forgive myself and others.  In healing, I must be honest about what I chose to allow and the red flags I ignored. In healing, I must learn the lesson so as to not repeat the course. In healing, I discovered that people (self included) can only give what they have to give. What will you choose? I encourage each of you to write a letter to yourself.  I encourage you to discover and remember. Discover what experiences have brought you to your current space. Discover what is making up your picture. Remember that others are too discovering what makes up her/his picture. Remember to handle each other with care, even in times when tough love is necessary – let’s remember to not break what’s already fragile or leave bruises. Remember to not only handle others carefully, but treat your own soul/self with a special care.  You not only need it, you deserve it!!!

As God continues to divinely orchestrate the pieces of my puzzle, I continue to sing….

“So when you look at my face...
You gotta know that I'm made of everything love and pain.
(These are the pieces of me)
Like every woman I know...
I'm complicated for sho...
But when I love, I love til there's no love no more...
(These are the pieces of me)

I'm a woman...A woman... a woman, woman, woman
Yes I'm a woman, a woman…
these are the pieces of me... Yeaahhh”


Abounding in Love and Growing in Grace,


Veronica







Friday, January 13, 2012

Missing God

This is a devotional that I was honored to have published in Journey to Wholeness: The Immersion by Dr. John E. Guns.  I hope it blesses you!!!

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek Him" Hebrews 11:6 NIV

This passage urges those who encounter it to understand the premise of accessing God --faith.  Critical to the implementation of faith is that we believe God exists and rewards those who seek His presence.

While visiting the hair salon one day, I was reading a book for a homework assignment. I came across a passage that caused me pause. Author Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz wrote, "True spirituality has to do with living a reflective life, knowing that we are guided by God from within, that we are loved and admired by God. This God who falls in love with us over and over again...waits for us to reciprocate."

As I reflected on the words of the author and the goodness of God in my own life, I became aware of the times we miss (overlook) God.  God's presence was so real to me at that moment, but yet everyone else was absorbed in the happenings of the salon.  I was greatly moved by the heavenly visitation, but grieved by the lack of awareness. I was convicted.  How many times have I missed God? Have I been so busy and so overwhelmed that I have overlooked the divine? God falls in love with us over and over again. The proof exists in the new mercies we receive every morning. As people of faith, we must seek God. We must look for God's presence everyday in various ways, even in the mundane and chaotic. Otherwise we will simply continue to miss (overlook) God until we miss (have a longing for) God.



Abounding in Love and Growing in Grace,


Veronica