James 1:2-4

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journeyand cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing. James 1:2-4D

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Dark Night and How It Has Transformed Me

Wow!  It's hard to believe it's been six months since I've entered anything into this blog.  Believe me it's not for want that I haven't.  It is really because I was in a very deep place which required me to withdraw from pretty much everyone and everything that I used to define myself by.  I really was in quite a dark night for a long time and the last few months have begun to signal the end of that dark night.  Thank goodness!!

Another reason I haven't written is because I heard very clearly from God that I was not to write  another word publicly until he did two things.  First: remove me from the dark night and second: I was not to begin writing again until I had begun healing from the pain of the dark night.  (I wasn't really moving along very quickly through that part!)

Have you ever experienced a dark night of the soul?  Wikipedia defines it this way:  a dark night of the soul is a metaphor used to describe a phase in a person's spiritual life, marked by a sense of loneliness and desolation. It is mentioned by spiritual traditions throughout the world, but in particular by Christianity.

When I was a little girl I was afraid of the dark, like a lot of little kids, and honestly I have to say I very much feared having a spiritual dark night as well.  I felt if I allowed myself to go into the dark night that I would not be able to survive it.  That it would crush me and kill me and I would fall apart completely.  So I fought hard to stay away from the darkness but eventually it overcame me and I was forced into it, quite frankly because of extreme burn out.

My journey through the dark night lasted a little over a year and honestly, there were times when I should of been hospitalized and but I told few how bad I felt.  No matter how hard I tried I could no longer see life as anything but this miserable drain on me.  I was mad at God and felt more alone then I had ever felt in my life.  It was knowing my kids needed me that seemed to give me the strength each day to keep going on.  I've known many people who were hospitalized during these dark nights, so hopefully that will give you an idea of how bad you feel spiritually, mentally and physically in a dark night of the soul.  The darkness was a scary place but something that was so necessary to help put me back on the path God has for my life.

I believe that God has ordained each and everyone of us with a purpose and a plan, and that we already have that plan imprinted in our souls.   Somehow, along life's many roads we can lose sight of who we really are and we begin to start designing our own plan.  Our body, soul and spirit become disconnected and we lose the ability to connect to God.  In my case,  I knew he was there but I felt so deeply estranged from Him.

A key issue that emerged in my dark night was an awareness of deep insecurities and a very poorly defined sense of self-worth that was created as a young girl.  I learned that I was trying to fix these  deep insecurities by becoming the kind of person I thought everyone else wanted me to be.  I believed that people wouldn't like me if they really knew who I was.  So I began to mask my true self, take on belief systems different from my own, and worst of all I demanded that my family be who I wanted them to be, rather then who God created them to be.

In the words of Dr. Phil, so how was that working for you?  Not so well!  For so long, I was out of touch with myself even though living like this left me unhappy and miserable.  I was a zombie at work, mindlessly going through the motions of my job, then I would go home at night and zone out on TV and eat junk food to try to numb the pain.  My husband and my kids were miserable also trying to live with the very high expectations I had put on myself and others.  Our lives were completely out of balance and very chaotic most days.  However, I just held that false belief that if I could just fix everything, create the perfect me and the perfect family, everything would be okay. What a pipe dream!  I just didn't see it at the time.  Despite a deep unhappiness, weight gain, job burnout, and almost a complete loss of my faith, I continued to pursue this facade of a life.  Eventually my fantasy life began to unravel, I was thrust into my dark night.

Have you ever tried to find your way down a country road on a dark night?  It's so scary, you literally lose sight of where you are going, you become disorientated, you wish desperately for some light.  My spiritual dark night felt like this to me.  I was so disorientated, God had removed the facade I was hiding behind, the masks I was wearing.  I was lost without them, I really struggled and stumbled for a long time.  It was hard to understand how I could have gotten so lost in my own life.  I needed to learn how to let Him be my guiding light and not follow the light of others and most of all my own falsely created one.  During this time I learned very early on that God was about to change everything in my life, EVERYTHING!

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

The first thing to go was my job. I had been pursuing a career as a pastor. I initially left on a four month sabbatical, but deep down inside I knew I was not to return to ministry.  In time I had to face the truth that my husband never wanted me to be a pastor and had only agreed to keep me happy.  So for five years we sat before a credentialing board of my peers, pretending that we were happy and that he was supportive of everything I was trying to accomplish.  The truth was I knew all along that he wasn't supportive at all.  However, I lied to myself that he was on board, after all becoming a pastor was part of my plan for what my perfect life would look like.  It was so painful to have this part of my life stripped away and I was forced to look at whether I was ever called in the first place.  It's taken me over a year and a half to admit to myself that the only thing God ever agreed to was me going to Bible school, He never called me to become a pastor.

I lost my marriage and my husband.  The false marriage anyway that I had created and wanted everyone else to believe I had.  The truth was that my husband and I had completely grown apart in the five years I was "pursuing ministry."  We were barely talking to one another and didn't even sleep in the same bed anymore.  The man I had married and had planned to "grow old with" was now honestly professing that he was no longer in love with me and that he hadn't been for years.  Oh what a painful truth this was, but I also knew it and had pretended it wasn't so for many, many years.

I lost my health.  In the beginning of this journey I was not getting it.  I really was quite certain in my mind anyway, that I was just on "sabbatical" for a few months but that I would return to work at the church eventually.  In fact, I did make an attempt to go back to work in the church, not as a pastor (to honor my husband) but none the less back into "the work of the church".  The moment I accepted the offer of employment I knew it was not what God wanted.  I sat in my car and cried and then the next day I went back and told them I would not be returning.  I was beginning to see that God was in control not me, but I really was still trying to do things my old way.

By this time, I had already been off work for six months, but I had not really taken a whole lot of time to repair my very damaged relationship with God.   A friend of mine, keep saying: "Seek God's face Laura."  And I keep thinking, "Ya, ya whatever that means!!"   I had no idea.  My relationship to Him was in the same sort of disrepair as my marriage and God and I were like strangers.  I was willing to do whatever it would take to make things better with my family, but honestly I was pretty mad at God and not really wanting to "seek His face" most days.

It took the loss of my mobility, literally my ability to walk to get me to a place where I would draw near to Him. I completely tore my ACL ligament in my knee, and I would need surgery which wasn't going to happen for almost a year.  I was devastated angry and cried out to God why, why this?  In addition to being very immobile, and in a lot of pain, I had to completely stop everything.  I couldn't even take care of my kids, the one thing that was still giving me my purpose to wake up each day.  I had to rely on my sister and my best friend to take care of me.  How painful it was to realize that my husband was not there for me anymore, he was angry and wanted very little to do with me and was also suffering from his own bout of depression which would later be revealed to me.   At this point, I was flat on my back and literally forced to spend time "seeking God's face."

While I waited for my surgery, God in his gracious mercy healed me enough that I could eventually find the strength to function even with a gimped leg, the pain decreased and eventually I found the strength to advocate to my family doctor for an earlier surgery time.  Okay, I admit it!  I went in and cried like a baby, but you know it worked and I got my surgery way earlier then scheduled.  Of course once the surgery was done, I was back to the complete state of having to rely on others for help and forced once again into more deep healing times with God.  By now I was beginning to crave those times with Him and our relationship had healed a lot.  My husband also seemed to cope a little better this time having to take over my duties, although our relationship was still very fractured and he really had a hard time being there for me.


I lost my so-called support system.  In the darkness I realized I was alone, that I really didn't have many true friends.  Most of "my friends" were people I had done ministry with, or people I knew from church (kind of like acquaintances).  Some were pastors and some lay people, but for the most part the only thing we had in common was the church.  They didn't know me and I didn't know them.  This was a very hard reality for me to accept.  I felt very hurt and very abandoned.  I could only count a few people on one hand who were still a close part of my life, and had any idea the journey I was on.

Admittedly, there were a few people who tried to reach out, but I didn't really consider them "my safe" people and at one point I was so deeply depressed and honestly not so sure if their intentions were pure, that I repelled at the thought of trying to explain to someone what I was experiencing.  My hurt manifested in the darkness and I begin to feel nothing but anger and disappointment towards the people that I had once relied on for my support.  That's when the unthinkable, at least to me at the time happened.

God asked me to stop attending church completely.  If you knew me at this time you would realize how difficult this request was for me to obey.  The church was my whole life and I spent a lot of time there.  My self worth was very much tied to how and what people of this church thought of me.  I was already feeling so disconnected from God and from the church that the last thing I wanted was to stop going there.  The ache during this time was incredible, kind of what it feels like when you are addicted to something.  I am such an extroverted person and I craved the fellowship of the church even if I no longer felt "safe" there.  I cried many weeks and I was very depressed.

Eventually, I began to experience a complete freedom and a loss from guilt.  I realized that you do not need to go to church to be in a meaningful relationship with God.  This differed from what I had been taught by the church.  After all the Bible says, to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, right?  Yes, and I still think it is important, but by the time I stopped attending I was only going out of obligation to this belief system.  Even though God himself was telling me not to go, I would still go and not feel connected to God or the people and I would leave feeling angry every Sunday.

When I finally listened to God and stopped going, I realized a few things.  First, and most importantly that I was practicing religion and not spirituality.  He showed me that I did not have my own understanding of Him according to who I am in Christ.  I had based my whole belief system on what I had been taught and was not really questioning if it lined up with who I really was and what I believed.  I began to see that I no longer had a "personal relationship" with God. I was not walking out an authentic faith, according to the truth of who and what I was created to be.

"How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. "Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) "He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we're a free people--free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free"He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth. "It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. "It's in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free--signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what's coming, a reminder that we'll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life." Ephesians 1:1-13 MSG     AMEN!!


I realized I had based my worth on what I thought the church wanted me and my family to be, according to what was being taught.  I learned that I was trying to be something I was not, just so people would approve, so I could fit in and feel like I belonged.  I had issues with some of their core values and their theology but I ignored this as well, and obeyed and did what was asked of me, especially once I became a pastor.   The ironic thing is, no matter what anyone said or did, or how they treated me good or bad, I never felt I belonged there, this was probably why!  I didn't belong there, in the true sense of the word!

I've also come to realize that I had hidden resentment and negative feelings towards many of the people who were my brothers and sisters in the church, and who I loved.  My feelings of resentment existed because I was faking it and trying to be someone I wasn't, (which of course no one knew) but this left me feeling really inadequate, and always a little annoyed that I couldn't just be myself and had to wear a mask.  I felt negative because others seemed to have little issue living this belief system, especially those raised with it.  I was so out of touch with who I was, I had no idea why I felt this way.  I thought it was because of my low self-worth (which it partly was) but mostly I believed I just had a negative spirit, of which I asked God all the time to take from me.

Probably the biggest truth I realized in this part of the journey was that it does not does not matter what anyone did or didn't do to me, or what they did or didn't think of me, you cannot define your sense of self-worth on what others think of you.  No matter how hard you try, no matter how many friends you have, no matter how successful you are - YOU ARE WORTHY BECAUSE YOU ARE WERE CALLED INTO BEING!  Psalm 139:13-16 says we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and all the days of our lives were written in God’s book before we were ever born, confirming God’s prior knowledge and plan for our lives. This is the only thing you need to base your self-worth on! I remember one Sunday when I was questioning God and wanting so badly to go to church, any church!  God said to me, "Laura I do not want you to go back to church until it is about me and not about them."

Through this time of surrender I also learned just how damaged my relationship to Him had become. I had become so used to wearing masks in my life that I no longer felt I could come to Him without masks when I was alone with Him.  This greatly impacted my faith life and I was no longer confessing my sin to Him alone in my prayer closet but trying to hide it from Him as well.  Which of course, is ridiculous, because he is all knowing, but I had gotten so good at convincing myself this was okay with God, how I was living my life.  Eventually, because my life was an utter mess, I got to a point that I doubted He loved me and was pushing him away.  I was hiding my true self from Him and was accusing Him of not listening and worse yet not caring that my life was not going the way I had planned it!  Ha!  I had the gall to be mad at God for not letting my life work out the way I had planned it!  What a fool I was!  Had I not become so utterly dependent on Him, I may not of come to know this.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 

John 8:32



So where am I today....

I am no longer in a dark night. Whew!  I have a personal relationship with God that is like no other.   He shines a light and I now know how to follow His light!  

I have fully accepted that I am not called to minister.  At least in the official clergy way as I once dreamed of.  The funny thing, not long after I accepted this reality, a great job in the secular world literally fell into my lap, that works with my family's goals and lets me use many of the same gifts I used in ministry.  I have come to accept that my true calling in life is to my family, and if I die tomorrow knowing that I was a wife and mother that is enough for me!

I am learning to see the husband that God gave me almost 20 years ago with new eyes and appreciation.  I am patiently (okay not everyday!) waiting to see what our new marriage will look like.   Our marriage while very damaged continues to heal.  My husband and I for the most part sleep in the same bed again.  There are problems in our marriage that were there long before my detour into ministry, so we have a long road ahead and we are taking it one baby step at a time.  I am learning to see my life and my family as a blessing.  I am letting everyone in life just be who they are, and I am not trying to define anyone by my own ideals of who or what I think they should be.  I have also let go of a false sense of responsibility that I was assuming for other people's lives, and have completely given the care and concern of my family and friends over to God.

I am completely mask free, which is why I write this blog so candidly.  I was afraid to confess all of this publicly, as I suppose some people will be surprised (or maybe not) to learn the false life I was living.  

I'm okay that I don't have a ton of friends.  I'm happy to be loved by the true friends I have.  In fact, I don't want superficial friendships any more.  I want people in my life who feel safe to take their masks off and know that I will try to love them and accept them just the way they are.

I am attending worship again, not in my old church, but a new one and I am asking God everyday to help me always make it about Him and not about them!

I do not wish that anyone would ever have to experience the pain of the dark night, but if you are already or ever find yourself there, my prayer would be that you will be brave enough to embrace every moment of it, as dark as it may be.  The truth is it won't stay dark forever, only as long as it takes for you to learn to follow His light and not your own or anyone else's!

Many blessings!
Laura

My Dark Night and How It Has Transformed Me

Wow!  It's hard to believe it's been six months since I've entered anything into this blog.  Believe me it's not for want that I haven't.  It is really because I was in a very deep place which required me to withdraw from pretty much everyone and everything that I used to define myself by.  I really was in quite a dark night for a long time and the last few months have begun to signal the end of that dark night.  Thank goodness!!

Another reason I haven't written is because I heard very clearly from God that I was not to write  another word publicly until he did two things.  First: remove me from the dark night and second: I was not to begin writing again until I had begun healing from the pain of the dark night.  (I wasn't really moving along very quickly through that part!)

Have you ever experienced a dark night of the soul?  Wikipedia defines it this way:  a dark night of the soul is a metaphor used to describe a phase in a person's spiritual life, marked by a sense of loneliness and desolation. It is mentioned by spiritual traditions throughout the world, but in particular by Christianity.

When I was a little girl I was afraid of the dark, like a lot of little kids, and honestly I have to say I very much feared having a spiritual dark night as well.  I felt if I allowed myself to go into the dark night that I would not be able to survive it.  That it would crush me and kill me and I would fall apart completely.  So I fought hard to stay away from the darkness but eventually it overcame me and I was forced into it, quite frankly because of extreme burn out.

My journey through the dark night lasted a little over a year and honestly, there were times when I should of been hospitalized and but I told few how bad I felt.  No matter how hard I tried I could no longer see life as anything but this miserable drain on me.  I was mad at God and felt more alone then I had ever felt in my life.  It was knowing my kids needed me that seemed to give me the strength each day to keep going on.  I've known many people who were hospitalized during these dark nights, so hopefully that will give you an idea of how bad you feel spiritually, mentally and physically in a dark night of the soul.  The darkness was a scary place but something that was so necessary to help put me back on the path God has for my life.

I believe that God has ordained each and everyone of us with a purpose and a plan, and that we already have that plan imprinted in our souls.   Somehow, along life's many roads we can lose sight of who we really are and we begin to start designing our own plan.  Our body, soul and spirit become disconnected and we lose the ability to connect to God.  In my case,  I knew he was there but I felt so deeply estranged from Him.

A key issue that emerged in my dark night was an awareness of deep insecurities and a very poorly defined sense of self-worth that was created as a young girl.  I learned that I was trying to fix these  deep insecurities by becoming the kind of person I thought everyone else wanted me to be.  I believed that people wouldn't like me if they really knew who I was.  So I began to mask my true self, take on belief systems different from my own, and worst of all I demanded that my family be who I wanted them to be, rather then who God created them to be.

In the words of Dr. Phil, so how was that working for you?  Not so well!  For so long, I was out of touch with myself even though living like this left me unhappy and miserable.  I was a zombie at work, mindlessly going through the motions of my job, then I would go home at night and zone out on TV and eat junk food to try to numb the pain.  My husband and my kids were miserable also trying to live with the very high expectations I had put on myself and others.  Our lives were completely out of balance and very chaotic most days.  However, I just held that false belief that if I could just fix everything, create the perfect me and the perfect family, everything would be okay. What a pipe dream!  I just didn't see it at the time.  Despite a deep unhappiness, weight gain, job burnout, and almost a complete loss of my faith, I continued to pursue this facade of a life.  Eventually my fantasy life began to unravel, I was thrust into my dark night.

Have you ever tried to find your way down a country road on a dark night?  It's so scary, you literally lose sight of where you are going, you become disorientated, you wish desperately for some light.  My spiritual dark night felt like this to me.  I was so disorientated, God had removed the facade I was hiding behind, the masks I was wearing.  I was lost without them, I really struggled and stumbled for a long time.  It was hard to understand how I could have gotten so lost in my own life.  I needed to learn how to let Him be my guiding light and not follow the light of others and most of all my own falsely created one.  During this time I learned very early on that God was about to change everything in my life, EVERYTHING!

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

The first thing to go was my job. I had been pursuing a career as a pastor. I initially left on a four month sabbatical, but deep down inside I knew I was not to return to ministry.  In time I had to face the truth that my husband never wanted me to be a pastor and had only agreed to keep me happy.  So for five years we sat before a credentialing board of my peers, pretending that we were happy and that he was supportive of everything I was trying to accomplish.  The truth was I knew all along that he wasn't supportive at all.  However, I lied to myself that he was on board, after all becoming a pastor was part of my plan for what my perfect life would look like.  It was so painful to have this part of my life stripped away and I was forced to look at whether I was ever called in the first place.  It's taken me over a year and a half to admit to myself that the only thing God ever agreed to was me going to Bible school, He never called me to become a pastor.

I lost my marriage and my husband.  The false marriage anyway that I had created and wanted everyone else to believe I had.  The truth was that my husband and I had completely grown apart in the five years I was "pursuing ministry."  We were barely talking to one another and didn't even sleep in the same bed anymore.  The man I had married and had planned to "grow old with" was now honestly professing that he was no longer in love with me and that he hadn't been for years.  Oh what a painful truth this was, but I also knew it and had pretended it wasn't so for many, many years.

I lost my health.  In the beginning of this journey I was not getting it.  I really was quite certain in my mind anyway, that I was just on "sabbatical" for a few months but that I would return to work at the church eventually.  In fact, I did make an attempt to go back to work in the church, not as a pastor (to honor my husband) but none the less back into "the work of the church".  The moment I accepted the offer of employment I knew it was not what God wanted.  I sat in my car and cried and then the next day I went back and told them I would not be returning.  I was beginning to see that God was in control not me, but I really was still trying to do things my old way.

By this time, I had already been off work for six months, but I had not really taken a whole lot of time to repair my very damaged relationship with God.   A friend of mine, keep saying: "Seek God's face Laura."  And I keep thinking, "Ya, ya whatever that means!!"   I had no idea.  My relationship to Him was in the same sort of disrepair as my marriage and God and I were like strangers.  I was willing to do whatever it would take to make things better with my family, but honestly I was pretty mad at God and not really wanting to "seek His face" most days.

It took the loss of my mobility, literally my ability to walk to get me to a place where I would draw near to Him. I completely tore my ACL ligament in my knee, and I would need surgery which wasn't going to happen for almost a year.  I was devastated angry and cried out to God why, why this?  In addition to being very immobile, and in a lot of pain, I had to completely stop everything.  I couldn't even take care of my kids, the one thing that was still giving me my purpose to wake up each day.  I had to rely on my sister and my best friend to take care of me.  How painful it was to realize that my husband was not there for me anymore, he was angry and wanted very little to do with me and was also suffering from his own bout of depression which would later be revealed to me.   At this point, I was flat on my back and literally forced to spend time "seeking God's face."

While I waited for my surgery, God in his gracious mercy healed me enough that I could eventually find the strength to function even with a gimped leg, the pain decreased and eventually I found the strength to advocate to my family doctor for an earlier surgery time.  Okay, I admit it!  I went in and cried like a baby, but you know it worked and I got my surgery way earlier then scheduled.  Of course once the surgery was done, I was back to the complete state of having to rely on others for help and forced once again into more deep healing times with God.  By now I was beginning to crave those times with Him and our relationship had healed a lot.  My husband also seemed to cope a little better this time having to take over my duties, although our relationship was still very fractured and he really had a hard time being there for me.


I lost my so-called support system.  In the darkness I realized I was alone, that I really didn't have many true friends.  Most of "my friends" were people I had done ministry with, or people I knew from church (kind of like acquaintances).  Some were pastors and some lay people, but for the most part the only thing we had in common was the church.  They didn't know me and I didn't know them.  This was a very hard reality for me to accept.  I felt very hurt and very abandoned.  I could only count a few people on one hand who were still a close part of my life, and had any idea the journey I was on.

Admittedly, there were a few people who tried to reach out, but I didn't really consider them "my safe" people and at one point I was so deeply depressed and honestly not so sure if their intentions were pure, that I repelled at the thought of trying to explain to someone what I was experiencing.  My hurt manifested in the darkness and I begin to feel nothing but anger and disappointment towards the people that I had once relied on for my support.  That's when the unthinkable, at least to me at the time happened.

God asked me to stop attending church completely.  If you knew me at this time you would realize how difficult this request was for me to obey.  The church was my whole life and I spent a lot of time there.  My self worth was very much tied to how and what people of this church thought of me.  I was already feeling so disconnected from God and from the church that the last thing I wanted was to stop going there.  The ache during this time was incredible, kind of what it feels like when you are addicted to something.  I am such an extroverted person and I craved the fellowship of the church even if I no longer felt "safe" there.  I cried many weeks and I was very depressed.

Eventually, I began to experience a complete freedom and a loss from guilt.  I realized that you do not need to go to church to be in a meaningful relationship with God.  This differed from what I had been taught by the church.  After all the Bible says, to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, right?  Yes, and I still think it is important, but by the time I stopped attending I was only going out of obligation to this belief system.  Even though God himself was telling me not to go, I would still go and not feel connected to God or the people and I would leave feeling angry every Sunday.

When I finally listened to God and stopped going, I realized a few things.  First, and most importantly that I was practicing religion and not spirituality.  He showed me that I did not have my own understanding of Him according to who I am in Christ.  I had based my whole belief system on what I had been taught and was not really questioning if it lined up with who I really was and what I believed.  I began to see that I no longer had a "personal relationship" with God. I was not walking out an authentic faith, according to the truth of who and what I was created to be.

"How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. "Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) "He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we're a free people--free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free"He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth. "It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. "It's in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free--signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what's coming, a reminder that we'll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life." Ephesians 1:1-13 MSG     AMEN!!


I realized I had based my worth on what I thought the church wanted me and my family to be, according to what was being taught.  I learned that I was trying to be something I was not, just so people would approve, so I could fit in and feel like I belonged.  I had issues with some of their core values and their theology but I ignored this as well, and obeyed and did what was asked of me, especially once I became a pastor.   The ironic thing is, no matter what anyone said or did, or how they treated me good or bad, I never felt I belonged there, this was probably why!  I didn't belong there, in the true sense of the word!

I've also come to realize that I had hidden resentment and negative feelings towards many of the people who were my brothers and sisters in the church, and who I loved.  My feelings of resentment existed because I was faking it and trying to be someone I wasn't, (which of course no one knew) but this left me feeling really inadequate, and always a little annoyed that I couldn't just be myself and had to wear a mask.  I felt negative because others seemed to have little issue living this belief system, especially those raised with it.  I was so out of touch with who I was, I had no idea why I felt this way.  I thought it was because of my low self-worth (which it partly was) but mostly I believed I just had a negative spirit, of which I asked God all the time to take from me.

Probably the biggest truth I realized in this part of the journey was that it does not does not matter what anyone did or didn't do to me, or what they did or didn't think of me, you cannot define your sense of self-worth on what others think of you.  No matter how hard you try, no matter how many friends you have, no matter how successful you are - YOU ARE WORTHY BECAUSE YOU ARE WERE CALLED INTO BEING!  Psalm 139:13-16 says we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and all the days of our lives were written in God’s book before we were ever born, confirming God’s prior knowledge and plan for our lives. This is the only thing you need to base your self-worth on! I remember one Sunday when I was questioning God and wanting so badly to go to church, any church!  God said to me, "Laura I do not want you to go back to church until it is about me and not about them."

Through this time of surrender I also learned just how damaged my relationship to Him had become. I had become so used to wearing masks in my life that I no longer felt I could come to Him without masks when I was alone with Him.  This greatly impacted my faith life and I was no longer confessing my sin to Him alone in my prayer closet but trying to hide it from Him as well.  Which of course, is ridiculous, because he is all knowing, but I had gotten so good at convincing myself this was okay with God, how I was living my life.  Eventually, because my life was an utter mess, I got to a point that I doubted He loved me and was pushing him away.  I was hiding my true self from Him and was accusing Him of not listening and worse yet not caring that my life was not going the way I had planned it!  Ha!  I had the gall to be mad at God for not letting my life work out the way I had planned it!  What a fool I was!  Had I not become so utterly dependent on Him, I may not of come to know this.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 

John 8:32



So where am I today....

I am no longer in a dark night. Whew!  I have a personal relationship with God that is like no other.   He shines a light and I now know how to follow His light!  

I have fully accepted that I am not called to minister.  At least in the official clergy way as I once dreamed of.  The funny thing, not long after I accepted this reality, a great job in the secular world literally fell into my lap, that works with my family's goals and lets me use many of the same gifts I used in ministry.  I have come to accept that my true calling in life is to my family, and if I die tomorrow knowing that I was a wife and mother that is enough for me!

I am learning to see the husband that God gave me almost 20 years ago with new eyes and appreciation.  I am patiently (okay not everyday!) waiting to see what our new marriage will look like.   Our marriage while very damaged continues to heal.  My husband and I for the most part sleep in the same bed again.  There are problems in our marriage that were there long before my detour into ministry, so we have a long road ahead and we are taking it one baby step at a time.  I am learning to see my life and my family as a blessing.  I am letting everyone in life just be who they are, and I am not trying to define anyone by my own ideals of who or what I think they should be.  I have also let go of a false sense of responsibility that I was assuming for other people's lives, and have completely given the care and concern of my family and friends over to God.

I am completely mask free, which is why I write this blog so candidly.  I was afraid to confess all of this publicly, as I suppose some people will be surprised (or maybe not) to learn the false life I was living.  

I'm okay that I don't have a ton of friends.  I'm happy to be loved by the true friends I have.  In fact, I don't want superficial friendships any more.  I want people in my life who feel safe to take their masks off and know that I will try to love them and accept them just the way they are.

I am attending worship again, not in my old church, but a new one and I am asking God everyday to help me always make it about Him and not about them!

I do not wish that anyone would ever have to experience the pain of the dark night, but if you are already or ever find yourself there, my prayer would be that you will be brave enough to embrace every moment of it, as dark as it may be.  The truth is it won't stay dark forever, only as long as it takes for you to learn to follow His light and not your own or anyone else's!

Many blessings!
Laura

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The secret to true happiness

Nineteen years ago when I met my husband I was in a place in my life where I content.  I was 26 years old, I had a successful life and I wasn't really looking for love so to speak.  I enjoyed male company, but really wasn't interested in settling down.  I'd been burned and left at the altar a year earlier, so let's just say I was a little gun shy.  


In one week all three of the men I had been casually dating at the time decided they wanted more then just a dating relationship, they wanted to get more serious.  Well I was bound and determined I did not want anything serious, so one by one I ended the relationships, until I got to my husband.  He was insistent that we shouldn't stop seeing each other and that we were right for each other and that, "He could make me happy, just give him a chance."  Those were the words that sealed the deal for me that day.  The words every girl wants to hear, somebody wants to make me happy.  Yikes! How naive I was!


You see, after several years together and much wisdom, I have learnt that there is not a human being alive that can make you happy.  My husband unknowingly signed up for a feat that is impossible to accomplish.  No one can truly make you happy.  Happiness comes from a much more Divine place.


When another human being says,  "I can make you happy", what they are really saying is I am going to do everything I can to please you, to show you pleasure.   Which is something that in the beginning of a relationship is pretty important to do if you want them to stick around.  You know how it goes, there is lust and infatuation, you enjoy spending every waking moment together.  Eventually though in any lasting relationship this eventually wears off (the honeymoon period ends) and real life takes over.  You've got each other now and seeking to please your partner may no longer be your number one goal each day.  Of course to keep a relationship healthy you still should have a little back and forth pleasing going on daily, but it's not about making the other person's life "happy".

So what is happiness then and how do we get it?  I read a quote on Facebook this week and I haven't been able to stop thinking and meditating on it.  "Happiness is understanding and accepting that life in this very moment is completely perfect, because every creation of God is perfect.  The degree to which you do not accept life in all of the Divine forms is the degree to which you suffer.

God's plan for our life is perfect, so when we accept this and follow His plan for our life we can find true happiness.  Even in times of struggle and suffering you can find true happiness, because it is part of the God's plan for your life, the more you resist this truth the more you suffer.  The Bible tells us that God knows our coming in and going out, He knows exactly what is going to happen in our life before we do.  A few months ago at a time when I felt like my life was completely falling a part my pastor said, "I think everything is happening in your life just the way God wants it to."  I'm thinking is this guy crazy, is God a sadist!!  But now I see what he meant, I get it!

The Happiness we seek comes from accepting this truth and not struggling against that which we have no control over anyway.  For me and I'm sure for many others, this can be a hard pill to swallow,  especially if you are going through something difficult.  However, the sooner we accept the truth that God is in control and  He knows exactly what you are going through and is right there to watch over you and guide you to your purpose, the happier you will be.

Psalm 121 - says: I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

I've learned along the narrow road this last few weeks that no matter where I am, no matter where I'm going, I am not alone.  God is watching over my every step, this scripture above mentions the fact that God is watching over me four times. Obviously, He's trying to make a point here!!  You are not in this alone, He is watching over you!!   It also says, He will keep me from all harm, that doesn't mean bad things won't happen, it just means He will be with me during those times and won't let these things destroy my faith.  

Happiness (and ultimately peace) come when I am walking in the purpose that God created me for.  Figuring out His will is sometimes hard to do because I live in a busy world that distracts me from listening to God, really connecting my soul to Him.  Here's the neat thing though, my soul already knows what it was created for because God intimately and passionately created me. The bible says:  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10    Did you get that, you already know your purpose, you just have to be quiet enough to listen!

Deep down inside I already know why God created me, it's imprinted on my soul, so my challenge is to make time to really listen and obey.  When I do this I realize that in His will, everything I experience,  in fact everyone of my steps has been ordained by God, He is watching over me.  And... that my friends....is the secret to true happiness!

Many Blessings!







The secret to true happiness

Nineteen years ago when I met my husband I was in a place in my life where I content.  I was 26 years old, I had a successful life and I wasn't really looking for love so to speak.  I enjoyed male company, but really wasn't interested in settling down.  I'd been burned and left at the altar a year earlier, so let's just say I was a little gun shy.  


In one week all three of the men I had been casually dating at the time decided they wanted more then just a dating relationship, they wanted to get more serious.  Well I was bound and determined I did not want anything serious, so one by one I ended the relationships, until I got to my husband.  He was insistent that we shouldn't stop seeing each other and that we were right for each other and that, "He could make me happy, just give him a chance."  Those were the words that sealed the deal for me that day.  The words every girl wants to hear, somebody wants to make me happy.  Yikes! How naive I was!


You see, after several years together and much wisdom, I have learnt that there is not a human being alive that can make you happy.  My husband unknowingly signed up for a feat that is impossible to accomplish.  No one can truly make you happy.  Happiness comes from a much more Divine place.


When another human being says,  "I can make you happy", what they are really saying is I am going to do everything I can to please you, to show you pleasure.   Which is something that in the beginning of a relationship is pretty important to do if you want them to stick around.  You know how it goes, there is lust and infatuation, you enjoy spending every waking moment together.  Eventually though in any lasting relationship this eventually wears off (the honeymoon period ends) and real life takes over.  You've got each other now and seeking to please your partner may no longer be your number one goal each day.  Of course to keep a relationship healthy you still should have a little back and forth pleasing going on daily, but it's not about making the other person's life "happy".

So what is happiness then and how do we get it?  I read a quote on Facebook this week and I haven't been able to stop thinking and meditating on it.  "Happiness is understanding and accepting that life in this very moment is completely perfect, because every creation of God is perfect.  The degree to which you do not accept life in all of the Divine forms is the degree to which you suffer.

God's plan for our life is perfect, so when we accept this and follow His plan for our life we can find true happiness.  Even in times of struggle and suffering you can find true happiness, because it is part of the God's plan for your life, the more you resist this truth the more you suffer.  The Bible tells us that God knows our coming in and going out, He knows exactly what is going to happen in our life before we do.  A few months ago at a time when I felt like my life was completely falling a part my pastor said, "I think everything is happening in your life just the way God wants it to."  I'm thinking is this guy crazy, is God a sadist!!  But now I see what he meant, I get it!

The Happiness we seek comes from accepting this truth and not struggling against that which we have no control over anyway.  For me and I'm sure for many others, this can be a hard pill to swallow,  especially if you are going through something difficult.  However, the sooner we accept the truth that God is in control and  He knows exactly what you are going through and is right there to watch over you and guide you to your purpose, the happier you will be.

Psalm 121 - says: I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

I've learned along the narrow road this last few weeks that no matter where I am, no matter where I'm going, I am not alone.  God is watching over my every step, this scripture above mentions the fact that God is watching over me four times. Obviously, He's trying to make a point here!!  You are not in this alone, He is watching over you!!   It also says, He will keep me from all harm, that doesn't mean bad things won't happen, it just means He will be with me during those times and won't let these things destroy my faith.  

Happiness (and ultimately peace) come when I am walking in the purpose that God created me for.  Figuring out His will is sometimes hard to do because I live in a busy world that distracts me from listening to God, really connecting my soul to Him.  Here's the neat thing though, my soul already knows what it was created for because God intimately and passionately created me. The bible says:  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10    Did you get that, you already know your purpose, you just have to be quiet enough to listen!

Deep down inside I already know why God created me, it's imprinted on my soul, so my challenge is to make time to really listen and obey.  When I do this I realize that in His will, everything I experience,  in fact everyone of my steps has been ordained by God, He is watching over me.  And... that my friends....is the secret to true happiness!

Many Blessings!







Monday, January 10, 2011

What's a Narrow Gate Traveller Anyway?

I am what the Bible refers to as a born again Christian, so my blog will undoubtably have a Christian world view to it. I explained to someone today, I am Christian.  I don't see being Christian as a religion, it is my culture.  A way of life, a lifestyle so to speak.  It's who I am.

I haven't always had this understanding of Christianity though, in fact early on when I first became a "Born Again" Christian in 1998, I really looked at it as a choice to be or not be a Christian.  I guess in the beginning it kind of is.  However, as I've grown and become more and more committed to God and what I believe to be true about Him, I've changed my view of things.   It seems even if I want to run away from God or chose not to follow Him any longer, it's not so easy to do that.  When you ask Jesus Christ into your heart, He's there to stay.  He doesn't just give up on you when you have doubts, or question what you believe.  I've come to realize it takes an awful lot to make God leave your presence once you've committed to following Him.

The above scripture on the front page is what inspired the name for my blog.  I am a traveller of sorts in this world, I'm on a spiritual journey to finding a deeper revelation of who I am and who God is to me.  Early on, I discovered this gate that Jesus speaks about in this scripture and I choose to walk through it.

Like the picture on my blog page, I see my spiritual journey, more like a road then a gate.  I did once think of it funny as it sounds now, like a magical gate that once I chose to walk through I would be transformed into the person that I wanted to be, I would be happier, complete so to speak.  I think a lot of new believers think this when they first get saved, at least I did.

Over the years, I've often felt like I'd failed as a Christian, you see I hadn't transformed magically when I entered through the gate, I still was so broken and lost in many ways.  Thanks to God's grace, He's shown me that the gate was only the beginning and I've come to see it more like a road in which you journey on then a gate with a destination, like Gramma's house.  Once through the gate, the road goes on a long way leading to many new discoveries about yourself, some pain, some joy, ultimately a deeper understanding of God, myself and my reason for existing.

In September of 1998, I choice the narrow gate and I continue to walk the road that leads from it.  It's not a very wide road and sometimes it feels like I'm gonna fall off and often I stop and think I can't go on.  I don't want to continue and sometimes I've even turned back to look and wished I'd taken the wide road instead, the one that appears easier.

The wide road however (which I did travel on for many years) appears easier, but looks are very deceiving.  For it ultimately leads you no where; around and around in circles, feeling confused and lost, eventually leading to destruction.  What destruction? Perhaps never really knowing the person God created you to be and most of all a lifeless void where God cannot exist in His true form.  My emotions say, "Yes, but this road looks easier."  It seems on that road I can say and do and act as I please, but the reality is that there is no peace for me on the wide road.

The narrow road can also be a place of pain, struggle and loneliness but the Good News is, it's a journey you don't have to take alone because Jesus is always with you.  You also don't have to stay in any place long, unless you choose to or need to.  I've stalled on the narrow road or chose to turn back in rebellion or re-walked parts of the road and it's those times when I've questioned God's existence and when I've wished I'd taken the wide road instead.

The narrow road can feel harder sometimes but it's also where I have found peace, choosing to be loving, when I don't want to be, forgiving when it's the last thing I would ever think of doing.  Choosing to heal instead of hurt, choosing to let go and surrender my preconceived notions of what my life should become.

One day the Lord showed me a vision of myself on the narrow road trying to lug all my baggage with me and slowly I'm throwing it over the cliff because it's beginning to slow me down and causing me to almost fall from the cliff.  I realize if I don't drop this baggage, I'm not gonna get to where I need to go.  The baggage is worthless in comparison to what lies ahead, so I surrender my will and my way and I start throwing the baggage over the cliff and journey on.  I am free and alive like never before!  Hallelujah!  Now I'm eager to travel the narrow road.

The truth is on the narrow road we are transformed because there is no room for selfishness, unforgiveness, bitterness, envy or strife, miraculously and as I keep on going the narrow road always lead to a good place. As I continue to travel the narrow road I have experienced great peace, grace and understanding, and deep revelation of who God is and who I really am and what His plan for me is.

Joyce Myers talks about the narrow path, this way: "No matter what has happened to you in your lifetime, even if you have been abandoned by your spouse or abused by your parents or hurt by your children or others, if you'll stay on that narrow path and leave all your excess baggage behind, sooner or later you will find the peace, joy, and fulfillment you seek."

So where are you today?  Have you even chosen a road yet?  If you haven't asked Jesus into your heart yet and want to, you can just pray this simple prayer and start your journey on the narrow road with Him.  Say: Lord I need you, I surrender my life to you and I want to walk the narrow road with you.  Come into my heart and make me a new person. Amen!  If you prayed that prayer send me an email I'd love to hear about your decision and help you anyway I can.

Are you already on the narrow road? Maybe you are like I was trying to lug all your baggage and you're not getting anywhere.  Maybe you've turned back in fear and your repeating the same parts of the road again.  I urge you to keep going and trust God.  Just let go and let God!  Keep believing in His goodness and keep on the journey and rest in the fact that if you are truly committed to the narrow road, God won't let you fall off the road completely, He might allow you to turn back for a time, but ultimately He will keep you going forward and eventually you'll stop looking back wishing for the easier way.

Bottom line...there is no easy way!

~Laura Sterling - Narrow Gate Traveller Ministries~ www.narrowgatetraveller.com

Prayer: Lord help us to keep on keeping on, even when all we can see is darkness.  Thank you that your Word is always a lamp unto our feet.  Help us when we stumble or feel like giving up.  Most of all Lord, would we trust in your way and surrender our will to you willingly today!  In Jesus Name Amen!

 

What's a Narrow Gate Traveller Anyway?

I am what the Bible refers to as a born again Christian, so my blog will undoubtably have a Christian world view to it. I explained to someone today, I am Christian.  I don't see being Christian as a religion, it is my culture.  A way of life, a lifestyle so to speak.  It's who I am.

I haven't always had this understanding of Christianity though, in fact early on when I first became a Christian I really looked at it as a choice to be or not be a Christian.  I guess in the beginning it kind of is.  However, as I've grown and become more and more committed to God and what I believe to be true about Him I've changed my view of things.   It seems even if I want to run away from God or chose not to follow Him any longer, it's not so easy to do that.  When you ask Jesus Christ into your heart, He's there to stay.  He doesn't just give up on you when you have doubts, or question what you believe.  I've come to realize it takes an awful lot to make God leave your presence once you've committed to following Him. 

The above scripture on the front page is what inspired the name for my blog.  I am a traveller of sorts in this world, I'm on a spiritual journey to finding a deeper revelation of who I am and who God is in relation to me.  Early on, I discovered this gate that Jesus speaks about in this scripture and I choose to walk through it.

Like the picture on my blog page, I see my spiritual journey, more like a road then a gate.  I did however, think of it once more like a magical gate that once I choose to walk through I would be transformed into the person that I wanted to be, I would be happier, complete so to speak.  Over the years, I've often felt like I'd failed as a Christian, you see I hadn't transformed magically when I entered through the gate, I still was so broken and lost in many ways.  Thanks to God's grace, He's shown me that the gate was only the beginning and I've come to see it more like a road in which you journey on then a gate with a final destination, like Gramma's house.  Once through the gate, the road goes on a long way leading to many new discoveries about yourself, some pain, some joy, ultimately a deeper understanding of God, myself and my reason for existing.

In September of 1998, I choice the narrow gate and I continue to walk the road that leads from it.  It's not a very wide road and sometimes it feels like I'm gonna fall off and often I stop and think I can't go on.  I don't want to continue and sometimes I've even turned back to look at the wishing I had taken the wide road instead, the one that appears easier.  

The wide road however (which I did travel on for many years) appears easier, but looks are very deceiving.  For it ultimately leads you no where; around and around in circles and confusion and lostness, eventually leading to destruction.  What destruction? Perhaps never really knowing the person God created you to be and most of all a lifeless void where God cannot exist in His true form.  My emotions say, "Yes, but this road looks easier."  It seems on that road I can say and do and act as I please, but the reality is that there is no peace for me on the wide road.

It's the narrow road where I have found peace, choosing to be loving, when I don't want to be, forgiving when it's the last thing I would ever think of doing.  Choosing to heal instead of hurt, choosing to let go and surrender my preconceived notions of what my life should become.  On the narrow road I am transformed because there is no room for selfishness, unforgiveness, bitterness, envy or strife.  Oh yes, the narrow road can be a place of pain, struggle and lonliness but because it's a journey you don't have to stay in that place long, unless you choose to or need to.  I've stalled on the narrow road or choose to turn back and rewalk parts of the road and it's those times when I've questioned God's exsistence and when I've wished I'd taken the easy road instead.  My experience has shown me, that when I keep on going the narrow road always leads to a good place.  It's when I continue to travel the narrow road that I have experienced times of great peace, understanding and revelation of who God is and who I really am and what His plan for me is.

In my devotion today Joyce Myers talked about this scripture, she says: "No matter what has happened to you in your lifetime, even if you have been abandoned by your spouse or abused by your parents or hurt by your children or others, if you'll stay on that narrow path and leave all your excess baggage behind, sooner or later you will find the peace, joy, and fulfillment you seek."

When I read this, I saw a vision of myself on the narrow road trying to lug all this baggage with me and slowly I'm throwing it over the cliff because it's beginning to slow me down and cause me to almost fall from the cliff and I realize if I don't drop this baggage, I'm not gonna get to my destination.  The baggage is worthless in comparison to what lies ahead, so I surrender my will and my way and I throw the baggage over the cliff and journey on. 

So where are you today?  Have you even choosen a road yet?  Are you like me on the narrow road? Are you trying to lug all your baggage and your not getting anywhere.  Maybe you've turned back in fear and your repeating the same parts of the road again.  I encourage you to trust God.  Let Go!  Keep trusting and keep on the journey and rest in the fact that if you are truly committed to the narrow road, God won't let you fall off the road completely, He might allow you to turn back for a time, but ultimately He will keep you going forward and eventually you'll stop looking back wishing for the easier way.   Bottom line...there is no easy way!!

To Write or Not to Write

To write or not to write that surely has been my question for a long time. 

I've always had this desire to be a writer, this feeling like God created me with something people might actually want to read.  I could feel it in my bones.  I have to thank my not so encouraging grade 8 English teacher for stunting my growth as a writer though.  I can still hear her discouraging words telling me basically that I sucked at writing, and her recommendation that I transfer to a lower level class.  I can remember how devastated I was, because at that point I thought I had something to say, I thought I was the next Salinger.  I didn't know then nor did the school system that I had a learning disability that made it hard for me to express myself on paper.  No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get it out in a way that was pleasing to Mrs. Bell.  I must say moving to the "dummy class" (as we referred to them back then) my marks shot through the roof thanks to a wonderful teacher Mrs. Conrad, she found a way to get it out and onto paper. 

I've come to realize through testing in my early 20's and a recent diagnosis, as well as having affected children, that I do have a learning disability and Attention Deficit  Hyperactivity Disorder.  All of which has been helpful in explaining why I always felt like I was smart but was always was left feeling dumb when it came to performing in school.  Why I had a hard time reading and doing assignments and why school just seemed so hard to me.  I can remember as a kid having such a hard time paying attention, and my parents scoulding me after reading once again in my report card, "Laura could do well in school if she just applied herself."  Oh how frustrating it was that they didn't get how hard it was to apply myself with all the distractions of a class room.  I suppose this is one of the reasons I've been a relentless advocate for my children, and believe me in some ways the school system still needs parent's like me advocating for their kids.  It's getting better but we have a long way to go!

Anyway, with all that said I feel like I'm stepping out on a limb because of this never ending feeling to write and express myself and today is the day to start blogging.  I've read many blogs on the Internet and I get that most of the time it's just conversation and someones perspective on this thing we call life.  I figure I can do that.  I have kind of blogged in the past when my children were in the hospital, and I find it if nothing else, very therapeutic and helps me to release the never ending thoughts that ramble around in an ADHD mind.  So I ask your grace if I don't get it right and if you find my opinions don't make sense or match yours.  It's just me and my perspective on things.  I don't profess to be an expert on anything and I'm not sure what I'll write about quite yet or if there will be a theme.  So welcome  and I hope you find my words entertaining, uplifting and inspiring to you as you journey through this life also.

To Write or Not to Write

To write or not to write that surely has been my question for a long time. 

I've always had this desire to be a writer, this feeling like God created me with something people might actually want to read.  I could feel it in my bones.  I have to thank my not so encouraging grade 8 English teacher for stunting my growth as a writer though.  I can still hear her discouraging words telling me basically that I sucked at writing, and her recommendation that I transfer to a lower level class.  I can remember how devastated I was, because at that point I thought I had something to say, I thought I was the next Salinger.  I didn't know then nor did the school system that I had a learning disability that made it hard for me to express myself on paper.  No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get it out in a way that was pleasing to Mrs. Bell.  I must say moving to the "dummy class" (as we referred to them back then) my marks shot through the roof thanks to a wonderful teacher Mrs. Conrad, she found a way to get it out and onto paper. 

I've come to realize through testing in my early 20's and a recent diagnosis, as well as having affected children, that I do have a learning disability and Attention Deficit  Hyperactivity Disorder.  All of which has been helpful in explaining why I always felt like I was smart but was always was left feeling dumb when it came to performing in school.  Why I had a hard time reading and doing assignments and why school just seemed so hard to me.  I can remember as a kid having such a hard time paying attention, and my parents scoulding me after reading once again in my report card, "Laura could do well in school if she just applied herself."  Oh how frustrating it was that they didn't get how hard it was to apply myself with all the distractions of a class room.  I suppose this is one of the reasons I've been a relentless advocate for my children, and believe me in some ways the school system still needs parent's like me advocating for their kids.  It's getting better but we have a long way to go!

Anyway, with all that said I feel like I'm stepping out on a limb because of this never ending feeling to write and express myself and today is the day to start blogging.  I've read many blogs on the Internet and I get that most of the time it's just conversation and someones perspective on this thing we call life.  I figure I can do that.  I have kind of blogged in the past when my children were in the hospital, and I find it if nothing else, very therapeutic and helps me to release the never ending thoughts that ramble around in an ADHD mind.  So I ask your grace if I don't get it right and if you find my opinions don't make sense or match yours.  It's just me and my perspective on things.  I don't profess to be an expert on anything and I'm not sure what I'll write about quite yet or if there will be a theme.  So welcome  and I hope you find my words entertaining, uplifting and inspiring to you as you journey through this life also.